disastrous wreck of the hms sirius on 19 march 1790

On this day, 19 March 1790 – 230 years ago – HMS Sirius was wrecked on a reef just off Norfolk Island, a ‘melancholy loss’ indeed for the crew, those on the island and for the new colony of New South Wales. Sirius had been the flag ship of the First Fleet, remaining, with the smaller Supply, when the other ships departed. Under Captain John Hunter, it had already saved the colony from starvation once by sailing to the Capte of Good Hope for additional provisions, and was on a second mission, this time to China. But first it was to transport 275 convicts and marines to tiny Norfolk Island, over 1500 kilometres away in the Pacific Oean, where a small settle ment had been established only six weeks after Syndey, in March 1788.

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