HMAS Canberra

This site is dedicated to all Royal Australian Navy and Australian Defence Force personnel who have served in HMAS CANBERRA.


HMAS CANBERRA (1) D 33 from the 9th of July 1928 until she was sunk in action off Savo Island on the 9th of August 1942.


HMAS CANBERRA (2) FFG-02 from the 21st of March 1981 until Decomissioning on the 12th of November 2005.


HMAS Canberra (3) LHD-02 from Commissioning on the 23rd of November 2014.



Commander N.S. Coates RAN

Placeholder Image


Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1975, graduating from his initial training with the Queen’s Gold Medal as the dux of his graduating year. Bridge watchkeeping training was carried out in various ships, culminating in the award of the Jubilee Sword as dux of Seamen Officers training.

After a period as aide-de-camp to His Excellency the Governor General of Australia, he trained as an Air Intercept Controller and subsequently as a Principal Warfare Officer. He served in HMA Ships HOBART, ADELAIDE and BRISBANE before joining the Navy’s Maritime Headquarters, receiving a Maritime Commander’s Commendation for his contribution to preparing ships for the 1991 Gulf War.

As Executive Officer HMAS DARWIN, he saw service in the Red Sea before being promoted to Commander in 1993. He served as the Senior Military instructor, and subsequently Commanding Officer, of the Corps of Officer Cadets at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, receiving a Chief of the Defence Force Commendation for his work there.

In 1996 Commander Coates assumed command of HMAS CANBERRA, winning the Gloucester Cup in 1997 as the most efficient ship in the Royal Australian Navy. From HMAS CANBERRA, Commander Coates spent 18 months as Commander Sea Training at Maritime Headquarters, followed by another 18 months at the US Naval War College and Salve Regina University, graduating with a MA (International Relations).

Assuming Command of HMAS ANZAC in 2001, Captain Coates took the ship on operational deployment to the Arabian Gulf. The ship was awarded the Gloucester Cup as the most efficient ship in the RAN for 2001, and Captain Coates was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for his service in HMAS ANZAC.

Captain Coates was appointed Chief of Staff to the Chief of the Defence Force mid-2002, was promoted to Commodore and appointed Chief of Staff, Headquarters Australian Theatre in December 2003, and subsequently the Director General Navy Personnel and Training in August 2005. Commodore Coates was promoted to Rear Admiral and appointed as the Fleet Commander in July 2007.

Nigel passed away on the 02 June 2010 after a short but aggressive illness. The Royal Australian Navy prematurely lost an outstanding individual and consummate professional, who committed his entire working life to serving his country with great skill, dignity and honour.   The Navy, Australian Defence Force and the broader Australian community have lost one of
their finest military leaders and a great mate.

Nigel will be sadly missed by the Navy Family and is survived by his wife Vickie and his children Tim, Ben and Stephanie.

RADM Nigel Coates AM RAN in Sydney 2009

Chief of Navy - Signal, passing of RADM Nigel Coates AM RAN ...More

The Funeral arrangements for the Late Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM RAN...More

The Funeral of the Late Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM RAN...More

Video of The Navy farewell the Late Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM RAN...More


Commanding Officer HMAS Canberra 1996-97


Images of the Commander Nigel Coates in HMAS Canberra, Images taken by POWTR Louise Bagger


Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM RAN


A brief Interview Nigel Coates gave as the RAN Maritime Commander in 2009 when a Navy Diver was attacked by a shark in Sydney Harbour.


Nigel's wife Vickie Coates Launch Lady of HMAS Canberra 3 - 17 Feb 2011

Vicki Coates, wife of the late Rear Admiral Nigel Coates who commanded the previous HMAS Canberra, was the ‘launch lady’.


Back to top