OVERVIEW OF ARTEFACTS RECOVERED FROM THE WRECK SITE

The Sirius carried four bower anchors and two stern anchors. Three of the bower anchors were recovered and one now dominates the Norfolk Island Museum’s collections. Two others are in Australia and one is still on the reef in a badly damaged condition. The stream and kedge anchors from the stern are also on the reef in a damaged condition and not considered worth recovering.

During the wrecking, when she was stuck fast on the reef, the masts were deliberatley cut to lessen the pile-driving effect that they had on the keel. On falling, they knocked overboard two of the 18 pound carronades. These two were recovered by divers in 1983 and 1993 and are important to the overall collection of artefacts. All other cannons, carronades and swivel guns were rescued in the years between 1790 and 1792 and given to passing ships at that time. Samples of the ammunition are on display including 18 pound and 6 pound cannon balls, ½ pound balls that were used for grape shop and canister shot. Other items recovered that belonged to the gunner’s stores were parts of ramrod pipes, wrist escutcheons, gunflints, brass trigger guards and musket balls. These were all parts of the short land musket that were standard issue for the marines. Small lead and bird shot were also found but no fire arms relating to this smaller shot.

The ship carried iron ballast blocks. It was recorded that she had 215 on board when she was wrecked. Eleven have been brought up and stabilised, the remainder are still on the reef and, by now, would have been totally covered by the concretion formed by the limestone and coral deposits. Salt water has a very detrimental effect on ferrous material, quickly corroding it. The recovered pieces of iron artefacts from the anchors, carronades, ballast blocks and any object with an iron content have to be closely monitored.

The Sirius also carried flint pebbles as ballast; pieces of this still wash ashore after storms and, no doubt, there are still many tons out there in the channel, probably unrecognisable as the concretions have covered them.

Structural parts of the ship were recovered and are on display at the Museum. They are:

- A bronze “horse plate” that was used to fasten the bow of the ship to the keel
- Two bronze straps, probably used either side of the sternpost to fasten it to the keel
- A bronze spectacle plate, gudgeons, strap and pintle pins, all connected with the rudder assembly at the stern. The spectacle plate is the object that positively identifies the wreck as the Sirius, as cast into the band of the plate is the original name of the ship Berwick.
- Bronze keel staples of various shapes and sizes and used to fasten the false keel to the main keel.
- Bolts of brass, bronze and copper, copper clench bolts and rings. These were all used to hold togethervarious sections of the timber used for the keel.
- Bronze and copper pins, chain links and shackles and copper alloy rudder nails, screws and bolts.
- Copper alloy forged planking or skirting nails of various lengths, shank and head diameters of different types. These were used for fastening the lead sheathing that was used on certain sections of the hull instead of the more generally used copper.
- Nearly 4000 sheathing nails were recovered and found to be cast from arsenical bronze, which was inferior but adequate. These were probably from the ship’s stores.
- Two sections of a bronze pump chamber were found, including bronze and copper screw bolts that fitted perfectly into the screw holes.

Many items belonging to the victuals and store section of the ship were normal goods that would be found on any ship – apart from the nails and bolts previously mentioned, brass keg taps, spigots, glass shards attributed to square case bottles, wine bottle shards, ceramics, fragments of brown salt-glazed stoneware, pulley blocks, items of rigging. There were also personal possessions of the crew and passengers, surgeon’s supplies, fittings from the cabins, broken glass from cabin windows, pieces of glass from unidentified sections of the ship, timber pieces and unknown organic matter that could have been glue and horsehair.

