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Lancaster Sapper's & Miner's Sword Bayonet and scabbard owned by James Conder

Date: c 1855
Bayonet: 25 x 737 x 108 mm, 650 g
Scabbard: 28 x 624 x 44 mm, 250 g
Medium: Steel, brass, leather
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robert Murphy
Object Name: Bayonet and scabbard
Object No: V00005671

User Terms

    This sword-style bayonet and scabbard belonged to James Conder, who served in the Victorian Colonial Navy between 1892 and 1896, and later the Royal Australian Navy. It is thought to have fitted an 1855 model Lancaster percussion .577-inch carbine - the same carbine (rifle) issued to the Corps of British Royal Sappers & Miners.

    These carbines were issued to some volunteer units of the Victorian defence forces in the late 1850s, however there is no evidence of their naval use. It is possible that they formed part of the stock of small arms carried on board HMVS CERBERUS for use by their landing parties. Although superseded by improved weapons (the .568-inch Lancaster carbine in the 1860s, and the Martini-Henry rifle in the 1870s), the Lancaster .577-inch carbine may have been retained for drill purposes at the time Conder joined the Victorian Colonial Navy in the 1890s.
    SignificanceThis bayonet and scabbard belonged to James Bryance Conder, whose naval career spanned four different navies in the service of Australia between 1891 and 1937.
    HistoryJames (Jim) Bryance Conder was one of thousands of Australian sailors who helped to shape Australia's naval history. His naval career, interspersed with periods ashore, illustrates all stages in the transition from British control of Australia's naval defence to full local responsibility with the formation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). It also shows what a strong imprint the Royal Navy had on the RAN.

    Conder joined the Royal Navy in Australia in 1891 aged 19 having sailed in the merchant ships ELLORA and AVENGER over the previous two years. He served on HMS ORLANDO, HMVS CERBERUS, HMVS NELSON, gunboat HMVS ALBERT, HMS KATOOMBA, HM Ships CHALLENGER and PSYCHE.

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