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150 years since the Russian naval corvette Boyarin call to Hobart

On May 25, 1870 the Imperial Russian Navy corvette Boyarin under command of Captain V.Serkov arrived in the Australian port of Hobart on its way from Kronstadt to the Far Eastern coast of Russia across the Atlantic, the Indian and the Pacific oceans.

The citizens of Hobart offered the Russian sailors a warm reception. The Russians were invited to a ball at the Governor’s house on the occasion of the Queen Victoria’s birthday. The Russian explorers had a sightseeing tour of Hobart city and than Hobartians were allowed to visit the Russian ship. The Mercury newspaper reported on May 30, 1870: “The Russian Imperial corvette Boyarin was thrown open yesterday afternoon for inspection by the general public, of whom about 2,000 embraced the opportunity, so rarely afforded, of inspecting the internal arrangements of a foreign man-of-war. The visitors were afforded free access to every part of the vessel, from the captain’s cabin to the forecastle, and men were stationed at the guns to show the mysteries of their construction to the uninitiated… It affords us much pleasure to be able to state that the officers and men of the Boyarin are highly pleased with the reception accorded them here…” The Mercury also noted that the officers were gallant and spoke English and French.

The Boyarin visited Hobart seeking medical assistance for the ship’s purser Grigory Belavin who had suddenly fell ill. Unfortunately, he died in hospital and was buried in Tasmania. His grave is located now on the territory of the Russian Orthodox Church in Hobart.

The corvette’s Captain presented two mortars to Hobart in return for the hospitality shown by the city. One of them can be found in the Australian Army Museum of Tasmania.

While the Boyarin was leaving the port, an Australian band on shore played the Russian national anthem and a Russian band on board played the royal anthem of Australia.

The visit of the Russian ship to Hobart will remain a bright page of the history of Russian-Australian ties symbolizing friendly relations between the peoples of the two countries.