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Third China War medal

Date: 1901
Overall: 4.8 x 3.8 x 0.4 mm, 50 g
Medium: Silver alloy
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00044411

User Terms

    This medal was awarded to Stoker P Harris of HMS WALLAROO to commemorate the end of the Third China War (also known as the Boxer Rebellion). One side features the image of Queen Victoria, while the other depicts the British arms on a shield that rests against a palm tree. This medal is known variously as the Queen's China War medal, the Third China War medal, the Boxer Rebellion medal or the Boxer Uprising medal. It was presented to all British and Imperial land and sea contingents who took part in quelling the rebellion of 1900.

    SignificanceThis medal is indicative of the official recognition given to servicemen who participated in the Boxer Rebellion, which was the first Asian conflict in which an Australian naval squadron participated.
    HistoryAustralia took its first step into East Asian conflicts in 1900, when three colonies sent support to the British at the Boxer War. This was a joint action by several nations including Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the USA to crush a violent uprising against foreigners in China. The term Boxer was a Western corruption of the original Chinese name. A slogan used during the rebellion was 'Protect the Ch'ing Dynasty, exterminate the foreigner'.

    At the time the British Royal Navy divided the world into strategic zones or stations with each station having a squadron of warships that cruised its waters protecting British interests. Until the 1850s Australasia was covered by the East India Station but in 1859 after pressure from the colonial governments in Australia and New Zealand, the Royal Navy formed the Australia Station as a separate command. In 1887 - under the Australasian Defence Act - they persuaded Britain to provide an additional force on the Australia Station to be called the Auxiliary Squadron. It consisted of five protected cruisers and two torpedo gunboats.

    Three of the cruisers - KATOOMBA (Ex-PANDORA), MILDURA (Ex-PELORUS) and WALLAROO (Ex-PERSIAN) - were built by W G Armstrong, Mitchell & Co at their Elswick Shipyard in 1889 and 1890. Protected cruisers had little or no side armour but featured an impressive internal steel protective deck that covered the machinery spaces, the magazines and in some cases the steering gear. The deck was 63.5 mm (2 1/2 inches) thick.

    On 27 August 1889 the first of the Auxiliary Squadron was launched on the Tyne by W G Armstrong, Mitchell & Co Ltd at their Elswick shipyard. The Squadron arrived in Sydney on 5 September 1891 via the Suez Canal and Batavia (present-day Jakarta), and led by HMS KATOOMBA they received a gala welcome. Their main duties were routine cruising and patrol work. KATOOMBA was also the recruitment ship in 1905 and visited all major Australian ports. WALLAROO spent much of its time in New Zealand waters and in 1900 was deployed to China where it served briefly in the Boxer Rebellion operations.

    The Squadron remained on the Station until 1903; WALLAROO extended her life in various harbour jobs and was finally sent to the shipbreakers after World War I.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Third China War medal

    Assigned title: Third China War medal

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