The HMS Sirius was the flag ship of the First Fleet. This frigate, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, led a fleet of 11 ships carrying 1350 convicts, sailors and other passengers, to establish the first European settlement in New South Wales. The fleet left England on 13 May 1787 and after a monumental journey taking eight months to complete the fleet arrived in Botany Bay between 18-20 January 1788. Two years later, when the fledgling colony of New South Wales was struggling to support itself, the HMS Sirius and the HMS Supply were sent on a special voyage to transport marines and convicts to Norfolk Island to lessen the burden on the new settlement. It was here that the Sirius foundered when it struck a reef off Sydney Bay (Kingston) on Norfolk Island and was finally wrecked on the 19th March 1790.
In January 1791 Capt. John Hunter decided to attempt to salvage the ship’s guns. He had previously avoided this task out of concern that the gun deck would collapse upon the orlop and lower decks, preventing access to cables and stores. With the exception of two carronades that had fallen overboard when the masts were cut down, all the guns were hauled ashore with their carriages.
One of the cannons salvaged was returned to Sydney and used as a signal gun at South Head. In 1907 the Sirius cannon was installed at Macquarie Place to mark the place where the British flag was first hoisted and eastern Australia was claimed for Great Britain on the 26 January 1788.
The Sirius cannon and its carriage was restored by the Australian National Maritime Museum and the City of Sydney as part of a Public Art program to maintain and preserve the City’s artworks and historical monuments. The cannon is now a public monument located in Macquarie Place, Sydney.
The HMS Sirius Deck Cannon is a great short term project. This ship model kit comes complete with all fittings and timber as well as easy to follow step by step English instructions supported by extensive colour photographs.