Australia’s most important shipwreck collection, the HMS Sirius is being moved to a different location, a new museum that is going to celebrate the story of the flagship and those of the First Fleet to which it belongs. The new museum at the World Heritage Listed Kingston on Norfolk Island is located at a place where the shipwreck occurred in 1790.
Nearly 200 years later, archaeological expeditions done at the site between 1983 and 2002 brought to light more than 3000 artifacts belonging to HMS Sirius and formed the largest shipwreck collection in Australia. Items from the largest shipwreck collection related to the HMS Sirius in Australia include a 1.7 ton anchor, carronades, a pantograph and a sextant. Also included are several parts from the ship’s construction, coins dating back to the period, a pair of soldier’s shoulder plates, buttons and several items of interest which belongs to officer’s cabin on the ship.
The new museum dedicated to the Sirius shipwreck will be a meeting ground of the thousands of descendants that can trace their ancestors back to the HMS Sirius and the other 10 ships that were part of the First Fleet. The Fleet was on a voyage which ended at the Botany Bay on the 26th of January 1788. As a part of the museum a First Fleet Wall will also be erected where the descendants of the sailors who were part of this fleet can pay their respects and place a disc inscribed in the name of their ancestor. They can also sign the descendant’s book to leave their mark.
Norfolk Island is one of the oldest settlements in Australia for the British. It was inhabited within weeks of Sydney in March 1788. It is a pity that the importance of Norfolk in Australia’s British settlement is today largely forgotten. In fact it had a critical role to play for the survival of the population in Port Jackson which had the same population as Norfolk Island and continued to be supported by the crops produced here.
March 19 1790 saw the catastrophical events that led to the wreck of the flagship HMS Sirius of the First Fleet. It had a rippling effect on the survivality of the settlement at Norfolk. Their very existence was delicately placed on the ship and it’s destruction caused dismay of massive proportions.
The new Sirius museum will be opened for public in December 2012. The Norfolk museum has three other attractions for the public to enjoy as well. These are Norfolk’s Polynesian, two penal and the current Pitcairn Islander settlements.