Friday, 13 October 2017

The Australian Colonial Navies: Tasmania

The only vessel used by the colonial navy of Tasmania was:

No. 191 (Torpedo boat):

  • 10 tons; 7 crew; 1 x Spar torpedo (replaced by dropping gear for 2 x 14-inch torpedoes in 1885)
  • In service from 1884 until 1900. A Nordenfelt Gun was supplied in 1885, but it is unclear if it was fitted. Transferred to South Australia in 1900.


  1. Dear Bob,

    How did the dropping gear work exactly? Best,Steve

    1. SteveAKAMe (Steve),

      There were several designs but basically they were a cradle (usually with two clamps) that held the torpedo parallel with the side of the torpedo boat. The torpedo boat would be pointed at the target, the torpedo’s engine would be started, and the cradle would be rotated through 180 degrees so that it was hanging over the side. When the boat’s captain wanted to let the torpedo go, the clamps were simultaneously opened, the torpedo dropped into the water, and it sped towards its target. Not the most accurate system in the world, but lighter and simpler than using a torpedo tube.

      All the best,


  2. Replies
    1. SteveAKAMe,

      It was a pleasure. If I can find a diagram or photograph of torpedo dropping gear, I'll write a detailed blog entry about how they worked.

      All the best,