|The Flying Squadron 1869-70
Sydney Morning Herald
27th December 1869
The vessels composing the Flying squadron viz.; Liverpool, Endymion, Liffey, Scylla, Barossa and Phoebe arrived in port on the afternoon of Sunday, the 12th instant. They came from Melbourne under canvas, and the tide not serving anchored at the Heads until the 13th, when they came up harbour under steam. On the 14th the ships were thrown open to public inspection, and during their stay in port many thousands of the citizens visited them.
Admiral Hornby, accompanied by Commodore Lambert, paid a visit to Mr. J. Cuthbert’s shipbuilding establishment on 20th instant. The whole of the extensive premises were gone over, Admiral Hornby minutely examining the various colonial woods used in shipbuilding, the mould loft, steam-saw machinery, &c, and expressed himself much pleased with his visit, which extended over an hour. At the same time he gave directions for the supply of two cutters – one for the Scylla of 26 feet, and the other for the Phoebe, of 27 feet long. The boats were completed and fitted in every respect and placed on board the respective ships in eight days. This fact will speak for itself. The Scylla having suffered damage to her head knees, the necessary repairs were effected by Mr. Cuthbert, and a large amount of spare spars supplied. The machinery of the Endymion requiring some repairs, they were carried out in an expeditious and satisfactory manner by the Waterview bay Company.
The match between the two cutters belonging to H. M. Ships Challenger and Liffey took place on the 23rd instant, and proved a most interesting event. The Challenger’s boat is a colonial production, built at Mr. J Cuthbert’s establishment, and, having never been beaten, it was at first feared that no match would be made with the boats of the Flying Squadron. However, the Liffey’s took up the cause, and hence the race. The agreement was that the champion cutter should compete against the Liffey’s in one event, and then the Liffey’s crew were to pull a second match, using one of the cutters belonging to the training ship Vernon, which is also a colonial boat. The course on both occasions was from Fort Macquarie, round a boat moored off Cremorne Point, then round a boat moored off Bradleys Head, across the harbour and around a third boat and back to H.M.S. Liverpool, no mean distance for heavy boats. The start took place about 3 p.m., Challenger having the southern station. At the report of the pistol both cutters jumped off at a tremendous pace, and a most exciting struggle ensued for the first half-mile, Liffey apparently slightly in advance; but when the first rounding boat was reached Challenger was seen leading round by three lengths, and this distance was gradually increased to the finish, Challenger coming in one hundred yards ahead, pulling easy. The second match resulted in the same way, but was won with a still greater ease. Both crews rowed remarkably well, and were loudly cheered, but the steady telling stroke of the Challengers show they have profited by witnessing our colonial style. Mr. Cuthbert’s steam yacht Fairy, with a party of the officers on board, accompanied the cutters around the course.
On the 25th instant, Christmas Day, the seamen on board the Squadron were supplied, by the Colonial Government, with an ample supply of beef, flour and fruit, and the usual concomitants necessary to provide a substantial dinner; and on the 26th the Squadron sailed for Hobart Town. They steamed from their anchorage to three miles clear of the Heads when sail was made, screws lifted, and they stood away to the southward before a strong N.E. breeze.
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