It is not known how many nautical instruments were carried by the Sirius although there was a comprehensive list given to Captain Arthur Phillip who was the Commander of the First Fleet. It would appear that most of them were set up in an observatory in Sydney and eventually returned to England in October 1791. However, the important Kendal-made Marine Timekeeper was on board the Sirius and was one of the first articles to be rescued after the ship ran aground. This chronometer had been used by Captain Cook on this second voyage (1772 – 1775) and maintained excellent time. It was used again by Cook on his third voyage (1776 – 1780) but was found to need cleaning after this trip and was returned to the Royal Naval College at Greenwich in 1786. It was taken aboard the Sirius after being found to be performing satisfactorily and Arthur Phillip ordered that it be wound daily at noon in the presence of Captain Hunter. It was returned to Sydney in the Supply and finally to England and is today in the Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

During the next year, some goods were returned to Sydney but most were retained for use on the Island. Cannons and carronades were given to passing ships as, by this time, the wreck had been noted and it is assumed that some goods no longer needed would have been exchanged for more useful ones.

HMS Sirius — the artefacts
by Myra Stanbury

Department of Maritime Archaeology, Western Australian Museum, 47 Cliff Street, FREMANTLE WA 6160
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The location of the Sirius wreck site was well known from the time of the vessel's demise in March 1790. Contemporary paintings by William Bradley and George Raper survive to show the Sirius trapped on the reef off Kingston with rescue and salvage operations underway. Recovering provisions and valuable navigation equipment loaned from the Board of Longitude in London, such as the Kendall chronometer, were priorities. Then, when conditions allowed, heavier items such as the 6-pounder guns and carriages, stores, spare sails, hawsers, cables, cooking equipment — anything deemed to be of use, was gradually recovered and brought ashore.

Anchors were raised from the site in 1905 and 1973, and from time to time local divers recovered various objects, one of the most important being a bronze spectacle plate with the name Berwick clearly engraved. For the Sirius Project team this was proof that we were dealing with the wreck of the Sirius — formerly built on the Thames in London as the Baltic trader of that name. This find also dispelled earlier historical accounts that described the Sirius as an 'East Indiaman' rather than an 'East Country' (Baltic) trader.

A rare period of calm conditions in 1987 allowed the site to be thoroughly investigated and resulted in the recovery of a large collection of objects from the principal wreck site deposit. These included ship's fittings and fastenings; ornate brass furniture and cabin wall fittings, among them a finely engraved brass stove leg; small fragments of ceramic and glassware; parts of a sextant and pantograph; brass accoutrements for small firearms, such as ramrod pipes and escutcheons; gunflints and lead shot; and, a few personal items e.g. brass and pewter buttons, brass buckles and shoulder belt plates, and so on.

Amongst the Thames flint pebble ballast that was spread over the site was one of the most significant finds — an edge-ground stone hatchet head, analysed and found to be an Aboriginal tool originating from the cobble beds of the Nepean River between Emu Plains and Richmond Hill, New South Wales. This was clear evidence that Aboriginal implements were of great interest to the crews of British vessels, their theft by Europeans often leading to problems between the Indigenous people and the new settlers.

In 1988, the year of Australia's Bicentennial celebrations, only a few objects were recovered from the site. But yet again, there was a surprise. A small copper Spanish coin — a two Maravedís piece — dated 1774 with the head of Charles (Carlos) III of Spain was located. This is the only coin that has been found on the Sirius site.

Two 18-pounder carronades — the only heavy ordnance not salvaged from the wreck in 1790–91 — were raised by the Sirius Project and conserved on Norfolk Island. Local craftspeople assisted in making replica gun carriages for the pieces, now displayed in the island's museum. Similarly, wooden stocks were fabricated from Norfolk Island timber to enhance the display of the large bower anchors.

As a whole, the collection has provided valuable information on late 18th-century British shipbuilding and, in particular, the choice of vessels for voyages of exploration.

The Artefacts

The following information provided on the artefacts is taken from “HMS Sirius 1790 – An illustrated catalogue of artefacts recovered from the wreck site at Norfolk Island” Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Special Publication No. 7, 1994 by Myra Stanbury.

Copper Sheathing and Sheathing Nails
Experiments using copper sheathing as an antifouling device for ships’ bottoms had been carried out by the time the Sirius was refitted for the voyage to Botany Bay. Although the galvanic action between the copper sheets and the vessel’s iron fastenings caused the false keel to fall off it inhibited marine growth and kept the hull clean. The benefits of copper sheathing outweighed the disadvantages for her voyage, offering an increase in sailing speed and better manoeuvrability in light winds.

