First female Admiral for the Royal Australian Navy

The Chief of Navy, Vice Admi­ral Ray Grig­gs, has today pro­mot­ed Com­modore Robyn Walk­er to the rank of Rear Admi­ral in the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy. Admi­ral Walk­er is the first female in the Navy to attain the rank of Rear Admi­ral and to take on the job of Sur­geon Gen­er­al for the Aus­tralian Defence Force. 

“This is an out­stand­ing achieve­ment per­son­al­ly for Admi­ral Walk­er,” Vice Admi­ral Grig­gs said. 

“Her pro­mo­tion reflects her out­stand­ing ser­vice and ded­i­ca­tion to Defence health ser­vices, the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy and the Aus­tralian Defence Force.” 

Admi­ral Walker’s pro­mo­tion is espe­cial­ly time­ly with 2011 being the cen­te­nary year of the Navy and emerg­ing changes to poli­cies regard­ing women in the Aus­tralian Defence Force. 

“Admi­ral Walker’s achieve­ments as Direc­tor-Gen­er­al of Health for the Navy with broad­er respon­si­bil­i­ties to the ADF in lead­ing a $270 mil­lion dol­lar revamp of the ADF’s health capa­bil­i­ty, and her pre­vi­ous role in sup­port­ing the health of oper­a­tional Defence per­son­nel in Iraq and East Tim­or, have been recog­nised in the deci­sion to pro­mote her,” Vice Admi­ral Grig­gs said. 

“She is an excep­tion­al role mod­el for all women in Defence,” Vice Admi­ral Grig­gs said. 

Admi­ral Walk­er joined the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy from Bris­bane as a Direct Entry Lieu­tenant in 1991, and has con­tin­ued to work in the field of med­i­cine ever since. Admi­ral Walk­er has served in HMA Ship Wes­tralia and with the Sea Train­ing Group, and has been involved in the plan­ning of health sup­port for sev­er­al mil­i­tary operations. 

Some of the high­lights of the Admiral’s career include lead­ing the health plan­ning and assem­bly for Australia’s mil­i­tary med­ical response to the 2004 Box­ing Day Tsuna­mi, lead­ing fur­ther devel­op­ments to the Aus­tralian Defence Force’s Men­tal Health Strat­e­gy between 2005 and 2008, and receiv­ing the Tel­stra ACT Busi­ness Woman of the Year Award this year. 

Admi­ral Walk­er said she is hon­oured and hum­bled by her promotion. 

“Navy and Defence have pro­vid­ed me with every oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn and devel­op as an indi­vid­ual; and if you take the oppor­tu­ni­ties that are pro­vid­ed and work hard, your efforts will be noticed and reward­ed,” Admi­ral Walk­er said. 

“I am look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenges that I will face and con­tin­u­ing to make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in my new role.” 

Vice Admi­ral Grig­gs said that Navy has been hard at work devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to sup­port the lead­er­ship devel­op­ment of Navy women, and to improve Navy’s work­force gen­der balance. 

“I am proud of the efforts of our peo­ple in encour­ag­ing and men­tor­ing women in key lead­er­ship roles,” he said. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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