On This Day
1850-1899 > Colonial Navies & RN
On This Day - 1850-1899
- May 31, 1856
The sloop-of war HMCS VICTORIA, (CMDR W. H. Norman, RN), arrived at Port Phillip, Melbourne, VIC, on her maiden voyage from the United Kingdom. VICTORIA was proclaimed as the ‘first vessel of war built to the order of a British colony’, thus launching Australia’s first colonial navy.
- April 8, 1856
The Williamstown division of the Victorian Marine Artillery Corps was formed to defend Port Phillip.
- December 12, 1855
The steam war sloop HMVS VICTORIA, (CAPT Lockyer, RN), sailed from the Thames on her maiden voyage to Australia.
- October 17, 1855
CAPT William Loring, CB, RN, commanded HMS FURIOUS in the attack on Kinburn Split in the Crimea. CAPT Loring was the Commodore Commanding the Australia Station from 1859 to 1860.
- June 30, 1855
HMVS VICTORIA, (sloop of war), was launched on the River Thames, London.
- April 4, 1855
HMCS SPITFIRE, (ketch), was launched in Cuthbert’s shipyard, Sydney. The vessel was described at the time as 65 tons displacement, 51 ft long, 16 ft 6 in beam, ketch rigged, and armed with a single 32-pound swivel gun on a traversing carriage. The Empire newspaper reported: ‘SPITFIRE they named her, and one would like to know why the Governor stayed away from her launching’. Despite the newspaper’s lack of confidence the vessel served the colony well, voyaging as far as northern Queensland on Government business. SPITFIRE was not the first warship built in Australia, but she was the first built for Australia’s defence.
- May 31, 1853
HMS BRAMBLE was loaned to the NSW Government as a diving bell tender at Cockatoo Island. In 1873 the vessel was reported as a light ship. It was finally sold out of service in 1876.
- October 9, 1852
A special Admiralty committee examined the problems of manning the RN. Recommendations made by the committee led to wide-sweeping changes in 1853, which included the abolition of the press gang, increased pay rates, and pensions for continuous service.
- July 20, 1852
VADM Sir W. R. Creswell, KCMG, KBE, ‘Father of the RAN’, was born at Gibraltar where his father was the postmaster.