Historical information

As the White Ensign was reserved entirely for the use of the Royal Navy, the Admiral decided to approve of a new ensign for the Victorian Navy and this was flown for the first time from Nelson on 9th March 1870. The new ensign was very similar to the present day national flag and incorporated the Union flag with five white stars on a blue field.


Following upon a series of ‘Russian scares’ in the 1870s, Nelson presumably by permission of the Admiralty, was converted into a fighting ship for the Victorian Navy; she was cut down to a single- decker, the fore and mizzen masts were removed, and the armament modified by the landing of several of the old muzzle-loaders and the addition of a number of new breech-loading guns. This conversion was carried out in the new drydock in 1881.

Physical description

A framed copy of an engraving entitled: 'Opening of the Graving Dock, Williamstown'.

Inscriptions & markings

Opening of the Graving Dock, Williamstown