Challenger was laid down at Chatham Dockyard on 1 December 1900, and launched there on 27 May 1902, when she was named by Eva Holland, wife of Rear-Admiral S. C. Holland, Admiral-Superintendent of Chatham Dockyard. Commissioned on 30 May 1904, she commenced duty on the Australia Station. She was paid off into reserve on 10 October 1912 before recommissioning during the First World War. She initially served as part of the Ninth Cruiser Squadron off West Africa before serving in East African waters. She was sold in 1920 and was broken up for scrap.