Colonials campaign in China: An Australian bluejacket bringing supplies to his camp

Place Asia: China
Accession Number ART96127
Collection type Art
Measurement Sheet: 37.6 x 26.1 cm; Image: 13 x 23 cm
Object type Illustration
Physical description Photogravure on paper
Maker Whiting, Frederic
The Graphic
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1901
Conflict China, 1900-1901 (Boxer Uprising)

Item copyright: Unlicensed copyright


The Boxer Uprising was a series of violent civil disturbances that took place in China between 1899 and 1901. The Uprising was an attempt by armed Chinese secret societies to resist the growing foreign influence in China at the end of the 19th century. Among the most violent and popular of these societies was the I-ho-ch'uan (the Righteous and Harmonious Fists). Known as the "Boxers" by Europeans, the society gave the Boxer Rebellion its name. In early 1900 the uprising spread beyond secret societies, with foreign missionaries and civilians killed. Western powers intervened to protect their nationals and counter the threat to their territorial and trade ambitions. With the bulk of forces engaged in South Africa, naval contingents provided a pool of professional, full-time crews and reservist-volunteers. The British government sought and received permission from the Australian colonies to send two Australian squadron ships to China. In addition, the Victorian, New South Wales and South Australian governments sent men from their own naval forces. To their disappointment, the Australians arrived in China too late to see any significant fighting, and were instead given guard and police duties to restore civil order. This work relates to the Victorian naval contingent who served under Captain Frederick Tickell (1857-1919) in China. Tickell became the Commandant of the Victorian Naval Forces in 1897, a position he was to hold until 1904. Originally published in the illustrated newspaper The Graphic, the scene depicts a member of the Victorian Naval contingent involved in municipal work, with a rifle on his shoulder, walking across a landscape with Chinese men and a water buffalo.