Chief of Army (Australia)

Chief of Army (Australia)
Chief of Army (Australia)
Australian Army Emblem.JPG
David Morrison

since 24 June 2011
Style Lieutenant General
Term length Three years (renewable)

The Chief of Army is the most senior appointment in the Australian Army, responsible to both the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of Defence (SECDEF). The rank associated with the position is Lieutenant General (3-star).



The first Commander of the Australian Army was titled General Officer Commanding, Australian Military Forces, in line with the usual British practice of the time.[1] Experience soon showed that the position concentrated more power than the Ministers for Defence—of whom there were twelve in as many years in 1901–1913—liked.[2] Moreover, the British Army had encountered administrative problems in the Second Boer War which led to the abolition of the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Forces there in 1904, and its replacement by an Army Board.[3]

In 1904, Minister for Defence Anderson Dawson commissioned a report which recommended a similar system for Australia, with a Military Board consisting of four military members, the minister, and a finance member. This was implemented by his successor, James Whiteside McCay. However instead of creating a Chief of the General Staff as per the report, McCay's Military Board consisted of only three military members, the Deputy Adjutant General, the Chief of Ordnance, and the Chief of Intelligence.[4] The post of Chief of the General Staff was finally created by the new Minister of Defence, George Pearce, in 1909, with Colonel William Bridges becoming the first Chief of the General Staff. The military members of the Military Board then became the Chief of the General Staff, Adjutant General, Chief of Ordnance, and Quartermaster General.[5]

During the Second World War, the threat of invasion led to a reversion to the old system. A Commander in Chief, General Sir Thomas Blamey, was appointed, and the Military Board was suspended, with its powers being transferred to the Commander in Chief. The post of Chief of the General Staff remained, but was now subordinate to the Commander in Chief.[6] This was successful from a military point of view but problem of a concentration of power recurred and, after the war ended, the government decided to re-form the Military Board. Blamey was replaced by Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee in 1945 and the next year the post of Commander in Chief was again abolished, with Sturdee becoming Chief of the General Staff.[7]

The system continued until the reforms of Arthur Tange in 1973. The three services were unified under the Department of Defence. The Military Board was abolished and the Chief of the General Staff became subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Force Staff and the Secretary of Defence.[8] Reflecting this change from a staff to a command role, the post was renamed Chief of Army in 1997.[9]


The following table lists all those who have held the post of Chief of Army or its preceding positions. Ranks and honours are as at the completion of their stint in said position.

