A BRIEF HISTORY
Although diving in the RAN dates back to the 1920s when personnel were trained in the use of 'standard' diving equipment, the
concept of a separate and dedicated diving branch of the Navy evolved slowly.
The Clearance Diving Branch of the Royal Australian Navy was formed in 1951 with the primary role of "location. identification and
disposal of Mines underwater". It's secondary role included "underwater maintenance, training of the Fleet in ship defence against saboteurs, beach reconnaissance and minor salvage".
Although Explosive Ordnance Disposal remained a primary function it soon became apparent that Navy divers were suited to an ever expanding variety of tasks.
The Clearance Diving Branch has continued to evolve. In 1966 the RAN introduced the concept of the Australian Clearance Diving Teams. In that same year AUSCDT 3 was formed and trained in all aspects of EOD (Explosive Ordnance Demolition), small arms and jungle survival before going to Vietnam where they served with distinction.
The diving school was initially located at HMAS Rushcutter on Sydney harbour and remained there until 1968 when it was relocated to HMAS Penguin, also situated on Sydney Harbour. Although the Navy divers adopted the new role from 1951, it wasn't until 1955 that the first dedicated CD course qualified utilising rebreathingand mixture diving equipment.
During 1961 the first RAN trained CD officers qualified from Rushcutter and at the beginning of 1962 the branch numbered 51 officers and sailors.