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Ambrotype photograph of a crewman from HMS CURACOA

Date: 1860s
Overall: 83 x 70 x 6 mm, 57 g
Medium: Glass, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Ambrotype
Object No: 00046506

User Terms

    HMS CURACOA was a screw frigate and served on the Australia Station as flagship 1863-1866, taking part in quelling Maori uprisings in New Zealand in 1863.
    SignificanceWhilst the history of HMS CURACOA is well recorded, few images of its sailors are extant. This studio photograph of a crew member from the ship allows a glimpse into naval uniform of the period.
    HistoryThe wooden screw frigate HMS CURACOA was launched at Pembroke Dock, UK in 1854. Commanded by Captain George Fowler Hastings from 1854-1857, the ship served in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea during the Russian War before joining the Channel squadron under Captain Thomas Henry Mason for two years. From 1859 until 1862 the ship was commanded by Captain Augustus Phillimore and undertook duties off the south-east coast of America.

    With a ship's complement of 300 and under the broad pennant of Commodore Sir William S Wiseman, the ship became flagship of the Australia Station in 1863. The Station was formed by the British and serviced by the Royal Navy to protect its interests in Australia and the Pacific as well as afford military protection to the Australian and New Zealand colonies.

    During its service CURACOA saw service during the New Zealand War in the Waikato River area. Other duties were of a routine naval nature but the ship is most well known for a cruise among the islands of the South Seas which resulted in a number of publications. The voyage was especially significant for the natural history data collected. CURACOA sailed from Sydney under the command of Sir William Wiseman to display the British flag in the different archipelagoes of the western Pacific. Visits were made to Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, and Niue or Savage Island, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, the New Herbrides, Santa Cruz and Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and the Loyalty Islands.

    The ship returned to England in 1867 and was broken up in 1869.

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