Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Percival James Nelson Hogan (1883–1949)

by Harry Adlam

This article was published:

Percival James Nelson Hogan (1883-1949), naval engineer, was born on 22 December 1883 in Hobart, son of James Hogan, builder, and his wife Rebecca Rachael, née Burt. He was educated at The Friends' School, Hobart, and attended the University of Tasmania before training as an engineer with the Tasmanian government. He then worked in Scotland with Denny & Co. of Dumbarton and Fairfield Shipbuilding Co. of Govan, and with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

In 1909, while in Britain, Hogan joined Australia's Commonwealth Naval Forces, as one of a team supervising the construction of the C.N.F.'s first torpedo-boat destroyers, H.M.A.S. Parramatta and H.M.A.S. Yarra; his initial rank was acting engineer sub-lieutenant but by December 1910 he was an engineer lieutenant. With the destroyers completed he returned to Australia in 1910 to serve as engineer officer in Parramatta until 1913. That year, on 3 November, he was transferred to H.M.A.S. Pioneer, a 3rd class protected cruiser which the British government had presented to the Royal Australian Navy as a sea-going training ship for naval reservists. On 26 November he married Cissie Laura Crisp at Melville Street Methodist Church, Hobart; they had a son and a daughter.

Hogan's service in Pioneer was wide-ranging. In World War I his ship was posted to East Africa in 1915 during the campaign against the German colonies. He was appointed acting engineer lieutenant-commander early in 1915, joined the cruiser H.M.S. Encounter in April 1918 and was confirmed in rank in December; he was promoted engineer commander in July 1919. Transferred to H.M.A.S. Brisbane in the same rank in September, he remained in this ship until 1921 when he returned to Britain for advanced engineering courses. He was then appointed to H.M.A.S. Melbourne in January 1923 as fleet engineer officer; in October he went to Flinders Naval Depot, Victoria, as engineer commander. By January 1926 he was back at sea as squadron engineer officer in H.M.A.S. Sydney. His next appointment was to Britain to 'stand by' the new cruiser Australia, then being built at Clydebank, Scotland, and after serving as her squadron engineer officer from May to December 1928 he became engineer manager at H.M.A. Naval Dockyard, Garden Island, Sydney. His term at Garden Island was dogged by financial cut-backs during the Depression as the R.A.N. was gradually scaled down to four ships and work at the dockyard was reduced.

In 1933 Hogan retired from the R.A.N. as an engineer commander but remained active as a consulting engineer and director of several companies. During World War II he was recalled for naval service as engineer officer, H.M.A.S. Penguin, the base ship for Garden Island. Diabetes and hypertension forced his retirement in 1944. Survived by his wife and daughter, he died on 26 February 1949 at Concord, Sydney, and was cremated with Methodist forms. Though not the easiest man to get on with, Percy Hogan commanded wide respect as a practical engineer and administrator. He was one of the first engineer officers of the R.A.N.

Select Bibliography

  • H. J. Feakes, White Ensign — Southern Cross (Syd, 1951)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Feb 1949
  • United Service Institution, New South Wales records.

Citation details

Harry Adlam, 'Hogan, Percival James Nelson (1883–1949)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 19 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


22 December, 1883
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


26 February, 1949 (aged 65)
Concord, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.