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Fragments of sternpost of HMS BOUNTY wrecked at Pitcairn island in 1789

Date: c 1789
Medium: Wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Pieter Schoe
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Ship relic
Object No: 00006437

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    Description
    Fragments of sternpost of HMS BOUNTY, wrecked at Pitcairn Island in 1789.
    SignificanceThe mutiny on board HMT BOUNTY led by Fletcher Christian against Captain Bligh on 28 April 1789, ranks as one of the most publicly well known and notorious events in the history of the Royal Navy. This event, its consequences and the subsequent life of the mutineers and their descendants, generated worldwide interest and has very much become part of Australian folklore.
    HistoryThe ship BOUNTY was sent from England to Tahiti in 1787 under the command of Lieutenant William Bligh. The ship was to collect breadfruit trees for transportation to the West Indies. It arrived at Tahiti in October 1788 where it anchored at Matavai Bay remaining at Tahiti until April 1789.

    Twenty-four days after leaving Tahiti part of the crew under the leadership of Fletcher Christian mutinied. Captain Bligh and 18 loyalists were placed in the BOUNTY's launch and set adrift. Bligh - in an incredible feat of seamanship - ultimately sailed the boat to Timor and raised the alarm.

    After the mutiny Fletcher Christian and the mutineers sailed first to Tubuai then Tahiti. The mutineers intended establishing a settlement at Tubuai. However, when this failed Christian returned to Tahiti where the majority of the mutineers disembarked. Christian with eight other mutineers and a group of Polynesians then left to search for an uninhabited island where they could establish a settlement. They ultimately settled at Pitcairn's Island. Despite several massacres which claimed the lives of most of the men, the tiny settlement survived and was later discovered in 1808 by Captain Mayhew Folger of the American ship TOPAZ.

    Once news of the mutiny reached England the Admiralty despatched the 24-gun frigate HMS PANDORA to find the mutineers. The PANDORA arived at Tahiti in March 1791 where the crew arrested fourteen surviving mutineers. The PANDORA then sailed west searching for the BOUNTY. In August 1791 the PANDORA was wrecked attempting to enter the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia.

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