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Victorian Naval Forces Muster

for the Colony of Victoria. (muster range 1853-1910)*


Last Name:Elder
First Name:Douglas
Birth Date:
Branch:Volunteer Naval Brigade - Williamstown

Douglas Elder


Mentioned in The Victorian Government Gazette in 1860



The Age, 27 August 1864


Sir,- In your leader of Saturday last, regarding the defences of the port, you state a raft is in process of construction which, when finished, will be armed with a 68 pounder gun; and should the experiment-"which is based on some drawings received from England"- be successful, others of a similar kind will follow. In justice to Captain Elder, of the Williamstown Naval Brigade, allow me to inform you that the raft buildings in no way based on drawings received from England, but the design drawings, and calculations are entirely the work of Captain Elder, of the Marine Yard, Williamstown, and the raft will, in all probability, turn out superior to anything of the kind in existence at home. The rafts recently got up in England, principally for training purposes appear to be larger than a few casks lashed together, with spars and cross-pieces for a deck, and must be towed about and then left stationary; and though low in the water, would not be very difficult to strike with a shot. The raft designed by Captain Elder will be low in the water, and can be propelled by either canvas or sweeps, at least five knots an hour, and, no doubt, will also be capable of going to windward - a very material consideration; and this, the first one, is intended for training purposes; but, as you, say, such rafts judicially placed in shallow water, might materially annoy an enemy, and prevent landing on either side of the Bay. In fairness to Captain Elder, who designed the present raft, and, I believe, is prepared to give designs for a very more effective and dangerous opponent to an enemy's ship, will, perhaps, be good enough to insert this,-I am &c.,              W.N.B.

P.S.,- As I am informed there is plenty of the "needful" at St. Kilda, and is mighty scarce on this side, lately, I hope the raft, with some of the "buoys" of the Naval Brigade, will just be employed one fine night or morning, to prevent her bottom getting foul at anchor, to attach and capture St. Kilda, taking the whole of her volunteers and a few of the "rich 'uns" prisoner to be handsomely ransomed thereafter.

Captain Elder's Gun Raft, the Elder.

Illustrated Melbourne Post, 18 February 1865.

  Gun Raft Details


Listed in the Victorian Defence Forces List, Naval Branch, 19 May 1871

Mentioned in - The Argus, 15 November 1872

Retired 18 March 1882.

Listed in the Victorian Defence Forces List, Naval Branch, 1 January 1890 as being on the Unattached List.


Listed as receiving a long service medal on Sunday 2 April 1899.

The Argus, 3 April 1899. Research courtesy of David Matthews.


Served 1860 - 1871

Source Victorian Naval Brigade 1860 - 1871 courtesy of Tom Corfmat, Victorian Colonial Infantry Association Inc.



* 1853 is given as the commencement date for the Victorian Navy as this is the year that Commander Lockyer (RN) went to Britain to superintend the building of HMCS Victoria.
Although the Victorian Navy ended in 1901 the career of Cerbeus etc continued. In 1910 the new ships started arriving & manning levels increased.

Information & photographs of men who served in the Victorian Naval Forces is eagerly sought. Please contact the webmaster.