On This Day
1850-1899 > Colonial Navies & RN
On This Day - 1850-1899
- 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.