professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > April > 1 April 1885 Russian scare

1 April 1885 Russian scare

 1 April 1885   Russian scare

On 1 April Cabinet met to discuss reports that hostilities between Britain and Russia over Afghanistan were imminent. It was suggested that Australia would be the first to be attacked, and the South Australian Government had to decide what steps should be taken to defend the colony should something happen. Telegraphs from Singapore indicated that the Russian ironclad General Admiral was on the way to Australia and that several other warships were in the area of the Cape of Good Hope. 

This set in motion some feverish activity. Fort Glanville and Fort Largs, made ready just the year before, were manned and inspected by the Governor. Sham fights were carried out for practice and South Australia's only warship, Protector, was sent down the gulf. On 18 April 1885 the local press reported that Russian ships were cruising in local waters. Reports in the press continued:

          25 April: Verge of war with Russia.
          2 May: Last hope of peace fades, naval reserve alerted.
          9 May: War situation less tense.
         16 May: Differences between Britain and Russia over Afghanistan settled amicably.

With the crisis over South Australia settled back into her more peaceful ways.

Observer, 4 April 1885, p. 35.
H.M. Cooper, A Naval History of South Australia, 1950, p. 98.

Tags: Russian scare