|Eurekan Reform Navy|
Seal of the Eurekan Republic Department of the Navy
|Founded||February 16, 1855 – Sep 5, 1859; 5 years 8 months|
|Country||Eurekan Federal Republic|
|Branch||Armed Forces of the Eurekan Federal Republic|
|Motto||Classis vivat Eurekan|
|Colors||Blue & Grey|
|Notable Ships|| Black Pearl
|Engagements|| Australian War of Independence
|Disbanded||Reformed into the Australian Republican Navy|
|A.F.R Secretary of the Navy||Maxwell Richardson|
|Notable Captains|| Jarred Carbone
|Naval Jack (1855-1859)|
The Eurekan Navy was the official navy of the Eurekan Federal Republic. It was created to protect and defend the coastline of Australia and offer protection for the shipping and trade that was desperately needed for the growing republic. Established by an act of the Eurekan Parliament on February 16, 1855. It was responsible for Eurekan naval operations during the Australian War of Independence (1854–1859), fighting against the British Navy, French Navy & Spanish Navy (Coalition Navies).
The three major tasks of the Eurekan Navy during the whole of its existence were the protection of Eurekan harbours and coastlines from outside invasion, making the war costly for the Coalition by attacking Coalition merchant ships worldwide, and running the Coalition blockade by drawing off Coalition Navy ships in pursuit of the Eurekan commerce raiders and few warships.
The Eurekan navy could never achieve numerical equality with the Coalition Navy, with its near 308 years of traditions and experience, so it used technological innovation, such as ironclads, submarines, torpedo boats, and naval mines (then known as torpedoes) to attempt to gain advantage. In February 1855, the Eurekan Navy had 30 vessels, only 14 of which were seaworthy. The opposing Coalition Navy had 130 vessels. The E. R. Navy eventually grew to 101 ships to meet the rise in naval conflicts and threats to the coast and rivers of the Republic.
On April 20, 1855 the British was forced to quickly abandon the important John Wright and Son at Tuncurry, South Australia. In their haste, they failed to effectively burn the facility with its large depots of arms, other supplies, and several small vessels. As a result, the Republic captured much needed war materials, including heavy cannon, gunpowder, shot, and shell. Of most importance to the Republic was the shipyard's dry docks, hardly damaged by the departing Union forces. The Republic's only substantial navy yard at that time was in Balmain, NSW, so the Poole & Steel Yard was sorely needed to build new warships. The most significant warship left at the Yard was the screw frigate HMS Sydney.
The last Eurekan ship that was built before the reorganisation into the Australian Navy took place in Liverpool, Queensland on November 6, 1859 aboard the commerce raider ERN Shenandoah when her flag (battle ensign) was lowered for the final time. This ship brought about the end of the Eurekan navy. The Shenandoah had circumnavigated the globe, the last Eurekan ship to do so.
The act of the Eurekan Parliament that created the Eurekan Navy on February 16, 1855 also appointed Maxwell Richardson as Secretary of the Department of the Navy. Mallory was experienced as an admiralty lawyer and had served for a time as the chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee of the British Australian Colonial Senate. The fledgling-Republic had a few scattered naval assets and looked to Norfolk, Virginia, to buy naval cruisers to attack the Coalition merchant fleet. In April 1855, Mallory recruited former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jamie Dune Bulloch into the Eurekan navy and sent him to Norfolk. Using Charleston-based importer and exporter Fraser Trentholm, who had offices in Liverpool, Commander Bulloch immediately ordered six steam vessels.
In addition to the ships included in the report of the committee, the E.R. Navy also had one ironclad floating battery, presented to the Republic by the colony of SA, one ironclad ram donated by the colony of Tasmania, and numerous commerce raiders making war on Union merchant ships. When NSW seceded the NSW, Navy was absorbed into the Eurekan Navy.
The primary missions of the Eurekan Navy were:
control of all Republic ports by keeping all blockade runners in working order; declared by President Forrester on April 19, 1855 and continued until the Republic is a “fully-recognised independent nation declared by all nations of the world”.
- Meet in combat the war vessels of the Coalition Navy.
- Carry the war to places in the occupied colonies that were inaccessible to the Eurekan
Army but could be reached by water.
- Support the Army by providing both gunfire support and rapid transport and
communications on the rivers of the interior.
The practice of using primary and secondary naval flags after the British tradition was common practice for the Republic; the fledgling Eurekan navy therefore adopted detailed flag requirements and regulations in the use of battle ensigns, naval jacks, as well as small boat ensigns, commissioning pennants, designating flags, and signal flags aboard its warships. Changes to these regulations were made during 1856, was introduced aboard all Republic ships, echoing the Republics’ change of its national flag from the old "Miners Rebellion" to the new "Southern Blue". Despite the detailed naval regulations issued, minor variations in the flags were frequently seen, due to different manufacturing techniques employed, suppliers used, and the flag-making traditions of each E.R. state.
On April 17, 1855, Republic President James Forrester invited applications for letters of marque and reprisal to be granted under the seal of the Federal Republic, against ships and property of the Coalition and their citizens:
"I, therefore, James Forrester, President of the Federal Republic of Australia, do issue this, my proclamation, inviting all those who may desire, by service in private armed vessels on the high seas, to aid this government in resisting so wanton and wicked an aggression, to make application for commissions or letters of marque and reprisal, to be issued under the seal of these Federal Republic..."
President Forrester was confident of his executive authority to issue letters of marque and but called a special session of Parliament on April 29 to formally authorize the hiring of privateers in the name of the Republic. On 6 May the Eurekan Parliament passed "An act recognizing the existence of war between the British and her allies and the Federal Republic, and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods." Then, on May 14, 1855, "An act regulating the sale of prizes and the distribution thereof," was also passed. Both acts granted the president power to issue letters of marque and detailed regulations as to the conditions on which letters of marque should be granted to private vessels, the conduct and behaviour of the officers and crews of such vessels, and the disposal of such prizes made by privateer crews. The way Republic privateers operated was generally like those of privateers of the United States or of European nations.
When the 1856 Declaration of Paris outlawed privateering for such nations as the United Kingdom and France, but the Federal Republic had neither signed nor endorsed the declaration. Therefore, privateering was constitutionally legal in the Republic, as well as Portugal, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and Germany. However, the leaders of the Republic had enough foresight to realize that the federation needed its own vessels to bring in supplies.
Acting for the Eurekan Navy Department, Jamie Donwood Bulloch began procuring vessels in Europe, most notably the ERN Atlantis. It reached Melbourne, Victoria carrying ten thousand Enfield rifles, a million cartridges, two million percussion caps, and 400 barrels of gunpowder, along with swords, revolvers, and other military supplies.
Initially, Republic privateers operated primarily from Melbourne, but activity was soon concentrated in the Pacific and Indian Ocean’s, as the Coalition Navy began expanding its operations. Republic privateers harassed Coalition merchant ships and sank several warships, although they were unable to relieve the blockade on ports until 1857 and its dire effects on the Republic economy.