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Victorian Naval Forces Muster

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


Last Name:Crickard
First Name:Nathaniel
Rank:Gunner 2nd class
Birth Date: 00-00-1851
Branch:Naval Brigade - Williamstown

Nathaniel Crickard

Leading Seaman on the Cerberus

    BORN  :  c.  1851     DIED  :  25th. July, 1894

By  Shirley M. Joy.

Nathaniel Crickard was born in Strangford, c. 1851, to Nathaniel Crickard, Tradesman, and Elizabeth Crickard, née Shields. In 1837, Strangford was described as a small sea-port and post town in the parish of Ballyculter, County of Down, Ireland.

He arrived in Victoria, Australia about 1878. On the 27th. December, 1879, Nathaniel Crickard married Alicia Mahon, the daughter of Laurence Mahon and Catherine Mahon, née McCormack at St. Francis's Church, Melbourne.

The records of births in the State of Victoria reveal that Nathaniel and Alicia had six children,

Mary born at Carlton in 1881  -  died at Richmond in 1906.
Catherine born at Williamstown in 1882  -  died at Kew in 1971.
Emily Patricia born at Williamstown in 1884  -  married Joseph Sheedy in 1909. She died at Kew in 1968.
Unnamed male born at Williamstown in 1886.
Joseph born at Williamstown in 1889  -  died at Williamstown in 1889.
Eileen Veronica born at Williamstown in 1892  -  died at Kew in 1977.

Alicia Crickard, the wife of Nathaniel, died at Hawthorn in 1937.

The Age newspaper of Thursday 20th. January, 1994 carries a most interesting report on the life of Nathaniel Crickard and his great-grandson Peter Tilley.    Peter Tilley is pictured proudly examining Nathaniel's sword and sextant.     Extracts from the newspaper report are as follows

"Nathaniel was 5 feet 6 inches (about 168 centimetres), he had grey eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion.  ……..  Nathaniel had good things said about him in comments by his superiors.    He seems to have had two spells in the navy. The first between 1878 and 1883, when he was honourably discharged from both the service and the Cerberus. The second spell began in 1889, when he was appointed from Petty Officer (first class) to Gunner (second class) in the Victorian Naval Brigade. His name disappears from the Brigade list after 1895."

In fact, Nathaniel Crickard died, aged 43 years on the 25th. July, 1894 at Gleadell Street, City of Richmond, from Chronic Phthisis.    At the time of Nathaniel's death, his youngest child, Eileen Veronica, was only 1 ½ years old.    Nathaniel Crickard was buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery on the 28th. July, 1894.

Peter Tilley with sword & sextant which link him with his great-grandfather, Nathaniel Crickard.

photo - Tina Haynes 

A sextant, a sword survive time and tide.

"Not many people own a sextant and a sword. Peter Tilley of Carlton, treasures them. They link him with his great-grandfather, Nathaniel Crickard, who served as a leading seaman on the warship HMVS Cerberus, the ironclad marvel of Victoria in the late 19th Century.

Anyway, because of old documents which Mr. Tilley guards, we know a lot about Nathaniel Crickard. He was 5ft 6ins (about 168 centimetres), he had grey eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion, and he was born about 1850 in Strangford Down, Ireland. At St Francis Church, Melbourne, in 1879, he married a dressmaker, Alice Mahon, of Carlton.

Nathaniel had good things said about him in comments by his superiors. He seems to have had two spells in the navy. The first was between 1878 and 1883, when he was honorably discharged from both the service and the Cerberus. The second spell began in in 1889, when he was appointed from petty officer (first class) to gunner (second class) in the Victorian Naval Brigade. His name disappears from the brigade list after 1895. We know one other thing about him; he probably spoke French. At least he owned books in the French language, one of which now sits at Carlton with the sextant and the sword."

excerpt from an article written by John Lahey, The Age, 20 January 1994.


Promoted to Warrant Officer.

Source : The Argus, 29 August 1889


Listed in the Victorian Defence Forces List, Naval Branch, 1 January 1890 as a Gunner.

The Argus, 18 May 1887

* 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.