- Book reviewer
- Book reviews, Colonial navies, Early warships
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- August 2022 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Australia’s Colonial Navies by Ross Gillett is a revised and expanded edition published by the Naval Historical Society of Australia and released in 2021.
In the 21st century most Australians have heard of the exploits of the Royal Australian Navy, but not many would know that five of the nation’s early colonies operated their own navies. These fleets ranged from the mighty Victorian Naval Force with dozens of ships, down to the tiny Tasmanian torpedo corps with just one small torpedo boat. In between these two extremes were the naval forces of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.
Some of the warships were purpose-built, some modified after commercial duties, and others were transferred from the Royal Navy. Of these, 70 men-of-war and 22 purpose-built warships were designed and built in Australia or Great Britain, with the later ships having the dangerous task of sailing to Australia under their own power. A few were built by local shipwrights, including at Port Arthur in Tasmania and at Pyrmont in Sydney Harbour.
The crews who manned these colonial naval fleets were a mixture of locals recruited by the authorities or were former sailors and officers who joined after careers in Britain’s Royal Navy.
Australia’s colonial naval fleets were all designed to protect the colonies from the threat of foreign raiders, especially the perceived Russian threat of the 1870s-80s, a threat that failed to materialise. As well as their regular harbour, river and bay manoeuvres, some of the ships operated at extreme distances along their respective coasts; one sailed to New Zealand and another to China for the Boxer Rebellion.
The Naval Historical Society of Australia is proud to announce the publication of this much revised and expanded edition of the Australian Colonial Navies book originally released in 1982. Now in the form of an ebook and supported by many additional stories and colour images from the 19th and early 20th centuries, Australian Colonial Navies spans over 285 pages with hundreds of rare photographs, line drawings, sketches and colour images of a now long-forgotten era of Australian naval history.To secure your copy of Australian Colonial Navies visit the Society website shop: https://www.navyhistory.org.au/shop/australias-colonial-navies/
It is available in four different formats; PRINT, PDF, EPUB (eBook format), MOBI (Kindle format).