Australia's maritime past, present and future
All countries regard themselves as unique, Australia perhaps more so than others. This is particularly the case when examining Australian percep- tions on, and the use of, sea power over the last century or so. The import- ance of sea power is inextricably 'linked' to Australia, because Australia was discovered. settled, protected and maintained through the use of British sea power exercised by the Royal Navy (RN). But forgotten today that the fledging colonial economies (and later the federated Australian economy) were part of a world-wide economic system (the British Empire). whereby Australian raw resources were shipped to Britain with manufactured goods shipped in return. Thus all communication with Britain was by sea, people could only move between Britain and Australia by sea, trade moved by sea. and the RN protected this trade and could also bring additional military forces to Australia if required.