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Two Royal Navy ships anchored at Port Adelaide including HMS ORLANDO of the Australia Station

Date: 1886-1898
Dimensions:
Overall: 907 x 1133 mm, 11 kg
Medium: Watercolour
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Watercolour
Object No: 00006351
Place Manufactured:Adelaide

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    Description
    This watercolour of Royal Navy ships moored in Adelaide features the cruiser HMS ORLANDO on the left.
    SignificanceHMS ORLANDO served on the Australia Station - one of the ships sent by Britain's Royal Navy to protect Australian and New Zealand waters in the 19th and early years of the 20th centuries.
    HistoryDuring the 19th century Britain was occupied with increasing its colonial territories and maintaining the empire. The British Royal Navy (RN) at the height of its power divided the world into strategic zones or stations that were manned by a squadron of warships 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 created the Australia Station as a separate command in 1859.

    The station was established to guard British shipping and trade in the Australasian region and ensure 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. In 1887 when HMS ORLANDO was flagship the Auxiliary Squadron commenced operating in Australia.

    HMS ORLANDO was the lead ship of the Orlando class first-class cruisers built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company at Jarrow and launched on 3 August 1886. It was sent to the Australia Station and gained popularity as the flagship, visiting all the major ports in Australia and New Zealand during its nine-year career.

    ORLANDO was the flagship of Charles Ramsay Arbuthnot on the Australia Station from 1892 to 1895. It returned to England in 1898 and was sent to China between 1889 and 1901, to take part in the Boxer Rebellion, later being sold on 11 July 1905.

    During the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, sailors from HMS ORLANDO formed part of the force led by Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Seymour, attempting to relieve the British Legation in Beijing. A replica of a bell captured from the Taku Forts forms part of a memorial to ORLANDO in Victoria Park, Portsmouth.

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