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PEARL 3 class cruisers (9, 1891 - 1892)


Katoomba 1890s


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Katoomba (ex-Pandora)   542 Armstrong, Elswick 15.8.1888 27.8.1889 24.3.1891 sold for BU 7.1906
Tauranga (ex-Phoenix)   243 Thomson, Clydebank 20.8.1888 28.10.1889 6.1891 sold for BU 7.1906
Mildura (ex-Pelorus)   543 Armstrong, Elswick 15.8.1888 25.11.1889 18.3.1891 sold for BU 4.1906
Ringarooma (ex-Psyche)   244 Thomson, Clydebank 20.8.1888 10.12.1889 3.2.1891 sold for BU 5.1906
Wallaroo (ex-Persian) N82, N6A 544 Armstrong, Elswick 15.8.1888 5.2.1890 31.3.1891 harbour service 1906, guardship 11.1914, sold 2.1920
Pallas     Portsmouth DYd 1.7.1889 30.6.1890 7.1891 sold 7.1906
Phoebe     Devonport DYd 23.4.1889 1.7.1890 3.1892 sold for BU 7.1906
Pearl   224 Pembroke DYd 1.4.1889 28.7.1890 10.1892 sold for BU 7.1906
Philomel (1914- RNZN)     Devonport DYd 9.5.1889 28.8.1890 10.11.1891 depot ship 3.1921

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t 
Length, m

80.8 pp 84.7 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 3-cyl VTE, 4 double-ended cylindrical boilers

Power, h. p.

Katoomba, Tauranga, Mildura, Ringarooma, Wallaroo: natural draught 4000, forced draught 7500

Pallas, Phoebe, Pearl, Philomel: natural draught 4500, forced draught 7500

Max speed, kts

Katoomba, Tauranga, Mildura, Ringarooma, Wallaroo: natural draught 17, forced draught 19

Pallas, Phoebe, Pearl, Philomel: natural draught 17.5, forced draught 19

Fuel, t


Endurance, nm(kts) 
Armour, mmsteel; deck: 51-25, gunshields: 51, CT: 76

8 x 1 - 120/40 QF Mk I/II/III/IV, 8 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 x 1 - 11.4/78, 2 - 356 TT (1 bow, 1 aft, aw), 2 - 356 TC



Standard scale images

<i>Philomel </i>1891
Philomel 1891


<i>Katoomba </i>1890s
Katoomba 1890s

Project history

Five of this class were provided under the terms of the Imperial Defence Act of 1887 and were paid for by Australia on the understanding that they were to be stationed in Australian waters. They were, however, manned by the Royal Navy and remained under Admiralty control. They were all originally given 'P' names but were allotted new names of Australian origin 2.4.1890. In design they were modified versions of the Medea with the same dimensions and protection but reduced engine power and a main armament of eight 120mm QF instead of six 152mm BL guns. A further four were ordered by the Admiralty under the Naval Defence Act of 1889 but these differed from the Australian group in having the nominal power of the machinery raised from 4000 to 4500ihp for a 0.5kt improvement in speed although forced draught power was retained at 7500ihp in an attempt lo avoid boiler troubles. Their machinery power and speed dropped off after a few years' service although this was of course more marked in the Australian ships.     The main guns were disposed as in the Medea except that two were mounted on each side of the upper deck instead of one. All the 47mm QF guns were mounted on the upper deck with four in the waist and two each at bow and stern firing through embrasured ports. They had a fixed TT at the stem and stern and two TCs abreast the mainmast, all being carried at upper deck level. The Australian ships had fidded topmasts while the remainder had single pole masts. They were originally classified as second class cruisers but were re-rated prior to completion.

Ship protection

Protective deck extended to the full length of the ships, being 25mm on the flat and 51mm on the slope amidships and uniform 25mm at the ends.



Naval service

Philomel was transferred to the New Zealand Government in 1914, became a base ship in March 1921, was sold as hulk in January 1947 and was scuttled off New Zealand 6.8.1949. Wallaroo was reduced to harbour service in 1906, renamed Wallington 5.3.1919 and sold to BU in February 1920.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.