HMS Australia Watch Bill

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a watch bill for HMS Australia, and was compiled by Lieutenant Richard M. Harbord, 1889. The volume was purchased from Waterlow & Sons Limited, London, manufacturers to Her Majesty's Government, and is embossed on the front cover with 'S. 286A, watch station quartet and fire bills &c. for the use of H.M. mastless ships, no. 1 size'. As well as containing information on the ship and crew (including crew listings), it also includes details on how to prepare for armed action

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Morden Harbord was commissioned as Lieutenant on HMS Australia on 19 November 1889. He had achieved his seniority on 1 Oct 1888. According to the inscription in the front of the volume, he was subsequently paid off, although it is not known precisely when. It has not been possible to establish further details about him.

HMS Australia was commissioned under the Northbrook Programme of 1884, and was ordered in 1885. She was a First Class (Armoured/Protected) cruiser, Orlando Class, and was designed by Nathaniel Barnaby in 1884. She was built at Napier and Sons, Govan, Scotland (no. 397). She was one of a class designed for world-wide trade protection, and was an enlarged version of the protected cruiser Mersey, but with side armour substituted for the protective deck. Her dimensions were 300x56x22 feet, with a tonnage of 5,600 tons. Her crew numbered 484 men. She was sold to King, Troon, Scotland, in April 1905.


The volume contains pre-printed sections which have been filled in. Other sections consist of additional notes and instructions, some written by hand, and others pasted into the volume.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Information on HMS Australia was taken from David Lyon, The sail and steam Navy list, 1815-1889, 2004. Biographical details on Harbord were taken from the Navy List.

Other Finding Aids

Single item only.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 11 April 2005, and encoded into EAD 2 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

This item was donated anonymously to the University Library in 2001.

Related Material

A midshipman's log, 1893, for HMS Australia is held at the University of Michigan: William L Clements Library.


It is not known whether this item has been used as a basis for publication.