The sheets of copper were fastened to the outer hull planking with small sheathing nails. The sheathing nails were cast from an arsenical tin bronze composition, unlike any modern alloy. Although of poor metallurgical quality they had good corrosion resistance.

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Copper sheathing and sheathing nails


Lead Sheathing and Copper Alloy Lead Sheathing Nails
Lead, being more malleable than copper, was often used as sheathing for curved or awkwardly shaped parts of the vessel such as the gripe. One of the problems facing shipbuilders using lead sheathing was to find nails that would not corrode as a result of electrolysis between the different metals.

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Lead Sheathing and Copper Alloy Lead Sheathing Nails


Deck Nails or Spikes
Several square bevelled, die-headed copper alloy broad deck nails or spikes with square shanks and chisel points were recovered. These fastenings would have been used to fasten deck planks to beams, the flat or die-head sitting flush with the deck. Generally two spikes were driven in to each beam.

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Deck Nails or Spikes


Brass Stove Leg and Brass Beaded Fascia strip and beading
The Officers’ cabins sometimes had small stoves fitted to provide heating.
By 1783 Naval warships had movable iron stoves issued at a rate of one per deck. This was to create an airflow intended to prevent disease and the decay of timbers.

This ornately engraved brass stove leg along with beaded fascia strip would have come from the stove in the Officers’ quarters. Examples of fine engravings can be seen on three sides of the leg, the fourth side not visible when the grate was in place. The brass fascia strip would have formed part of the grate, while the main fire-box would have been heavy cast iron, to reflect the heat.

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Brass Stove Leg and Brass Beaded Fascia strip and beading
 

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Brass Stove Leg and Brass Beaded Fascia strip and beading


Brass Furniture Fitting
A cast brass furniture fitting represents a classical urn surrounded by an oval wreath of laurel leaves. The attachment on the reverse has corroded away, but is likely to have been a screw, enabling the fitting to be fastened as a mount to a piece of furniture or to the wall.

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Brass Furniture Fitting


Copper Clench Rings (or Roves)
The main keel of the ship was made of several lengths of timber fitted together by scarph joints secured with clench bolts. The bolts were cut best online casinos at the end that protruded through the timber. A ring was placed over the point before hammering to ensure a firm fit. Unused copper rings indicate they were part of the ship’s stores.

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Copper Clench Rings (or Roves)


Copper Keel Staple
Keel staples were driven into the sides of the false keel and main keel to fasten them. Its lack of wear and its location amongst other cargo items suggest it was a spare staple rather than one that had been in use.

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Copper Keel Staple


Copper Roves
These roves are used with rose head nails. Rose nails were the most common used in building. A shortage of nails for the settlements was foreseen and the Sirius carried these supplies.

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Copper Roves



Ceramic Sherds
These sherds are typical of English brown salt-glaze wares and are probably from wide-mouth jars commonly used to store provisions and medicines.

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Ceramic Sherds

Coal
Coal found in various places on the site would also have contributed to the ballast. Generally it was stored together with wood in the fore-peak. Coal would mainly have been used for the galley stove.

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Coal

Copper Cauldron
Very little remains to identify equipment associated with the galley except for some pieces of copper with rows of rivets. This larger piece closely resembles the seam of a copper cauldron (or kettle) from the Bounty also housed in the Norfolk Island Museum. One edge has been folded to form a ridge on which is stamped a broad arrow. Copper was considered the most suitable material for cooking pots as it withstood heat better than iron.

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Copper Cauldron

Brass Oval Wall Fitting with Patera Design
An oval fitting with a stamped patera design may well have served as a curtain tie-back. A small iron screw at the base of the pedestal has corroded away but would have allowed the fitting to be screwed into the wooden internet casino cabin wall. It could just as well function as a cloak pin for hanging hats or other items of apparel, or even as a decorative support for a mirror.

