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NAVAL MILITARY ACTIONS

Moari War Meritorious Service Medals - 1860
Officer Meritorious Service Medals - 1904

Note 1: the greatest loss of Naval life in the Australasian region resulted from an accident – on the 7 Feb 1863, HMS Orpheus, screw corvette, flagship of the Australia Station, was wrecked on a sandbar during a storm at the entrance to Manakau Harbour, New Zealand. Of the ship’s crew of 256, 187 including a number of Australian born midshipmen, were lost.

Note 2: the action in the Boxer Rebellion 1900-01 resulted in the loss of 7 personnel - one from the Victorian Contingent - a boy A.A. Gibbs (Captain Tickell's servant) buried at sea - and four personnel from the NSW Naval contingent - AB Rose, AB Bennett, AB Hamilton, and Staff Surgeon Steel - and two from the NSW Army Marine contingent Private Rogers (RMLI) and Private Smart (RMLI) . In addition, 4 sailors from the Victorian contingent were invalided.

Note 3: six ratings were killed and thirteen were wounded when a gun burst in HMS Cordelia during gun practice while on a cruise from Fiji to Noumea, 26 June 1891.

CONVICT REVOLT

1804

5-Mar

Marines and seamen from HMS Calcutta were despatched to Castle Hill near Sydney to put down a revolt by convicts.
OPIUM WARS IN CHINA
1840 June The first time Australia was actually to play one of the principal roles for which it was first settled - a strategic sea base - was in support of British efforts in the first Opium War in China. In June 1840, HMS Alligator returned to Sydney from China for supplies and to land twenty sailors who were suffering from scurvy. The Governor, Major Sir George Gipps, had received news of events in China and was prepared to provide every assistance. He invited Captain Sir J. Bremer to use the whole or part of his force in China. The result was the despatch of HM Ships Herald and Pelorus from Sydney in late July 1840. Gipps also arranged for the scurvy-stricken sailors to be replaced by a subaltern’s detachment from the 50th Regiment. Circumstances prevented this detachment from leaving Australia.
GOLD FIELD RIOTS

1853

23-May

HMS Electra, sloop, was detached from the Eastern Imperial Squadron for special duties at Port Philip, Victoria.

1854

1-Dec

Eureka: On the 1st December 1854, combined military reinforcements - consisting of the HQ 1st Battn. 12th, and 40th Army Regiments, a mounted police force and a naval contingent - marched from Melbourne to Ballarat, a distance exceeding 200kms. However, they arrived at Ballarat on 5 December 1854, two days after the Eureka Stockade rebellion, and took no part in the actual engagement. The naval contingent consisted of two officers and seventeen seamen from HMS Fantome under Lieutenant Barnaby with the ship’s 6-pounder field piece, and two officers and seventeen seamen under Lieutenant George R Keene from the HMS Electra with that ship’s 6-pounder field piece. Also attached was one gunner (in charge of magazine), possibly William Stanton of HMS Electra, and one assistant surgeon, possibly Thomas B. Purchase of HMS Electra. Lieutenant Barnaby of the HMS Fantotne was in overall charge of the naval contingent. Also landed from the two ships were thirty-seven marines who were posted as guard to the Treasury building, Spring Street, Melbourne. The two field pieces were supplied with shrapnel shells.

1861

23-Feb

Lambing Flat: A naval brigade of 74 officers and ratings from HMS Fawn, screw corvette, was marched over 300klms from Sydney with a military contingent (6 officers and 101 men, with two field guns from the 12th Regt) to put down lawlessness amongst miners at Lambing Flats, NSW.
MAORI WARS

1860

30-Mar

HMS Niger, wooden steam sloop, shelled Maori positions 25 miles south of Waireka, New Zealand. The Maoris had been driven from a strong fort on 29 March by the Naval Brigade.

1860

30-Apr

HMVS Victoria transported 120 troops of the 90th Regiment from Sydney to New Plymouth, New Zealand.

