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30 September 1884 The warship Protector

 30 September 1884 The warship Protector

On 30 September 1884 South Australia’s first and only warship Protector arrived at Port Adelaide to an enthusiastic welcome. Two years earlier Governor Jervois had warned about the colony’s defenceless position and the government passed legislation allowing for a contract to be placed for a steel-hulled cruiser to be built at Newcastle-on-Tyne. The HMCS (Her Majesty’s Colonial Ship) Protector was 920 tons, 188 feet long with a beam of 30 feet and her armaments consisted of six main guns and five Gatling guns making her, said one paper, ‘the most formidable ship of her size afloat’. She cost £65,000 and was sailed through the Suez Canal to South Australia by Captain J.C.P. Walcot RN.

Besides her naval duties she was used for other purposes and helped in a number of rescues of ships in distress and took over from the military forces the duty of firing the salute at Glenelg on Proclamation Day, a task she performed for years. After serving in China with the Royal Navy at the time of the Boxer rebellion in 1900, she became the property of the Commonwealth after federation in 1901.

H.M. Cooper, A Naval History of South Australia, Adelaide, 1950, pp.96-109.

Tags: HMCS (Her Majesty’s Colonial Ship) Protector