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Brass Oval Wall Fitting with Patera Design

Shingle Ballast
The washed and screened shingle ballast was laid on top of the iron ballast and formed a bed into which the casks of provisions could sink. The shingle ballast from the Sirius consisted of flint pebbles. They are typical of the stones found in the River Thames and for each ton taken on board, British ships were bound to pay the corporation of the Trinity house one shilling and three pence. Some 90 tons of shingle ballast were loaded onto the Sirius for her voyage to Botany Bay. Shingle provided a good surface for stowing casks, but tended to infect bilge water and become noxious. Naval surgeons considered Thames ballast to be very unfavourable to health ‘for besides being naturally foul it [was] full of fresh water animalcul, which being destroyed in the ship, stink, and become very offensive”. One of the duties of the master was to see the ballast was ‘sweet and clean’ (Trotter, in Lloyd, 1965:273).

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Shingle Ballast

Bronze Shackle and Two Chain Links
A bronze shackle and chain links found prior to the Sirius Project would have been associated with the rigging of the rudder pendants. One of the links is capable of being opened, thus providing a facility for rigging the ropes or altering the length of the chains as required.

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Bronze Shackle and Two Chain Links

Stone Hatchet
This edge-ground stone hatchet head was an unexpected and intriguing find from an eighteenth-century naval wreck. It is a tool made and used by Australian Aborigines probably originating from the cobble beds of the Nepean River between Emu Plains and Richmond Hill, New South Wales. It was most likely acquired by a member of the crew. Contact between Aboriginals and European settlers often occurred with exchanges of artefacts, services and food. Strong measures needed to be enforced to prevent the stealing of Aboriginal weapons and tools to meet the demand of curio collectors among the crews of fleet transports and other vessels.

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Stone Hatchet

Sounding Lead
The master of a man-of-war was responsible for navigating and conducting the ship from port to port under the direction of the captain. He was required to accurately observe the appearance of coasts, rocks and shoals, with their depths of water and bearings noting them in his journal. The sounding lead would have been an essential part of the ship’s navigation equipment and would have been provided by the Admiralty.

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Sounding Lead

Brass Sextant
The sextant is the most convenient and accurate hand instrument yet devised for measuring angles, whether horizontal, vertical or inclined. The name refers to the arc of the instrument, which occupies a sixth of a circle (60 degrees), and not to the angle that can be measured. The sextant is used in observations at sea and is held in the hand, even with an unstable support, as on board ship. By measuring the angular distance between the Moon and the Sun, or a fixed Star, early navigators were able to determine the longitude of a place. The Sirius sextant bears the engraved word ‘London’ in copperplate script on the right hand side of the cross-bar but unfortunately no maker’s name can be identified on the broken left-hand part.

The archaeological findings clearly indicate that at least two sextants of an old design were on board the ship. Whether these instruments were provided by the Navy or were the personal property of officers on board has not been determined, but could have a bearing on the priority attached to the salvage of particular items from the wreck.

According to Admiralty instructions, ships’ officers, in particular the master, were expected to provide their own navigation instruments, charts, nautical books and so on, for the purposes of navigation. The only navigational equipment supplied as naval stores were logs, compasses and sandglasses. But the Board of Longitude made special provision for those on exploration. A broad arrow marked on a piece of brass believed to belong to the frame of one Sirius sextant interestingly suggests that it must have been issued by the Navy Board, perhaps to an individual officer or as part of a special inventory of navigation equipment. To date, however, no list (other than the Board of Longitude inventory) has been located to confirm whether an exception to the rule was made in equipping the Sirius.

The more complete, London-made sextant has no visible broad arrow mark, so could well have belonged to one of the officers. Many officers on Cook’s voyages, including Cook himself, had their own sextants in addition to instruments loaned by the Board of Longitude. Sextants were expensive items of equipment and few officers, particularly those of junior rank, would have been able to afford the latest model. The presence of older types of sextant on board the Sirius, therefore, is not unexpected. Thus, however out-dated the Sirius’ sextants may have been, they would have been of considerable value to their owners. One would therefore expect that priority would have been given to the salvage of such items from the wreck, as was given to the timekeeper. But, the presence of the sextants on the wreck site appears to refute this hypothesis – saving lives and consumables were clearly more important.

