S.S. Courier

The Huddard and Parker Bay Steamer S.S. Courier.

Launch of an Armed Australian Passenger-Steamer, the Courier.

Illustrated London News, 10 September 1887

"...... The ship was named the Courier by Lady Berry, wife of Sir Graham Berry, Agent-General for Victoria, and formerly Premier of Victoria. During the recent visit of Sir James Lorimer, the Minister for Defence in Victoria, Messrs. Huddart, Parker and Co. drew his attention to the Courier as well as to the large Australian steamship Elingamite, now being completed by the same builders. After consultation with General Steward, the Military Advisor for the Colonies, it was agreed that the Courier should be strengthened and fitted at various parts of her decks to enable her to carry several 14-pounder Nordenfelt guns and these fittings are now completed. It is expected that this ship in cases of emergency, will be utilised by the Victorian Government either as a despatch boat or a transport ship or to mobilise two or three thousand men quickly.

A beautiful model of this steamship was exhibited to the large company of visitors on Saturday, and will be sent out to the Melbourne Exhibition of 1888."

(It is presumed that the model referred to is the one on display at Geelong Maritime Museum. It is currently on loan from the Geelong Harbour Trust.)

Model of the Courier, in the Geelong Maritime Museum, showing one of the four Maxim-Nordenfelt 14 pounder Q.F. Guns.

"The Courier has been adapted as an armed cruiser, and will be subsidised by the Victorian Government, to be used as a scout in time of war. Her exceptionally high rate of speed admirably adapts her for assisting in the work of coast defence." The Argus, 16 December 1887

"Courier and Elingamite as armed cruisers" James Huddart - The Argus, 11 May 1888

"The requisitioned ships Courier and Elingamite would be on patrol outside port Phillip Heads, each armed with 45-pound QF, 14-pound QF and Nordenfelt guns." Reflections on R.A.N., T. R. Frame, Kenthurst, J. V. D. Goldrick & P. D. Jones, Kangaroo Press, 1991.

"The list completed by the Courier and Ellingamite, two steel merchant cruisers, each provided with 4 - 13 pounders quick firing." The Illustrated Australian News, 9 November 1889

There is an excellent model of the Courier, almost certainly "the beautiful model" referred to in the Illustrated London News article above, as part of the Victorian Navy display in the Geelong Maritime Museum.

Details on the Maxim-Nordenfelt 14 pdr Q.F. Guns

S.S. Elingamite

Huddart Parker & Co's, S.S. "Elingamite"
Image: Allan C. Green collection, State Library of Victoria

The Elingamite will have a more formidable armament, being fitted to carry two 36-pounder Armstrong guns in the forecastle, two on the poop, together with several rapid firing guns amidships, she is a handsome vessel, 320ft in length, 40ft Oin in breadth, 28ft 3in in depth, with a carrying capacity of 4,000 tons. She can accommndate 110 first-class passengers, and 100 second class, and has a splendid saloon and large airy state room.

The Argus, 24 October 1887

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