…. gracious god what will become of us all … God that we will be able to save some if not all but why do I flatter myself with such hopes … there is at present no prospect of it except that of starving, what will become of the people that are on board for no boat can go alongside for the sea and here am I who has nothing more than what I stand in and not the smallest hope of my getting anything out of the ship for everybody expects that she will go to pieces when the tide comes in. .. Lt. Ralph Clark March 1790 Norfolk Island.
In 2015 historian Cathy Dunn wrote “that after writing and typing over 150,000 words and 280 pages I find myself at the keyboard once again, what more typing” ……. for this preface to HMS Sirius: Her Final Voyage, my fourth publication covering the 1st Settlement of Norfolk Island 1788 – 1814.
At the launch of my second Norfolk Island publication Rev. Fulton Baptisms, Burials and Marriages 1801–1806 held on Norfolk Island in Mar 2014, the question was raised, so what’s next??? The 225th anniversary of HMS Sirius shipwreck on Norfolk Island was just a year away, so the project on the people aboard HMS Sirius on her final voyage began. HMS Sirius was wrecked on 19 March 1790 in the waters of Sydney Bay now known as Slaughter Bay, Kingston on Norfolk Island.
Initial research was the collating of the names of the marines, free passengers, convicts and crew members of HMS Sirius voyage of the March 1790 voyage from HMS Sirius muster from the TNA, ADM 36/10978 and the various HMAT Supply and other ship’s musters recording the different voyages in which stranded HMS Sirius crew members, convicts and marines left the Island.
Then we completed the research and writing of the bibliography on all these people, including their life on Norfolk Island and their next generation, in addition to consulting journals, shipping records, victualling books, musters, land records and a large range of primary records related to Norfolk Island, NSW and Tasmania.
As part of the 230th Anniversary of the shipwreck of HMS Sirius on Norfolk Island held in Mar 2020 and with HMS Sirius: Her Final Voyage out of production, it was decided to collate the website www.hmssirius.com.au featuring articles on all the Ship’s voyage and individuals (but not the next generation as all is available in our publication HMS Sirius: Her Final Voyage). With all research from HMS Sirius: Her Final Voyage reviewed. In 2023 a revamp of the website is happening as part of the 235th Anniversary HMS Sirius Shipwreck Norfolk Island March 2024
We have worked in all media, from newspaper articles, radio, TV to social media. We are an experienced presenter/public speaker with TAFE, High Schools, Norfolk Island Research Centre, History conferences, University of Wollongong, Norfolk Island History Lover Tour and Family History groups. We hold a Master of History – University of New England (UNE), operating both Australian History Research and Heritage Tourism. As a professional and public historian, we are available to present talks and workshops on HMS Sirius, Norfolk Island Island First Settlement, Colonial NSW and other topics. We have produced numerous historical datasets for the University of New England and is currently working with the team on a digital heritage interpretation of the Norfolk Island ‘First Settlement’ period.
Article submissions are welcomed for inclusion on website. Contact Us
Cathy Dunn: August 2023.
- List of our historical Norfolk Island publications
- 235th Anniversary HMS Sirius Shipwreck Norfolk Island March 2024
- Facebook: HMS Sirius
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Disclaimer: Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation and undertaking of this research, due to fact that it is based in great parts on various primary records, which in some cases do not agree, it may or may not be 100% correct. Consequently, no responsibility can be taken for any errors or omissions that may have inadvertently crept in.