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Brass Sextant

Brass Pantograph
A pantograph is a scientific instrument used to make accurate scale copies of charts, maps and plans. As it has a wide range of uses it could be used by a surveyor, cartographer or engineer. Fortunately, enough pieces of the brass pantograph were retrieved to reconstruct it with some degree of accuracy although it is not known whether it was privately owned or part of the ship’s inventory as it was not mentioned on the original list of instruments and tables assigned to the Sirius.

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Brass Pantograph
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Brass Pantograph


Round Shot or Cannon Balls
A variety of ammunition was found on the Sirius wreck site. Two groups of shot can be isolated, based on the size of the balls: one group with a diameter range of 85mm to 94mm and the other 127 mm to 131mm. Both would have been suitable for 6-pounder guns. Given that iron shot would suffer some degree of corrosion on board ship, this would marginally reduce the size of the larger shot of over time. The larger shot weights corresponds with the size of shot required for 18-pounder carronades.

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Round Shot or Cannon Balls

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Round Shot or Cannon Balls


Grape Shot, Case and Canister Shot
Grape shot consists of a number of small iron balls arranged around a central iron column in a thick canvas bag. The column is attached to a base at the bottom of the bag and the neck of the bag securely tied with strong cord. To keep the shot from moving, tarred marline made of two to four strands of cord is drawn around the balls, giving the bag a quilted appearance. A rope grommet is then formed at the top by which it can be carried or hung on small hooks next to the guns. Finally, the shot is painted with two coats of black paint to preserve it.

Case or Canister Shot consisted of a cylindrical tin canister, made to fit the particular caliber. The canister was filled with shot and sealed at the base with a wooden plug. The plug was then forced into a cartridge bag and tied. This was enclosed in another bag and tied with gut.

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Grape Shot, Case and Canister Shot

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Grape Shot, Case and Canister Shot

Spectacle Plate
The rudder was an essential part of the steering system of a vessel. As a precaution against accidental loss or lifting of the pintles from the gudgeons, strong ropes or rudder pendants were rigged and shackled to the eyes of a spectacle plate fastened to the trailing edge of the rudder at a point just above the water-line. The ropes led inboard on each side of the ship through shackles secured to the hull and then to manned tackles inboard. In the event of the tiller breaking or the upper part of the rudder being damaged in action, this system of ropes could be used to keep the rudder under control.

The spectacle plate has the name Berwick cast into the band, the name of this ship prior to it being refitted as the Sirius in 1786.

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Detail of the spectacle plate with the name Berwick


Pintles and Gudgeons
Pintle and gudgeons comprise the hinging mechanism for a ship’s rudder. The pintle always has a pin, and the gudgeon has a hole to receive the pin. Gudgeons are attached to the sternpost with gudgeon straps attached to the hull. Pintles are attached to the rudder. On the Sirius there is a system of five gudgeons and pintles.

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Pintles and Gudgeons

Horseshoe Plate
This piece is one of a pair that would have been bolted to either side of the keel, holding together the keel, stem and gripe.

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Horseshoe Plate

Copper Bolt
This is the largest bolt recovered from the Sirius and has been hammered at both ends. The shaft has been bent to an angle of 153 degrees, approximately one third of the way along its length, an indication that a force of 7 kilonewtons was exerted on the bolt. The size of this bolt corresponds with the largest fastening holes on the ‘horse plate’ and could be associated with this fitting. As the bow of the Sirius continually pounded on the reef, the stress on the gripe and stem of the vessel would have been considerable.

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Copper Bolt


Brass Keg Taps & Spigots
The spigot is part of the tap that controls the flow from the keg. These items are believed to be associated with cargo stowage.