Rank and
Term began
Term ended
General Officer Commanding Australian Military Forces
Major General Sir Hutton, EdwardEdward Hutton KCB, KCMG 01902-01-2929 January 1902 01904-11-1010 November 1904
Major General Finn, HarryHarry Finn CB, DCM 01904-11-1010 November 1904 01905-01-1212 January 1905
Chief of the General Staff
Colonel Bridges, William ThrosbyWilliam Throsby Bridges CMG 01909-01-011 January 1909 01909-05-2525 May 1909
Major General Sir Hoad, JohnJohn Hoad KCMG 01909-05-2626 May 1909 01911-05-3030 May 1911
Lieutenant Colonel Wilson, Francis AdrianFrancis Adrian Wilson DSO 01911-06-011 June 1911 01912-05-1010 May 1912
Brigadier General Gordon, Joseph MariaJoseph Maria Gordon CB 01912-05-1111 May 1912 01914-07-3131 July 1914
Major General Legge, James GordonJames Gordon Legge CMG 01914-08-011 August 1914 01915-05-2323 May 1915
Colonel Irving, GodfreyGodfrey Irving 01915-05-2424 May 1915 01915-12-3131 December 1915
Colonel Foster, Hubert JohnHubert John Foster 01916-01-011 January 1916 01917-09-3030 September 1917
Major General Legge, James GordonJames Gordon Legge CB, CMG 01917-10-011 October 1917 01920-05-3131 May 1920
Lieutenant General Sir White, BrudenellBrudenell White KCMG, KCVO, CB, DSO 01920-06-011 June 1920 01923-06-1010 June 1923
General Sir Chauvel, HarryHarry Chauvel GCMG, KCB 01923-06-1111 June 1923 01930-04-1515 April 1930
Major General Coxen, Walter AdamsWalter Adams Coxen CB, CMG, DSO 01930-04-1616 April 1930 01931-09-3030 September 1931
Major General Sir Bruche, Julius HenryJulius Henry Bruche KCB, CMG 01931-10-011 October 1931 01935-04-2020 April 1935
Lieutenant General Lavarack, JohnJohn Lavarack CB, CMG, DSO 01935-04-2121 April 1935 01939-10-1212 October 1939
Lieutenant General Squires, ErnestErnest Squires CB, DSO, MC 01939-10-1313 October 1939 01940-01-2626 January 1940
Major General Northcott, JohnJohn Northcott CB 01940-01-2727 January 1940 01940-03-1717 March 1940
General Sir White, BrudenellBrudenell White KCB, KCMG, KCVO, DSO 01940-03-1818 March 1940 01940-08-1313 August 1940
Lieutenant General Sturdee, VernonVernon Sturdee CBE, DSO 01940-08-1414 August 1940 01942-09-099 September 1942
Lieutenant General Northcott, JohnJohn Northcott CB 01942-09-1010 September 1942 01945-11-3030 November 1945
Lieutenant General Sir Sturdee, VernonVernon Sturdee KBE, CB, DSO 01945-12-011 December 1945 01950-04-1616 April 1950
Lieutenant General Sir Rowell, SydneySydney Rowell KBE, CB 01950-04-1717 April 1950 01954-12-1515 December 1954
Lieutenant General Sir Wells, HenryHenry Wells KBE, CB, DSO 01954-12-1616 December 1954 01958-03-2222 March 1958
Lieutenant General Sir Garrett, RagnarRagnar Garrett KBE, CB 01958-03-2323 March 1958 01960-06-3030 June 1960
Lieutenant General Sir Pollard, Reginald GeorgeReginald George Pollard KBE, CB, DSO 01960-07-011 July 1960 01963-01-2020 January 1963
Lieutenant General Sir Wilton, JohnJohn Wilton KBE, CB, DSO 01963-01-2121 January 1963 01966-05-1818 May 1966
Lieutenant General Sir Daly, Thomas JosephThomas Joseph Daly KBE, CB, DSO 01966-05-1919 May 1966 01971-05-1818 May 1971
Lieutenant General Sir Brogan, MervynMervyn Brogan KBE, CB 01971-05-1919 May 1971 01973-11-1919 November 1973
Lieutenant General Hassett, FrancisFrancis Hassett AC, CB, CBE, DSO, LVO 01973-11-2020 November 1973 01975-11-2323 November 1975
Lieutenant General MacDonald, ArthurArthur MacDonald CB, OBE 01975-11-2424 November 1975 01977-04-2020 April 1977
Lieutenant General Sir Dunstan, DonaldDonald Dunstan KBE, CB 01977-04-2121 April 1977 01982-02-1414 February 1982
Lieutenant General Sir Bennett, PhillipPhillip Bennett KBE, AO, DSO 01982-02-1515 February 1982 01984-02-1212 February 1984
Lieutenant General Gration, PeterPeter Gration AO, OBE 01984-02-1313 February 1984 01987-04-1212 April 1987
Lieutenant General O'Donnell, LawrenceLawrence O'Donnell AC 01987-04-1313 April 1987 01990-04-1515 April 1990
Lieutenant General Coates, JohnJohn Coates AC, MBE 01990-04-1313 April 1990 01992-04-3030 April 1992
Lieutenant General Grey, JohnJohn Grey AC 01992-05-011 May 1992 01995-07-077 July 1995
Lieutenant General Sanderson, JohnJohn Sanderson AC 01995-07-088 July 1995 01997-02-1818 February 1997
Chief of Army
Lieutenant General Sanderson, JohnJohn Sanderson AC 01997-02-1919 February 1997 01998-06-2323 June 1998
Lieutenant General Hickling, FrankFrank Hickling AO, CSC 01998-06-2424 June 1998 02000-07-1515 July 2000
Lieutenant General Cosgrove, PeterPeter Cosgrove AC, MC 02000-07-01July 2000 02002-06-2727 June 2002
Lieutenant General Leahy, PeterPeter Leahy AC 02002-06-2828 June 2002 02008-07-033 July 2008
Lieutenant General Gillespie, KenKen Gillespie AC, DSC, CSM 02008-07-044 July 2008 02011-06-2424 June 2011
Lieutenant General Morrison, DavidDavid Morrison AO 02011-06-2424 June 2011 Incumbent

Images – Chief of Army

Images – Chief of the General Staff

See also


  1. ^ Wood 2006, p. 13
  2. ^ Wood 2006, pp. 50–51
  3. ^ Wood 2006, pp. xv–xxi
  4. ^ Wood 2006, pp. 54–59
  5. ^ Wood 2006, p. 66
  6. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 66
  7. ^ Palazzo 2001, pp. 221–222
  8. ^ Palazzo 2001, pp. 316–318
  9. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 323


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Deputy Chief of Army (Australia) — Incumbent Paul Symon since J …   Wikipedia

  • Chief of Navy (Australia) — Chief of the Royal Australian Navy Incumbent …   Wikipedia

  • Chief of Army Staff — The Chief of Army Staff or Chief of Staff of the Army is the most senior officer in the command structure of many armies. The title comes from the fact that the officer is the chief army aide to the Commander in Chief, who is usually the head of… …   Wikipedia

  • Deputy Chief of Navy (Australia) — Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Navy Incumbent Trevor Jones since 18 February 2011 Style Rear Admir …   Wikipedia

  • First Army (Australia) — The name First Army was applied to at least two different Australian Army formations during World War II, both of them associated with Lt Gen. John Lavarack. In 1939, the name was used for a skeleton , Militia formation based at Toowoomba,… …   Wikipedia

  • Chief of Defence Force (Singapore) — Chief of Defence Force 三军总长 Flag of the Singapore Armed Forces …   Wikipedia

  • Chief of Joint Operations (Australia) — Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS) Australia Incumbent Lieutenant General Ash Power since May 2011 Style …   Wikipedia

  • Chief Capability Development Group — (CCDG) Incumbent Air Marshal John Harvey since October 2010 Style Vice Admiral / …   Wikipedia

  • Chief of Air Force (Australia) — This article is about the RAAF appointment Chief of Air Force. For the current Chief of Air Force, see Geoff Brown Chief of Air Force …   Wikipedia

  • Chief of the Defence Force (Australia) — This article is about the ADF appointment Chief of the Defence Force. For the current CDF, see David Hurley Chief of the Australian Defence Force …   Wikipedia