Remembering the Past Australia

The Flying Squadron, Tasmania, Australia 1870

TAS017.01 Flying Squadron. Tasmania, Australia ca. 1868Description: Flying Squadron.

Location: Tasmania, Australia


Our Catalogue Reference: Part of CO 1069/621.

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Historical Information

“Visit of the Flying Squadron to Hobart Town”, Launceston Examiner, Saturday 29 January 1870, pg. 3.


The Flying Squadron arrived at Hobart Town on Sunday 2nd January. The Squadron consists of H.M.S. Liverpool, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,656 tons; H.M.S. Endymion, 21-gun steam frigate, 2,486 tons; H.M.S. Scylla, 10-gun steam corvette 1,467 tons; H.M.S. Liffey, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,654 tons; H.M.S. Barrosa, 17-gun steam corvette, 1,700 tons; H.M.S. Pheobe, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,896 tons. Large numbers of spectators assembled in various spots to watch the little fleet coming up the harbour under full sail. His Excellency the Governor and suite paid a visit to Rear-Admiral Hornby onboard the Liverpool. During the stay of the Squadron, the vessels were thrown open for public inspection and thousands of persons availed themselves of the opportunity. The Liverpool was of course the ship which attracted the greatest number of visitors. The officers had a gay time of it during their eight days stay. They were entertained by the Governor to several dinner parties, to a grand ball at Government House, to a lawn party at the same place, followed by an old colonists’ ball, a regatta, a cricket match, in which both the Governor and Admiral Hornby took part, concerts theatrical entertainments, a picnic at Fern Tree Gully, &c., so that time did not by any means hang heavily on their hands, and they must have left the “tight little island” with the impression that they had a jolly time of it, and had been exceedingly well treated. But if the officers passed a pleasant time of it, the crews did not find it a dull visit, but were at various times allowed leave of absence, and enjoyed themselves in their own style, keeping the City in a lively state. Sometimes the streets were “alive” with sailors. The blue jacket was everywhere to be seen, and as usual, when on shore, Jack was up to all sorts of pranks. The tars caused a considerable amount of amusement. They were all very jolly, and ready to fraternise with one and all, and to the credit of the fleet, it may be said there was no misconduct to complain of. Man-of-wars’ men onshore are always allowed a certain amount of license, and sometimes they abuse the privilege accorded to them; but the men of the Squadron who were onshore in Hobart Town behaved themselves admirably. Of course, they had their larks, and they “punished” a considerable quantity of liquor, but there was no rowdyism amongst them.

The Barrosa after remaining a few days proceeded to Melbourne to pick up deserters at that place. She got four, but lost twelve of her own men, so her voyage did not prove very successful. During the time the fleet was in Melbourne they lost a hundred and sixty men, of whom twenty-nine were from the Liverpool. The Scylla lost 24, and the other vessels in proportion.

The Flying Squadron left Hobart Town on 10th instant. His Excellency the Governor and Mrs. Du Cane, Archdeacon Reibey, Mrs. Lambert, and Mr. Chichester, his Excellency’s Private Secretary, proceeded down the harbor on board the Liverpool, and returned in the T.S.N. Co’s. steamer Southern Cross in the afternoon. In going down a collision occurred between the Liffey and Scylla, which were on different tacks; the Liffey had her jibboom carried away, and a portion of the Scylla’s bulwarks was smashed and her mainsail damaged. A new sail was bent, and the other injuries speedily repaired, and the wind being light the ships came to an anchor off the Iron Pot. Three men belonging to the Liffey were injured by the collision. The S.S. Southern Cross and steamer Monarch accompanied the Squadron down the river, and had on board a large number of passengers. The Squadron finally got away on 11th instant.

Tasmania, Australia

ca. 1868

The Flying Squadron

Colourised and enhanced photograph of the Flying Squadron most likely taken from Government House, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The original photo was taken in January 1870.

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