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Brass Keg Taps & Spigots


Bronze Straps
The function of the strap could possibly have been similar to a dovetail or ‘knee-plate’. These pieces were used either side of the heel of the sternpost and the keel to bind them together, the top fastenings being in the post and the bottom ones in the keel.

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Bronze Straps


Iron Ballast Pigs
Two hundred and ten concreted pieces of pig iron ballast were located on the wreck site. From the archaeological findings, it is clear that the iron ballast was not of uniform size, shape or weight.

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Iron Ballast Pigs


Bronze Pump Chambers and Fittings
These two bronze pump chambers would have been part of the common pump system on board the Sirius. While the exact type of common pump on the Sirius is not known the presence of a bronze chamber suggests it was an ‘improve’ type.

Purpose built Royal Navy Ships were generally fitted with two pump systems: the main chain pump and the common suction pumps. It is likely that the Sirius had two pump systems: main chamber pumps together with main common pumps and small hand operated common pumps. The main pump was for clearing the bilges and dealing with leakages. The common pump was for supplying fresh salt water for cleaning decks and fire fighting. The common pump consisted of an upper and lower barrel of elm, with a central working barrel of mixed metal or bronze.

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Bronze Pump Chambers and Fittings


Copper Alloy Machine or screw bolts
Used to fasten metal and wood. These bolts have been associated with the pump fittings, some bolts are unused indicating may have been part of the Carpenter’s stores.

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Copper Alloy Machine or screw bolts


Musket Balls, Lead Shot and Bird Shot
The small arms ammunition failed to come aboard the Sirius in London and Captain Arthur Phillip had to purchase 10,000 musket balls in Rio de Janerio. A total of 707 shot were recovered from the wreck site. The larger balls found were compatible with the calibre of a Short Land Pattern musket while the smaller ones would have been suitable for the Sergeant’s Carbines.

Some of the lead shot have a small protrusion or lip, which indicates they may have been used as cartridge shot. Such ammunition, with small bird shot added to the cartridge, was commonly used with fowling pieces or shotguns for shooting birds or game.

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Musket Balls, Lead Shot and Bird Shot


Stopper for Medicine Bottle
This colourless flat oblong head stopper with ground shank is typical of those used for medicine bottles.

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Stopper for Medicine Bottle


Ceramic Wares
When away at sea for long periods, regular officers often took their own possessions with them to furnish their cabins during spells in ports of call. One porcelain sherd has blue border pattern features of Spode’s Willow Pattern. Especially notable among the ceramic finds were a base and wall fragments of black engine-turned basaltware.

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Ceramic Wares

Pewter Buttons
A total of five buttons were recovered, one bearing an anchor motif might be associated with the Royal Marines. While officers generally had silver buttons on their uniforms after 1769, Corporals and Privates had pewter buttons, decorated with an anchor motif.

At Rio de Janeiro where the First Fleet stopped for one month to replenish supplies, Chief Surgeon John White on board the transport Charlotte, records in his journal on 5 August 1787:

In trafficking with these people we discovered that one Thomas Barret, a convict, had, with great ingenuity and address, passed some quarter dollars which he, assisted by two others, had coined out of old buckles, buttons, belonging to the marines and pewter spoons, during their passage from Tenerife.

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Pewter Buttons


Copper Coin
This small copper coin is the only coin recovered from the Sirius wreck site. Although the surfaces of the coin are abraded sufficient features are visible to enable the coin to be identified as a Spanish 2 Maravedís. The obverse of the coin bears the head of Charles III of Spain (1759 - 1788), and the date 1774. The reverse bears castles and lions in the quarters of a cross. Coins minted in 1774 came from the Segovia Mint whose mint mark was the Aqueduct. Thirty four Maravedí were equal to one Real (of silver).

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Copper Coin


Shoulder Brass Belt Plates
These plates were part of the Royal Marine Officers uniforms. They were attached to a two inch wide leather belt that was worn over the right shoulder to support the sheath which held the officer’s sword. These were worn after 1775. A small detachment of Royal Marines under the command of Major Ross was on board the Sirius when she was forced onto the reef. Unfortunately all their personal possessions were lost.

