Cruise of the Gayundah.
The Queensland gunboat Gayundah returned to Brisbane on Sunday after a most successful visit of inspection to the forts and brigades of the Northern ports of Queensland. The Gayundah left Brisbane on the 18th June last for the purpose of drilling and inspecting the brigades in the coast towns of the colony, as well as to drill the ship’s company. After target practice off Bustard Head the vessel went into Gladstone, and on to Rockhampton, where boat races took place between crews of the ship’s company, the local corps being instructed in gun drill and other exercises. From Rockhampton the Gayundah proceeded to Cooktown, and after having made a thorough inspection of the brigade there, proceeded without loss of time to Thursday Island, arriving there on the same day that the Dorunda had gone on Cook’s Reef. Assistance was offered, but was not availed of, as it was considered unnecessary. The gunboat stayed at Thursday Island for a week, during which time the new corps there were drilled and instructed in naval matters in general, and the fortifications there were subjected to a close inspection by Captain Taylor.
On the return from Thursday Island H.M.S. Paluma, engaged in surveying work, was met with, and Captain Taylor communicated with her from Bird Island. Cairns was the next port of call. At this port the brigades were subjected to the usual inspection and drill, and the ship’s company went through a course of rifle-firing at range. Captain Taylor is very favourably impressed with Cairns Harbour, and has no hesitation in declaring it in his opinion to be the finest naval anchorage on the Australian coast. He was particularly struck with the natural seclusion and safety afforded by the inlet. From Palm Island the men went through a course of firing with heavy guns at targets, and when off Bustard Heads the Nordenfelt machine-guns were used for the instruction of the crew.
At Townsville the ship’s company completed their long course of rifle-shooting at the ranges, after which the vessel steamed for Bundaberg. On arrival at this latter port the usual drills were gone through, as was the case at every port of call.
Fine weather was experienced throughout the nine weeks’ absence of the gunboat from Brisbane, during which time a distance of 2840 miles was steamed. At each port the arrival of the vessel was anxiously looked forward to by the townspeople, and when the boat did arrive much interest was manifested in its movements and fittings. The captain also speaks in the highest terms of the cordiality shown by the people to the officers and men while in the several ports at which calls were made.
On the whole the trip has been a most successful one from every point of view, and the vessel has returned to Brisbane with her machinery in perfect order, besides which her men are in an efficient state after the course of drill through which they have passed during their absence from this port.
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939) Sat 27 Aug 1892 Page 390