1860

27-Jun

The Naval Brigade of HMS Pelorus flagship of the Australia Station, participated in an unsuccessful attack on the Maori Pah at Puketakauere New Zealand.

1860

22-Oct

Cdre Loring, commanding the Australia Station, reported from New Zealand where he was commanding a naval squadron against the Maoris: ‘The disturbances in New Zealand are likely to detain HM ships in these waters for an indefinite time.’

1860

29-Dec

The Naval Brigade of HMS Pelorus landed at Kairau, New Zealand, to support British troops under attack from Maoris.

1861

23-Jan

A gun crew from HMS Pelorus joined the defenders of the British redoubt at Huirangi, NZ, in repulsing savage attacks by Maoris.

1863

31-Oct

HM ships Pioneer and Avon, armoured paddlewheel gunboats, supported General Cameron’s attack on the Maori pahs at Meremere, New Zealand. Pioneer was built in Sydney.

1863

20-Nov

HMS Pioneer, a stern wheel iron gunboat built by Russell at Sydney, operated with Cdre Sir William Wiseman’s Flotilla in the attack on the Maori pahs at Rangariri, New Zealand. The Flotilla consisted of HM ships Curacoa, Ant, Avon, Chub, Flirt and Midge. In the engagement Midshipman Watkins, RN, was killed and Lt Alexander, RN, was wounded. Both officers were from HMS Curacoa.

1863

8-Dec

The iron gunboats Koheroa and Rangariri, stern-wheel paddle steamers built by Russell and Co. of Balmain, Sydney, were shipped in sections to Paterangi, New Zealand, to support General Cameron’s army.

1864

28-Apr

Naval brigades from HM ships Curacoa and Miranda of the Australia Station attacked the Grand Pah in New Zealand. The naval campaign in the Maori Wars was directed by the Commodore Commanding Australia Station.
SUDAN WAR

1884

16-Mar

HMVS Childers, torpedo boat, was diverted to Suakin to participate in the Sudan War. The Victorian gunboats Victoria and Albert joined her on 19 March but the war was already won and the services of the colonials were not required.

1885

3-Mar

The Australian contingent to the Sudan War sailed from Sydney in the troopships Iberia and Australasian.
BOER WAR

1899

25-Nov

The Naval Brigade from HMS Powerful, flagship of the Australia Station, fought in the Battle of Graspan against the Boers in South Africa.

1900

6-Jan

The Naval Brigade from HMS Powerful repulsed a strong Boer attack at Ladysmith, South Africa.

1900

30-Oct

The Naval Brigade of HMS Powerful attacked Boer positions at Lombards Kop, Ladysmith, South Africa.
BOXER REBELLION

1900

7-Jan

HMS Protector, former South Australian gunboat, returned from service in the Boxer Rebellion.

1900

3-Jun

HM ships Wallaroo, Mohawk and Lizard sailed from Sydney to join Admiral Sir P. Seymour’s squadron in China.

1900

27-Jun

HMS Orlando’s Naval Brigade joined forces with HMS Endymio in the capture of the Chinese arsenal at Tientsin

1900

31-Jul

The Victorian Naval Brigade Contingent for the Boxer Rebellion sailed from Melbourne in the transport Salamis.

1900

6-Aug

HM colonial ship Protector sailed from Adelaide via Sydney to China to participate in the Boxer Rebellion.

1900

8-Aug

Naval Brigade contingents from Victoria and New South Wales sailed in the transport Salamis from Sydney for China and service in the Boxer Rebellion.

1900

12-Aug

HMCS Protector sailed from Sydney for China.

1900

15-Aug

The Victorian Naval Brigade contingent to the Boxer Rebellion landed at Taku. They advanced to Tientsin next day but fighting had ended and they were employed as police and firemen.

1900

19-Sep

A force of 600 drawn from the Australian Naval contingents assembled at Tientsin for the attack on Chinese Boxer fortifications at Peking. The 600 strong Australian Naval Brigade Contingent advanced by lighter and road to attack the Chinese Boxer fortifications at Peking. They arrived to find that the Russians had taken the fort.