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Mess kit comprised of a knife and two chopsticks housed in a wooden scabbard

Date: 1900
Medium: Wood, bone, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John Jones Gould
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Mess kit
Object No: V00047684

User Terms

    This mess kit comprised of a lacquered wooden scabbard housing a knife and two chopsticks belonged to William Gould who served as an Able Seaman in the New South Wales Naval Brigade sent to China in August 1900. Victorian, New South Wales and South Australian troops were responsible for guarding and policing Tianjin (Tientsin) and Beijing (Peking) during the Boxer Rebellion.
    SignificanceThe Boxer Rebellion was the first Asian conflict that Australia participated in - providing the gunboat PROTECTOR plus more than 500 naval personnel in support of the British forces under Field Marshall Count von Waldersee and Admiral Edward Seymour. This material owned by William Gould relates to his personal experiences in the Boxer Rebellion. It is likely that these items were collected by him during his time in Hong Kong or China.
    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, Germany, Austria, Russia and the USA to crush a violent uprising against foreigners in China. The action was immortalised in the Hollywood movie "55 days in Peking". The term Boxer was a Western corruption of the original Chinese name.

    South Australia lent its steel twin screw gunboat HMCS PROTECTOR (Her Majesty's Colonial Ship) with a crew of 110 to assist the British Royal Navy. Victoria and New South Wales sent naval brigade contingents totalling 462 men. The Aberdeen Line cargo passenger ship SS SALAMIS was requisitioned by the New South Wales government to transport the contingent to the conflict. The China Navigation Company Limited vessel SS CHINGTU was requisitioned to bring the contingents home. They steamed through Sydney Heads on 25 April 1901.

    Arriving after the main conflict was over; their main duty was guarding and policing Tianjin (Tientsin) and Beijing (Peking). The Australian colonial forces returned home by May 1901 and all men were issued with a medal known variously as the Boxer Rebellion medal, the Queen's China War medal and the Third China War medal.

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