Duke of Edinburgh about 1867

In 1858 Alfred (1844-1900), the second son of Queen Victoria, joined the navy as a midshipman. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1863 and three years later, in 1866, gained the rank of captain, appointed to command the steam frigate HMS Galatea. In the same year Alfred was made Duke of Edinburgh in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The Galatea sailed for the Mediterranean in February 1867 and then to Brazil on June 12 for a state visit to the emperor of Brazil. After two months at the Cape, the Galatea arrived at Adelaide on 31 October 1867 and commenced a royal tour of Australia. The Galatea visited Melbourne, Tasmania, Sydney and Brisbane.

On the Galatea were two of my relatives from two different branches of my family tree: Sub-lieutenant Guy Mainwaring (1847-1909) and Midshipman Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny (1850-1912). When the ship arrived in Adelaide, she had 540 men aboard: 42 officers of all ranks, 46 boys, 70 marines and 382 blue jackets.1

The Royal navy frigate HMS Galatea sits moored in Farm Cove 1868. Picture: Daniel Solander Library at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. retrieved from http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au

The Galatea fielded a cricket team and Philip de Crespigny played with them in Adelaide on 8 November 1867 against the members of the South Australian Cricket Club. The South Australians won the game but the commentary favourably noted de Crespigny’s bowling and batting.2

In March 1869 the men of the Galatea, including Philip de Crespigny, played against a team of Aboriginal cricketers. The game was over two days and was a draw with the Aboriginal team scoring 331 for 9 wickets against 293 with the loss of five wickets.3

Three masted sailing ship H.M.S. Galatea, ca. 1868 from the Archer Family Photograph Album now in the collection of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10462/deriv/39932

Mainwaring did not play cricket but did perform in the Galatea‘s theatrical entertainment. For example when the Galatea was due to depart Sydney in March 1869, Lieutenant Mainwaring appeared as Gimlet in a comedy performed for several hundred guests. The Sydney Morning Herald reported it as a “highly creditable performance”.4 He also appeared as the Ancient Mariner.5

A fellow officer, Lord Charles Beresford, danced the hornpipe. Later in the voyage while in Hong Kong, Guy Mainwaring and Charles Beresford were photographed together in costume. (This is the Charles Beresford who as Admiral became notorious for his bitter dispute with Sir John (Jackie) Fisher, First Sea Lord. )


Lord Charles Beresford and Guy Mainwaring, photographed in Hong Kong in 1869 while serving on HMS Galatea retrieved from the Library of Nineteenth Century Photography . Looking at other photographs of Beresford, it would seem that the bearded man is Guy Mainwaring.


Guy Mainwaring was my third great grand uncle. Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny was my fourth cousin three times removed.

Guy Mainwaring retired from the Royal Navy with the rank of captain in 1895.

Philip was promoted to Lieutenant on 8 August 1874. As late as 1903 he appeared in the Navy List still with the rank of lieutenant but on part pay. He played first class cricket in England and his obituary in Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack mentioned that he played played for Hampshire v. Somerset at Bournemouth in 1880, scoring 2 and 3. It also mentions that he was on the Galatea.

The Royal visit was extensively reported. There are over 6,000 newspaper articles currently on the National Library of Australia’s digitised newspaper collection at http://trove.nla.gov.au which mention the visit of the Galatea and the Duke of Edinburgh in the late 1860s.


1. H.M.S.S. GALATEA. (1867, October 31). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 2. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39180042
2. DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S VISIT TO ADELAIDE.—The Cricket match. (1867, November 26). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875), p. 10. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60819944
3. CRICKET. (1869, March 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5817582
4. THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH IN SYDNEY. (1869, April 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved July 13, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13179267
5. THE GALATEA FETE. (1869, April 15). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), p. 3. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63514477