The Supply was a small armed tender that sailed with the First Fleet and played an important part in the foundation of Australia. Built in 1759 the Supply was 175 tons, 70ft (21m) long and 26ft (8 m) wide. As a small Royal Navy ship based in Portsmouth she carried naval stores between the different naval yards on the Thames and Channel ports for 27 years.
When it was decided to establish a penal colony in New South Wales the Royal Navy had difficulty in finding a suitable ship to be a tender for the flag ship HMS Sirius for the long and hazardous journey to New South Wales. Several ships were considered but were not seen as suitable for the journey. A French store ship, the Eclipse had been damaged when it ran ashore; and an American ship, the Rattlesnake was not of suitable quality. The Navy purchased the British made Grantham, a packet boat, used for the quick transport of mail. When it was partly taken apart for repairs, the Navy decided it needed so much work, that it would cost too much to repair or rebuild it.
The Royal Navy then selected the Supply which was refitted as an armed tender. Her primary role as a ship of the First Fleet was to support the First Fleet flag ship HMS Sirius (1786). The First Fleet carried the convicts and soldiers to New South Wales to establish a penal colony. The ships left England in May 1787 and arrived in New South Wales in January 1788. This was the start of European settlement of Australia.
HMS Supply was the oldest, smallest and fastest of the First Fleet ships. She was a brig rigged sloop. A sloop is a small ship with a single gun deck. A brig rig means the ship had two masts and carried square sails. She had eight small three pounder guns and carried 50 men.
She left Spithead on 13 May 1787, and arrived at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788 with the First Fleet under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip (who had transferred from the HMS Sirius at Cape Town). She was captained by Henry Lidgbird Ball and the surgeon was James Callam. Supply was the first ship to sail into Port Jackson after the original Botany Bay landing was found unsuitable for settlement.
After the establishment of the initial settlement at Port Jackson, Supply was the link between the colony and Norfolk Island, making 10 trips. Following the loss of Sirius in March 1790 at Norfolk Island Supply became the colony’s only link with the outside world. On 17 April 1790 she was sent to Batavia for supplies, returning on 19 September, having chartered a Dutch vessel, the Waaksamheid, to follow with more stores.
HMS Supply left Port Jackson on 26 November 1791 and sailed via Cape Horn reaching Plymouth on 21 April 1792. She was sold at auction in July 1792. She was renamed Thomas and Nancy, and carried coal in the Thames area until 1806.
Modellers Shipyard ship model kit of the HMS Supply comes with quality timbers, parts & fittings. Also available is a 4 DVD set which has 5 hours of expert narration and demonstration on building the model – everything from opening the box to putting the finishing touches to the rigging.
Modellers Shipyard offer historically accurate Wooden Model Ship Kits and Wooden Model Boat kits which are faithful interpretations of the original vessels. The comprehensive instructional DVDs, plans and highly detailed English instructions will assist you throughout the whole construction process. The ship model kit is double plank on bulkhead construction and all parts and timbers are the highest quality. A display cradle comes with the kit. Display board & pedestals not included.