South Australia established its navy in 1884. Her Majesty’s Colonial Ship Protector sailed into Semaphore to overwhelming public support. Colonial leaders had sought a warship for twenty years to protect their coasts, support the British Empire and to declare the colony’s coming of age.
Protector guarded the coast, hosted vice-regal soirees, rescued and escorted seafarers and trained sailors for the navy. The ship’s great chance came in 1900 when Protector sailed for China to help the British Empire quell the Boxer Rebellion. The ship later served the Royal Australian Navy in the First World War.
Action Stations explores the roles that South Australians have played in the colonial navy and the Royal Australian Navy through the First and Second World Wars and the Vietnam War. It looks beyond major events to the personal experiences and the insights of the seafarers who served in these conflicts.