Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Wreck of HMS SIRIUS - Norfolk Island 1788

In 1788, soon after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Town, a settlement was planned for Norfolk Island. But the arrival of HMS SIRIUS was a disaster.

HMS SIRIUS: Wrecked 19 March 1790 - Norfolk Island.
She was a 512 ton naval frigate armed with 14 x 6lb cannon, 6 x 18lb carronades and 8 swivel guns. 

Having sailed from Britain to Botany Bay as flagship of the First Fleet, HMS SIRIUS was sent on to Norfolk Island with convicts, settlers and supplies. With no natural harbour, and the island surrounded by reefs, the ship attempted to remain in deep water but was blown onto the outer reef and eventually pushed into the channel running between the two.
While the sea here appears fairly calm, it is possible to see the breakers on the two reefs which run parallel. It was here that the SIRIUS met her fate.
While no one was lost and many of the stores were rescued, the ship could not be floated off and eventually succumbed to the treacherous waves and currents bombarding the island.
The SIRIUS Museum is located a stone's throw from where the ship was wrecked.
In 1905, divers recovered the first anchor (now in Sydney) and during the century to follow, thousands of other artefacts, including another bower anchor, cannon and carronades were recovered from the seabed.

These were all heavily encrusted in coral.
Today, the ‘Sirius’ Museum is located a little over 100 yards from where the ship foundered. The museum presentation is remarkable.
Other items possibly still remain between the reefs.

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