The day 45 Australians rowed off to fight those Yankees

THE American Civil War sailed to Australia in 1865 when the notorious Confederate raider Shenandoah limped in for repairs, eluding Union ships that had been pursuing it much further north.

There was no colonial navy to challenge it, and the ship’s dubious visit to the colony would later cost the British dearly and hasten the push for a naval force at Port Melbourne.

Many Melburnians were sympathetic to the rebels’ cause, and their captain and crew quickly became the toast of the town as they waited for repairs to the ship’s propeller shaft.

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