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The NELSON on the Stocks, building at Woolwich in the Year 1814

Date: 1815
Sheet: 186 x 267 mm
Overall (Cardboard mounting): 280 x 342 x 2 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00045703

User Terms

    This hand coloured engraving depicts the construction of what was to become the Victorian colonial navy's battleship HMVS / HMCS NELSON. Of particular interest is the figurehead - which now resides in the Navy gallery of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
    SignificanceThis engraving features an important ship of Victoria's colonial navy and offers a good view of the figurehead which is now part of the National Maritime Collection.
    HistoryThe wooden line-of-battleship HMS NELSON was launched on 4 July 1814 at the King's Yard, Woolwich, England. When launched the ship design was already outdated and in 1859 came the first of many conversions and alterations. NELSON was cut down to a two-decker, lengthened and fitted with a steam engine and single screw.

    In the 1860s the Government of the Australia colony of Victoria requested a vessel from the British Admiralty in order to train local naval volunteers. HMS NELSON was accordingly fitted out and commissioned as HMVS NELSON in 1867. From 1868 to 1891 it was a familiar sight on Victoria's Port Phillip Bay. In 1878 - 1881 further modifications were undertaken reducing the ship to a single-decker.

    NELSON was paid off in 1891, her boilers removed in 1893 and the remaining ship sold to a Sydney buyer, Bernard Einerson in 1898. Towed to Sydney, the ship was slowly dismantled and the figurehead given to the NSW Naval Brigade. What remained became a coal lighter then a coal hulk and finally in 1920 NELSON was completely dismantled in Tasmania.

    The figurehead itself has a less well-recorded history. After being given to the NSW Naval Brigade in 1898 and being proudly displayed at the Battle of Trafalgar centenary celebrations in 1905, it spent much of its time at the parade grounds of Rushcutters Bay. When the Royal Australian Navy came into existence in 1911, the figurehead was transferred over (date unknown). At a later date it was transferred to HMAS CERBERUS in Victoria - the RAN's training establishment and remained on open display until transferred to the ANMM in 1988.
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