It has previously been assumed that the Victorian Navy consisted of men of European descent. Individuals such as Thomas Bungalene or Harry Moore were seen as exceptions. Part of the problem in identifying ethnicity is that non-European men were not described in terms of their ethnic background. Even when a memo1 was written about a specific non-European, such as Harry Moore, his skin colour was not referred to.
Thomas Bungalene (squatting)
& other crew members of HMCS Victoria receiving their rum ration circa 1863.
Photo from the State Library of Victoria, Picture Collection.
(aka Black Harry) in 1924 at the claimed age of 108.
The Argus, 27 February 1924.
Sub-Lieutenant Houston saving James Jasper after the Torpedo Explosion off Queenscliff
Australasian Sketcher, 12 March 1881
The colour of James Jasper's face, neck and hand suggests that he was of non-European descent.
|A possible Non-European & three European men manning the wheel on HMVS Nelson.|
The Australasian, 9 April 1898 (image sponsored by Vera Keys)
|First Name||Family Name||Enrolled||Confirmed||Source||Force|
|Harry||Moore||1870||yes||see profile||V.N.B. (P.M.)|
|William R.||Erskine||unknown||no||V.N.R.R.3||V.N.B. (P.M.)|
|C. H.||Wilson||1871||no||V.N.R.R.3||V.N.B. (P.M.)|
|D. S.||Stroud||1877||no||V.N.R.R.3||V.N.B. (P.M.)|
|J. W.||Houston||unknown||no||V.N.R.R.3||V.N.B. (P.M.)|
12 March 1881 profile
|?||Name not known|
aka Sandridge Darkey 6
|1860||yes||The Argus 6||V.N.B. (P.M.)|
Although by the 1890's a small black community had formed in Port Melbourne4, it could just be that the higher representation of Port Melbourne residents in the above list, compared with those from Williamstown or the Permanent Force, is simply due to the more detailed Port Melbourne records.Click to download the Victorian Naval Reserve Register of 40 Possible Non-Europeans.
1 Memo on Harry Moore's claim to have resigned at a later date than he did.
2 The Hobart Mercury, 3 March 1917 and The Argus, 11 June 1921.
3 V.N.R.R. Based on their description in the Victorian Naval Reserve Register as having black or dark complexion and black or dark eyes.
4 "By the 1890s, it appears a small black community had formed in Port Melbourne. Seemingly entirely male, the majority worked at the docks or in other menial labouring jobs." Love is Murder abstract. Provenance, September 2007, Number 6.
5 Victorian Government Gazette, 29 March 1893
6 Sandridge Darkeys The Argus, 6 November 1860
7 "Mr. Kerferd says he is glad to learn that the young man is a native of the colony, for we have evidence that our Victorian youth preserve the courage of our fathers." The Camperdown Chronicle, 13 May 1881
NOTE: No offence is intended by the use of the term Darkey. The word is used simply because it was used by the Non-European who wrote the letter above complaining of racial discrimination.