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HMS Wolverine (1863)

HAS Wolverine
HMS Wolverine

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HMS Wolverine (also called HMS Wolverene) was a wooden three-masted screw Jason Class Corvette of the Royal Navy. She was built at Woolwich Dockyard, laid down on the 14th of April 1859, and launched on the 9th of August 1863.

Corvette Sailing vessels - During the Age of Sail, corvettes were one of many types of warships that were smaller than a frigate but which also had a single deck of guns. The role of the corvette consisted mostly of coastal patrol, fighting minor wars, supporting large fleets, or participating in show-the-flag missions. The first reference to the term corvette was with the French Navy in the 1670's, which may be where the term originated. The British Navy did not adopt the term until the 1830's, long after the Napoleonic Wars, Most corvettes of the 17th Century were around 40 to 60 ft (12 to 18 m) in length and measured 40 to 70 tons burthen. They carried four to eight smaller guns on a single deck. Over time, vessels of increasing size and capability were called corvettes; by 1800, they reached lengths of over 100 ft (30 m) and measured from 400 to 600 tons burthen. (Burthen - The tonnage of a ship based on the number of tons of wine that it could carry in its holds.

HMS Wolverive
Gun deck of HMS Wolverine, 1881.

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Sail plan: - HMS Wolverine was a full-rigged ship A full-rigged or fully rigged ship is term denoting a sailing vessel's sail plan with three or more masts, all of them square-rigged.

Her propulsion came via a two cylinder horizontal single-expansion engine with four boilers and four furnaces, driving a Single screw; and she was capable of 11.3 knots.

Her armament consisted of 20 8-inch (68pdr/65cwt) muzzle-loading smooth bore broadside guns, plus one pivot-mounted 7-inch (110-pdr/82cwt) Armstrong breech loader.

She had a complement of around 250 men.


HMS Wolverine
A cutlass drill.

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After serving in the North America and West Indies Station in the 1860's, she was commissioned as the flagship of the Australia Station on 7 September 1875, under the command of Commodore Anthony Hoskins. In 1880, Francis Pringle Taylor was appointed lieutenant in command, a position he held until 1884.

During its service Wolverine was present in Sydney for the visit of the Royal Navy's Detached Squadron world cruise in 1881 when the princes Albert and George undertook naval training. The Wolverine left Sydney Harbour at the same time as the Detached Squadron on 10 August 1881, with Commodore John Wilson, Commander-in-Chief of the Australia Station on board. Her destination was Brisbane initially, and then New Guinea.

The scientist Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay travelled to New Guinea on this voyage, where, aided by the Rev. James Chalmers, he intervened with the Commodore to stop the destruction of the entire native village of Kalo in reprisal for the recent murder of some missionaries there.

When Wolverine's RN service came to an end she paid off in 1882 at Sydney and was replaced by HMS Nelson.

She was then presented to the Colony of New South Wales as a training ship for the New South Wales Naval Brigade and New South Wales Naval Artillery Volunteers, where she participated in exercises teaching them how to "challenge enemy ships" at Sydney heads, and "attacking" coastal and harbour fortifications.

The ship was decommissioned from colonial service in 1892, and sold to a private firm (Peter Ellison, Sydney) for 2,200 in August 1893, and, with the engines removed, was used as a hulk.

Later, she was refitted and converted to a barque, and she commenced service as a merchant vessel. On a voyage from Sydney to Liverpool, England she sprung leaks and returned to Auckland for repairs, however upon docking she was found to be unfit. She was sold to G. Niccol, Auckland, for 1,000 who partially scrapped her and then burnt her hull.