Commanding Officer, Royal Australian Navy
Steve McCracken will soon take command of one of the Royal Australian Navy’s newest ships, HMAS Stalwart. The 20,000-tonnes logistics replenishment ship transports fuel, food, ammunition and other essential supplies around the globe.
Steve joined the Navy and moved to the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra after graduating from Yarra.
“I was interested in joining the defence force so I could get a degree, travel and get paid, which I have achieved. I’ve been through Asia, Europe, the south-west Pacific and around Australia,” says Steve.
When Steve joined Yarra he remembers the size of the School being overwhelming initially. He quickly settled in and some of his best memories are of times spent on the sports field.
“I was heavily into cricket at School and played several matches each week. I grew up playing on cow paddocks and dodging horse poo! Playing cricket at Yarra Valley was like making it to the MCG!” says Steve.
“I think team sport is crucial in life. There are so many benefits for growth and it helps develop so many qualities and values.”
One of Steve’s enduring memories is a cricket tour to the UK in the early 1990s.
“It’s the stuff that dreams are made of and will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Steve enjoyed Mathematics and Science but says he wasn’t ‘naturally gifted academically’. Preferring the sports field to pen and paper meant he had to work hard to get results.
But after joining the Navy he studied an Arts degree and majored in Politics and he has also delved into Strategy and Military Studies.
“You can’t stop learning – it helps keep your options open,” he says.
Steve’s pursuit of learning more and continuing to develop his naval career has seen him take on new roles – from navigating small and larger ships and being based overseas to training other members of the Navy and now being selected for command.
“As the Commanding Officer, it’s my job to help everyone do their role as best they can and to bring everyone safely back home. If I do that, I’ll have done my role successfully as a Commanding Officer,” he says.
“I think a good dose of humility and respect are important – if you have those, you are on your way to being a good leader. You have to be trusted and to have trust, too, and to understand what makes people tick and how to elicit the best from other people.”