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Stand for model HMS SIRIUS

Date: 1988
Overall: 110 × 900 × 230 mm
Medium: Wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mosman Municipal Council
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Model stand
Object No: 00054590
Related Place:Mosmans Bay, Gosford, Mosman,

User Terms

    Built originally as a merchant vessel, the BERWICK was purchased by the Admiralty in 1786 and renamed SIRIUS. As this model suggests, SIRIUS was built with a large carrying capacity, and from all accounts was an indifferent sailor. In 1789 the vessel was repaired in what is now Mosman Bay, and this model was displayed in the Mosman Council offices for many years until donated to the Australian National Maritime Museum in 2015.
    SignificanceThe model is significant as a representation of the flagship of the First Fleet, the principal vessel associated with the European settlement of Australia, and its first governor Arthur Phillip.
    HistoryThe 510-ton ship BERWICK was completed in 1781, and purchased by the Admiralty later that year for use as a store ship. Laid up for five years, the ship was finally recommissioned in 1786 and renamed SIRIUS.

    The SIRIUS sailed from Spithead, England as an escort vessel with the First Fleet on 13 May 1787, beginning the eight month journey with warm weather and favorable winds. As the convoy of 11 ships sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, they encountered the wet and violent weather conditions of the roaring forties. The fleet sailed into several more storms before finally arriving at Botany Bay in NSW on 20 January, 1788. Even the short voyage to Port Jackson saw the fleet battle headwinds and rough seas.

    On 26 January 1788, the fleet finally anchored at Sydney Cove. SIRIUS and SUPPLY remained in the new colony to maintain communication between England. Toward the end of 1788, the colony at Port Jackson was struggling to grow European crops, and was in urgent need of supplies. On 2 October Govenor Phillip sent SIRIUS to Cape Town for provisions, arriving at the Cape of Good Hope in January 1789 where Captain Hunter bought flour and other supplies. SIRIUS returned to Port Jackson on 8 May 1789 having sailed completely around the world in just over seven months. While the supplies offered a temporary respite, the settlement still required a sustainable food supply.

    After repairs, SIRIUS and SUPPLY sailed for Norfolk Island on 5 March 1790. The second British settlement in the Pacific, Norfolk Island was an important base for the colony of Port Jackson. It was believed that the fertile island would be better suited to European crops. On 13 March, SIRIUS and SUPPLY arrived off the northern side of the island, and unloaded the convicts and marines. Bad weather forced the ships to leave the island prematurely, and when they finally returned on 19 March they anchored in Sydney Bay at the south of the island.

    It was while unloading the remaining stores that SIRIUS was wrecked on the reef at Kingston.

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