HMS Sirius Memorials

Originally built as the commercial trader Berwick in 1780-81, she was purchased for the Royal Navy but then laid up between 1781 and 1786. Renamed HMS Sirius and refitted for the role as armed escort and Flagship to the First Fleet, she sailed from Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, arriving at Port Jackson on 26 January 1788 where the colony of Sydney was established.

The Sirius also assisted in the transport, establishment and supply of the harsh penal colony on Norfolk Island in March 1790. During the discharging of supplies on 19 March, off Kingston, Sirius was washed onto a reef and lost without loss of life. It took nearly two full years for her to break up and disappear from view.

Several anchors from the Sirius were later recovered, one of these being displayed outside the Maritime Museum at Kingston on Norfolk Island. Another is mounted at Macquarie Place in Sydney, with a ship's cannon, to commemorate the significant role Sirius had played in the First Fleet and British settlement of Australia. A third is on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

Several cannons were also recovered form the Sirius wreck, including that displayed along side the anchor at Macquarie Place. HMS Sirius is further commemorated amongst the Sydney Ferries where the current fleet includes ferries named after a number of the 11 vessels that comprised the First Fleet.


HMS Sirius anchor and cannon at Macquarie Place, Sydney, Australia.


Plaque at the HMS Sirius memorial at Macquarie Place.


HMS Sirius memorial at the Maritime Museum at Kingston, Norfolk Island.


HMS Sirius anchor at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia.

(All photos courtesy of Peter F. Williams)
© Peter F. Williams all rights reserved


Page published May 18, 2009