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Shoulder Brass Belt Plates


Short Land Pattern Musket
The Short Land Pattern Musket was officially sanctioned as an infantry musket in 1768. By 1790 it was being used in most British regiments. Trigger guards, butt plates and brass ramrod pipes from such muskets have been recovered from the Sirius wreck site. This is a replica gun.

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Short Land Pattern Musket


Brass Ramrod Pipe from Land Pattern Musket
This trumpet-shaped upper ramrod pipe was introduced as a fixture on Land Pattern Muskets c.1750 when new production weapons were made with steel rather than wooden, brass-tipped ramrods. These pipes were used to retain steel ramrods.

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Brass Ramrod Pipe from Land Pattern Musket


Brass Wrist Escutcheon
Wrist escutcheons were typicals feature of Land Pattern Muskets of the eighteenth century, held in place by a single screw through the rear of the trigger guard.

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Brass Wrist Escutcheon


Brass Wrist Escutcheon
These seem to be consistent with the style of fitting used on the Land Pattern Musket.

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Brass Wrist Escutcheon


Butt Plates
Six musket butt plates were recovered. One is of a sea service type and five of the size for a Land Pattern Musket. One pistol butt cap was also recovered that is of the dimensions to fit a flintock pistol.

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Butt Plates


Anchor
The largest artefact that dominates the Norfolk Island Museum display is one of the four bower anchors that were carried on the ship. This particular one was raised in 1973, has been treated and conserved and is in good condition. These large anchors were made at the foundries by hammering iron rods together but the abrasive action of the sea and sand has eroded away the sections of iron that contained impurities, giving the anchor the appearance of having been made from timber.

A vessel such as the Sirius was expected to carry 6 anchors, 4 Bower anchors, 1 Stream anchor and 1 Kedge anchor. Captain Phillip and Hunters comments indicate that 4 anchors were exchanged for 3 heavier ones. Exactly how many anchors the Sirius carried is not definitely known. Five anchors have been located on the Sirius wreck site. Two small broken anchors remain on the seabed and may have been on board as ballast. The fate of one bower anchor is still in question. Three Bower anchors have been raised.

The first anchor was blasted from the ocean floor in 1905. This anchor is now located in Macquarie Place, Sydney, with both palms missing. One of the palms is still on the wreck site, the other is possibly the palm that was raised in 1988 and can be viewed in the Norfolk Island museum. The second anchor was raised in 1973 by the SS Holmburn and is now also housed in the museum. The third anchor raised in 1985 by the Sirius Project team was transferred to the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney.

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Anchor


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Anchor

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Anchor

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Anchor

Carronades
The Sirius struck the reef stern first and in less than 10 minutes Captain Hunter had ordered that the masts be cut in an attempt to lessen the pull of the ship onto the reef. Two 18 pounder carronades have been recovered and it is possible to explain that these two were carried away by a direct hit of the falling masts.

This type of short range gun was first manufactured by the Carron Iron Company of Falkirk, Scotland in 1778. This early design proved to be defective as on firing it often caused the rigging to be set on fire. To overcome this the length of the barrel was increased as recommended by the Navy Office in 1781. There were six of the shorter type carronades on board the Sirius and it is believed the other four were recovered before the ship fell apart.

The first carronade was raised in 1985 showing extensive superficial chipping, which may have occurred prior to or during the wrecking of the Sirius. The second carronade was located in 1988 and underwent a highly original concept of in-situ conservation. After 5 years of this treatment, 80% of the destructive chloride ions were removed. The carronade was raised from the seabed in March 1993 and after further conservation was ready for display in 1995.

A wooden tampion was found in-situ during removal of concretion from the second carronade. This plug was removed from the barrel of the gun revealing a crystal clean interior.

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Carronades


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Carronades

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Carronades

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Carronades


12.00 Normal 0 false false false EN-AU X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Detail of the spectacle plate with the name Berwick
 

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