2nd November 2020

Victorian Volunteers part 4:  Navy

The first Victorian man-of-war screw-sloop, have being ordered in 1854, sailed out of England in 1856. She would later serve in 1860-61 in the Maori Wars, manned by the first Australian unit to serve overseas. She was “paid off” in 1864 (came to the end of her service). The navy did not receive another vessel until 1868 when the old battleship, The Nelson, was gifted to the colony as a training vessel. Then the S.S. Ceberus, commissioned in 1866, arrived in Melbourne in March 1871.

Supplement to the Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne), 9th July 1884 page 1&2. The Victorian Navy, 1884: The Ceberus,Victoria, Albert, Nelson and Lady Childers.

Adelaide Times, 7th April 1856 page 2.

The Victorian Naval Forces were made up of permanent forces (the Victorian Navy) and part time forces. From 1859 until 1871 the ‘Naval Brigade of Volunteers’ existed with a Williamstown and a Sandridge (Port Melbourne) division. In 1871 this was reformed as the Naval Reserve (militia) then reformed again in 1885 as the Victorian Naval Brigade.

State Library Victoria image 1698472. Drill aboard the Nelson. 1870

The Age (Melbourne), 9th March 1871 page 2.

The Australasian (Melbourne), 19th September 1885 page 28.

Victorian Naval Brigade 1885-1901. Backmark C.R.Martin Melbourne.

Australian National Maritime Museum item 00019087. 1899 Victorian Naval Brigade officer’s jacket.

The Victorian Navy became part of the Australian Navy/Commonwealth Naval Forces with Federation but there was an overlap period until 1908-10 when new ships arrived.

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