Throughout 1899 the militant societies combined in a campaign of terror against westerners and westernised Chinese. By early 1900 this spread beyond the secret societies and western powers decided to intervene, partly to protect their nationals but mainly to counter the threat to their territorial and trade ambitions.
The Australian colonies of NSW and Victoria supported Britain with troops but the smaller colonies were hard pressed due to their commitments to the Boer War. However, South Australia sent its cruiser, HMCS Protector, as part of the Colonial naval forces. By the time the ship arrived, the Boxers had retreated from the coast abandoning the coastal forts. As a consequence Protector saw no action!
At the end of the nineteenth century growing Western influence in China caused a reaction from sections of the population for sundry reasons, not least was a fear of a loss of culture. This culminated in the formation of anti-European secret societies. One of the most violent was the Righteous and Harmonious Fists who gave their name to all vehement nationalists