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Australia - Voyage of H.M.S. Victor, 1836

Boxwood and cord, tagged with the visiting card of Vice-Admiral Crozier inscribed, ‘Model of a jury main yard made on board H.M.S. Victor captained by Richard Crozier, Friday 29th July 1836 to replace the one carried away in a heavy squall on her voyage from the Cocos Islands to Cape Leeuwin, Australia. It was swayed across the main sail bent & a trebled  reefe’d main: topsail sheeted main: home within five hours. This jury main yard was made from a Topsail & Top gallant yard. Four Topmast studding sail booms.  Two boats masts & twenty wedges.’

H.M.S. Victor was a Cruizer-class 16-gun brig sloop built for the Royal Navy at Bombay and launched in 1814. She spent much of her early career engaged in anti-slavery operations against the Portuguese. In January 1835 she departed Portsmouth for India, and thence sailed to New South Wales and into the storm which carried away her main yard. With the aid of the jury main yard built as per the present model Crozier made landfall on 4 August 1836. Sailing from Sydney to the Swan River Colony the following year, Crozier anchored just off Granite Island and named the sheltered waters in its lee 'Victor Harbor' after his ship. A whaling settlement was established and the town of Port Victor was laid out on the shores of Victor Harbor in 1863. H.M.S. Victor foundered between Vera Cruz and Halifax with the loss of all lost hands in 1842.

Vice-Admiral Richard Crozier R.N. (b.1803) was scion of a naval family and the grandson of the Captain Sir Richard Pearson R.N., who famously fought an American squadron of twice his force under John Paul Jones, in a North Sea fight in 1799. Crozier entered the Navy in 1813 as a First Class Volunteer in H.M.S. Benbow (74) commanded by his uncle. In 1817-19, he attended the Royal Naval College, before serving on the North American, Mediterranean and Home stations as a Midshipman. Commissioned in 1823, he was Lieutenant of the frigate H.M.S. Lively in Lisbon during the attempted overthrow of King John VI of Portugal (1767-1826) by his younger son Dom Miguel in April 1824. As a mark of gratitude the King rewarded Crozier with his rare portrait reward medal of 1824. Crozier was further created a Military Knight of the Portuguese Order of the Tower & Sword. Promoted Commander in 1827, he was Second Captain of the flagship Prince Regent (120-guns) in 1831, and was appointed in 1834, to the gun-brig H.M.S. Victor. Over the course of the next four years, Crozier cruised against the pirates in the Straits of Malacca, and visited Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the South Pacific. He became Post Captain in 1839. He married the same year, Julia, fourth daughter of George Stone, of Chislehurst, Kent, and settled at West Hill on the Isle of Wight.

© The Armoury of St James's 17 Piccadilly Arcade London SW1Y 6NH