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Naval Illumination in Hobson's Bay

Date: 23 October 1880
Overall: 275 x 407 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00006173
Place Manufactured:Melbourne

User Terms

    The Australasian Sketcher covered the opening events of the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880. One of the biggest events was the fireworks and light display in Hobson's Bay by Victorian colonial and visiting warships including HMC Ships NELSON, WOLVERENE and NELSON and the French troopship FINISTERE.
    HistoryThis report appeared on page 275 of the Australasian Sketcher
    On the evening of October 1, the day of the opening of the Melbourne International Exhibition, a grand naval illumination took place in Hobson's Bay, in accordance with arrangements made by Commodore Wilson and the commanders of the various foreign men-of-war in the bay. The display was appointed to take place at 9 o'clock, but long before that time Sandridge pier and portions of the shore of the bay towards Emerald hill and St. Kilda were crowded by many thousands of spectators, anxious to behold a sight novel to most Victorian colonists.

    Trains were run to Sandridge as rapidly as possible botweon 7 o'clock and 9 o'clock, and when the illumination took place it was considered there must have been 30,000 or 40,000 persons at Sandridge and Emerald hill waiting to witness it. The yards of the British men-of-war were all manned at 9 o'clock, and at a gun-signal given from the Wolverene all the British vessels instantaneously displayed blue-lights at each yardarm and at each gun-port. The French vessel Finistere at the same time lighted up brilliantly with red lanterns all over the rigging and along the bulwarks, forming a remarkably fine contrast to the illumination of the British men-of-war near her. The Cerberus had a number of exceedingly bright lights on her decks, and the Nelson was also lighted. The Austrian vessel Polluce, anchored at the Sandridge pier, burned a number of splendid lights of various colours, which were particularly striking. The whole scene, as observed from the shore, was very fine. The British ships were so well lighted that the sailors could be plainly seen in their white suits manning the yards, although the warships were anchored some distance out in the bay.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Naval Illumination in Hobson's Bay


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