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SS SALAMIS Boxer Rebellion troopship

Date: 1900
Dimensions:
Overall: 4350 x 5880 mm
Medium: Watercolour and gouache on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00000152

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    Description
    Australian contingents on board SS SALAMIS are shown departing Sydney on 8 August 1900, bound for China to help quell the Boxer Rebellion. A companion painting of SS CHINGTU (00000151) shows the troops on their return voyage. A number of colonial nations were sent to crush the violent uprisings against foreigners.
    SignificanceThis image represents one of the first overseas actions Australian naval brigades fought in.
    HistoryAustralia took its first step into East Asian conflicts in 1900, when three colonies sent support to the British at the Boxer War. This was a joint action by several nations including Britain, France, Germany, Austria, 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.

    South Australia lent its steel twin screw gunboat HMCS PROTECTOR (Her Majesty's Colonial Ship) with a crew of 110 to assist the Royal Navy. Victoria and New South Wales sent naval brigade contingents totalling 462 men. The Aberdeen Line cargo passenger ship SS SALAMIS was requisitioned by the NSW government to transport the contingent to the conflict. The China Navigation Company Limited vessel SS CHINGTU was requisitioned to bring the contingents home. They steamed through Sydney Heads on 25 April 1901.

    Arriving after the main conflict was over; their main duty was guarding and policing Tianjin (Tientsin) and Beijing (Peking). The Australian colonial forces all returned home by May 1901 and all men were issued with a medal known variously as the Boxer Rebellion medal, The Queen's China War medal and the Third China War medal.
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