|The Flying Squadron 1869-70
Sydney Morning Herald
13th December, 1869
Arrival of the Flying Squadron
Early before sundown on Saturday evening a telegram from Kiama announced that at 5.30 p.m. the Flying Squadron was in sight, fifteen miles to the S.E. The intelligence spread rapidly through the city, and fears were expressed that the interest attached to its arrival would be marred if the fair wind then prevailing increased during the night and enabled the gallant group to make an unostentatious entrance to Port Jackson at an earlier hour than was previously expected. This was dispelled yesterday morning by signals being sent at Fort Phillip indicating the Squadron in sight to the eastward. There was a light north-east breeze during the night which hardened as the day advanced and caused the fleet to take their positions.
Many persons who travelled overland to Watsons Bay and other points along the port had a fine opportunity of witnessing a splendid sight exhibited by six first-class men-o-war under all plain sail. The Squadron came from the eastward, close-hauled on the starboard tack and as it approached the coast, formed in two divisions. The weather line occupied of the Phoebe, Barossa and Liffey, the lee line of the Liverpool, Scylla and Endymion. From 1 oíclock until 4, steamer after steamer and yachts innumerable, fully freighted with passengers, might be seen racing towards the Heads to welcome the visitors.
The Government steamer, Thetia, commanded by Lieutenant ? and bearing Commodore Lambertís pennant, and Dr Cuthbertís steam yacht Fairy, in which our representatives were courteously afforded a passage, were the first to reach the Heads. About 4 p.m. a signal from the Admiral "Follow in line" was attended to, and the admirable manner in which each vessel took her allotted position was the subject of general remark, both by landsmen and those schooled in nautical matters. As the vessels reached inside the Heads the spectacle afforded was imposing in the main. They came bowling along at about seven knots, maintaining their relative distances with wonderful reliability. Royals were carried until well between the Heads, then aloft to shorten canvas sent the top men of Liverpool to their posts, each ship reducing sail in rotation. In a wonderfully short space of time the flagship was under topsails alone, and ere the last vessel had reached her anchorage the Liverpool appeared to a casual observer as if she had been in port for days, her sails furled, yards squared, topmen from aloft, nothing perpendicular above her rail to induce the belief that she had just arrived from a voyage of 16,000 miles.
The manner in which the other ships were handled was not less able, and even with steam and an auxiliary they could not have taken up their assigned anchorage with more accuracy. They brought up at single anchors off Quarantine Ground in two divisions, the leading vessels facing in towards Manly. Two flag officers of the two ? , and a number of the yachts under their respective commands, together with the Fairy, sailed past the Squadron, saluting the Admiralís pennant and afterwards giving similar compliments to the other vessels. The view presented was as imposing as it was novel, and will be remembered as one of the best connected with the service of the British Navy in southern waters. Those who missed the spectacle offered will be glad to hear that an opportunity will be given them today of seeing the Squadron getting underway and sailing up to their moorings at Farm Cove. The tide will serve about 3 p.m. and prior to that a number of steamers for the conveyance of passengers will leave Sydney and proceed down the harbour. ? of the Prince Alfred Club are to rendezvous at Farm Cove at noon for the purpose of proceeding down the harbour to receive the Squadron.
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