HMCS SPITFIRE, (ketch), was launched in Cuthbert’s shipyard, Sydney. The vessel was described at the time as 65 tons displacement, 51 ft long, 16 ft 6 in beam, ketch rigged, and armed with a single 32-pound swivel gun on a traversing carriage. The Empire newspaper reported: ‘SPITFIRE they named her, and one would like to know why the Governor stayed away from her launching’. Despite the newspaper’s lack of confidence the vessel served the colony well, voyaging as far as northern Queensland on Government business. SPITFIRE was not the first warship built in Australia, but she was the first built for Australia’s defence.
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