Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HMS Sirius Website and the Australian Historic Shipwreck Data Base

HMS Sirius Website and the Australian Historic Shipwreck Data Base
Our HMS Sirius website has a new look, actually it has just been updated to have the same ‘new look’ that you can see presented in our HMS Sirius museum.  Once again we are thankful for the wonderful talents of designer, artist, girl of many talents, Haylee Fieldes.
The Home page states the HMS Sirius is Australia’s most important shipwreck. In 1787 she was the lead ship for the First Fleet of eleven ships setting out from Britain on the voyage to establish the first settlement in Australia. They landed at Botany Bay on the 18th January 1788 and soon after established the settlement at Port Jackson.

Within a few weeks of their arrival at Botany Bay, a small group of convicts under the command of Philip Gidley King had set sail to establish another settlement at Norfolk Island, a rocky outcrop 1,500 kilometres north east of Port Jackson. 

It was on this small isolated island that HMS Sirius was lost on March 19, 1790. Her shipwrecking caused great distress to both settlements clinging to life, never far from starvation.

The story of the life and wrecking of HMS Sirius is only one half of her tale. The other is the story that she left lying for close to 200 years on the seafloor, on the reef at Norfolk Island. The recovery of her artefacts over the past 25 years in particular, have revealed much to us. We now have more answers to the story of the circumstances of British settlement in Australia, the Sirius’ construction as a Baltic trader, and the perilous state of the fledgling settlements when she was lost.

Today, the HMS Sirius artefacts are mostly all housed in the Norfolk Island Museum. They comprise the most significant display of First Fleet cultural heritage held anywhere in Australia or its territories. 
The website is user friendly with easy to follow drop down tabs, guiding you further to reveal the story of the HMS Sirius, the recovery of her artefacts, the legal instruments that protect the wreck site, the artefacts, a gallery of images, our bookshop and a page for news items. Maybe you have some Sirius news we could feature on this page?
The HMS Sirius story is also featured on the Australian Government Department of Environment website www.environment.gov.au.  Click on the topic, heritage and historic shipwrecks tabs to take you to the Australian national shipwreck database (ANSDB).  We are in the progress of populating this database to include not just the HMS Sirius story, but all known shipwrecks around Norfolk Island. Features of the ANSDB include fields of information about the vessels, images, links to shipwreck relics recovered from sites, site environment information for divers and site managers and a history field with the ability to attach documents that include names of passengers and crew.
Also included in this website is a system to facilitate the registration of shipwreck material. The Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 requires all owners of shipwreck material older than 75 years to register their objects.  Registration simply records the details of your shipwreck material and in no way interferes with your ownership. Please contact us at the Norfolk Island Museum to register your objects. Or if you have any information, historical or contemporary images that you wish to contribute towards any of these websites.
Visit our HMS Sirius website at www.hmssirius.com.au
Janelle Blucher

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