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Third China War medal awarded to R Kearns, Gunner of the Victorian Naval Contingent

Date: 1900
Overall: 100 x 35 mm, 0.05 kg
Display Dimensions: 3 x 102 mm
Medium: Silver alloy, cloth
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00029625

User Terms

    This medal was awarded to gunner R Kearns of the Victorian Naval Contingent, for his service in the Third China War, also known as the Boxer Rebellion. Arriving in China after the conflict was largely over, Australian troops were responsible for guarding and policing Tianjin (Tientsin) and Beijing (Peking). This medal is one of 198 that were issued to members of the Victorian Naval Contingent for their service in the conflict.
    SignificanceThis medal represents the action of Australian naval brigades supporting British forces in overseas conflicts.
    HistoryAustralia took its first step into East Asian conflicts in 1900, when three colonies sent support to the British forces 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'.

    South Australia lent its steel twin screw gunboat PROTECTOR with a crew of 110 to assist the Royal Navy. Victoria and New South Wales sent naval brigade contingents totalling 462 men. Arriving after the main conflict was over, their main duty was guarding and policing in Tianjin (Tientsin) and Beijing (Peking). The Australian colonial forces all returned home by May 1901 leaving seven Australians behind - six who had died of illness and one suicide.

    All Australians who returned from the uprising were awarded the medal, known variously as the Queen's China War medal, the Third China War medal, the Boxer Rebellion medal or the Boxer Uprising medal. Trophies were also brought back as souveniring and looting was condoned for some time during the occupation.

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