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ANMM Collection Reproduced courtesy of Donald Bastock

HMS IRIS

Date: c 1988
Dimensions:
Overall: 380 x 505 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Oil on composite board
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John Bastock
Object Copyright: © Donald Bastock
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00016898
Place Manufactured:Australia

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    Description
    HMS IRIS was the first flagship of the Australia Station in 1859-1860. It led the Royal Navy's newly formed Imperial Squadron sent to protect British shipping and interests in Australia and the Pacific.
    SignificanceThis painting represents HMS IRIS (1859-1860) and its position as the first flagship of the Royal Navy's Australia Station. IRIS played a founding role in the protection of shipping and trade to the Australian colony during the high economic growth period of the late 1850s.
    HistoryHMS IRIS was one of nine ships designed by Captain William Symonds and launched at Pembroke on 14 July 1840. In 1857 it commenced duties in Australia after serving in the East Indies. IRIS became the first flagship of the newly formed Royal Navy's Australia Station in 1859 and in 1860 took part in operations against Maori uprisings in New Zealand. It fell under the command of Captain William Loring CB RN (1857-1860) and Commodore F B P Seymour (1860-1861) during its service in Australia. IRIS' naval career ended in 1861 when it returned to England and was sold into private hands and used as a cable ship.

    During the 19th century Britain was occupied with increasing its colonial territories and maintaining a growing empire. At the height of its power the British Royal Navy (RN) divided the world into strategic zones or stations that were manned by a squadron of warships and responsible for cruising and protecting British territories and shipping. Until the 1850s Australasia was covered by the East India Station, a vast area that included the Indian Ocean and the waters around Australia. After pressure from the colonial governments of New Zealand and Australia the RN formed the Australia Station as a separate command in 1859.

    The station was established to patrol and guard the Australasian region from attacks on British shipping, ensuring sea routes were open and safe. In 1859 the Australia Station included the territories of New Zealand, Chatham Island, New Hebrides, Loyalty Islands, Fiji and Australia. The Royal Navy did not place their elite vessels on the Australia Station but the presence of ships including HMS IRIS helped guard the colony from foreign attacks until the creation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1913.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: HMS IRIS

    Assigned title: HMS IRIS

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