The Defending Victoria website has been online since 1997. It is updated regularly.
This webpage is just one of 74 on the Defending Victoria website

Relevant, associated pages include: Save Cerberus, Australia's first warship (1855), Victoria Naval Brigade (1860-1), China (1900-1)


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Armed vessels formed part of the early history of what is now the State of Victoria. Customs vessels contained armouries and were partly crewed by Aboriginal trackers to catch bushrangers along the coastline. A blue water ship was envisioned by Governor Sir Charles Hotham, himself a Royal Navy celebrity, and he authorised the building of Her Majesty's Colonial Steam Sloop Victoria at Limehouse in London in 1855. This was Australia's first steam warship -- and Australia's first real naval ship.

Later ships of the Victorian Colonial Navy include:

NELSON (formerly the largest ship in the Royal Navy -- HMS Nelson -- successively cut down from three decks to one). Was permanently loaned to the Colony of Victoria. Arrived in 1868. Manned mostly by the Naval Brigade.

Link logo to Victoria webpage
Click on logo above to visit the Victoria webpage
HMVS Nelson    Tom Seabridge of Nelson. Gunner Tom Seabridge
Born in 1843, Tom Seabridge ran away to sea aged 12. He earned his Crimean War
Baltic Campaign medal a year later. He came out in Nelson, later serving on Cerberus,
Lonsdale and Albert as an ordinance expert. Photograph provided by his proud grandson
Cyril Curtain.

CERBERUS (Iron Monitor launched 1870. This sole survivor of the class is now a rusting breakwater in Port Phillip Bay)

Cerberus in full flight Cerberus in her heyday, at full steam in Port Phillip Bay.

  John White was a Chief Armourer in HMVS Cerberus .
Image provided by his proud descendant Helen Vincent (nee White).
The exact
dates of his service in the Victorian Navy have not yet been established.

Cerberus in Half Moon Bay today. Cerberus in 1998 (photo Allan Trinca).

VICTORIA and ALBERT (gunboats launched in 1884)

Gunboat Victoria HMVS VICTORIA, the second Victorian Navy vessel to bear the name.


2nd class torpedo boat like Lonsdale or Nepean
Photo of Countess of Hopetoun
First class torpedo boat Countess of Hopetoun, 75 tons, 130 ', 3 x 14"
torpedo tubes, built UK, completed 1891. Top speed 24 knots.

A good starting source is Jones, Colin: Australian Colonial Navies: Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1986

SIR HARRY SMITH -- Formerly a Water Police Depot Ship. Later a Guard Ship during HMCSS Victoria's frequent absences. Later again, in the 1860s, was Naval Training Ship, succeeded by HMVS Nelson.

Stephen Newing's New Zealand medal (left) won when he served with
HMS Iris. He later joined the Victorian Navy, serving in HMVS
Nelson, where he earned the Victorian Long and Efficient Service
medal. Photos courtesy of his proud great-grandson Alec Newing.

Do you have an ancestor who served with the Victorian Navy?

Photos of ships, Naval Brigade, individuals?

Click below for info

H E L P !!!

Frank Noonan is trying to compile a database of all who served in the Victorian Navy.

Preferably, he needs documentary information. Do you have a discharge certificate, notification of promotion, letters or photos? Send him a photocopy and whatever details you have: Frank Noonan, D Block, Victoria Barracks, St Kilda Road, Southbank Vic 3006.

Click on buttons below
Link to China page
Link to HMCSS VICTORIA webpage
Link to Confederate & US NAVY webpage.



Some books with Royal Australian Navy themes
(take a peek without leaving this site)


Click below:



Save the Cerberus

 HMVS Cerberus lies rusting
as a breakwater off a Melbourne
bayside suburb. Several plans
have been suggested to raise
the historic ship. But experts
now feel the task is impossible.
In March 1999, the ship began
to collapse. What a disaster!
What do you think . . . Can
she still be saved? Click here
for more photos.


Check this FREE U.S. booksearch service to
locate that book you've been seeking for years:

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