About the Author

Peter Jones joined the Royal Australian Naval College as a 16 year old cadet midshipman. He served in the RAN for 40 years and retired as a vice admiral. His sea service included the command of the frigate HMAS Melbourne and later command of the multinational Maritime Interception Force during the 2003 Iraq War for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the US Legion of Merit.

Peter is an Adjunct Professor and a member of the Naval Studies Group at the University of the New South Wales campus at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He is also President of the Australian Naval Institute. This is his first book.

Australia's Argonauts

The remarkable story of the first class to enter the Royal Australian Naval College 

​​​​To buy the book

The book is available in hardcover, paperback & as an e-book.

The hardcover and paperback sold by most on-line booksellers including Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Booktopia.

It is also sold in select bookshops including Dymocks, Berkelouws and at the ADFA Co-Op, Australian War Memorial and National Library of Australia Bookshops.

E-copies of Australia's Argonauts are available through Payhip at:


By Peter Jones

The story of the first cadet-midshipmen to join the Royal Australian Naval College is without parallel. 

In 1913 twenty-eight thirteen-year-old boys joined the new Navy at a time when Australia was both idealistic and ambitious. The boys were drawn from every State and became known as the ‘Pioneer Class'. 

Australia's Argonauts is the result of many years' research. It brings together previously unpublished diaries, letters, archival material and photographs. The Pioneer Class bore witness to or were leading actors in the most important events in the Navy’s early history. The most famous member was John Collins, hero of the Sydney-Bartolomeo Colleoni action, who became the first Naval College graduate to be Chief of Naval Staff. The class also included Rupert Long who played a pivotal role in Naval intelligence, Eric Feldt who ran the famous 'Coastwatchers' and Peyton Kimlin who wrote the score for one of Australia's first ballets. But like the argonauts of legend, they faced travails that sometimes consumed them.

The book charts the lives of the Pioneer Class from their first days at the Naval College, service with the Grand Fleet in World War I, naval and civilian careers between the wars, their great contribution during World War II and their passing into our history.

The Pioneer Class were not only the first, but the greatest class to graduate from the Naval College.  

On 1 December 2016 Australia's Argonauts was launched at the Royal Australian Naval College by the Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin. This marked the centenary of the Pioneer Class' graduation. 

Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Binkin and the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett with Pioneer Class families at the launch.