Nepean Island and Phillip Island Across Slaughter Bay, Kingston, Norfolk Island
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Lieutenant Phillip Gidley-King sailed from Sydney (Port Jackson) on the HMS Supply and eventually found a small gap in the reef and landed near where the Kingston Pier now stands on March 6th 1788. His party included convicts and some free settlers and numbered 24.
On 19th March 1790 the HMS Sirius along with the HMS Supply arrived at Norfolk Island to deliver much needed supplies and more convicts. On arrival the 2 ships endured a serious storm and the Sirius was wrecked near here on the reef . No lives were lost. The HMS Supply survived the storm and soon after sailed back to Sydney to report the loss of the Sirius.
The HMS Sirius had transported 101 convict men, 65 convict women and 23 children from Sydney Cove to Norfolk Island on what was to be her final voyage. (1) Together with a crew of 130 (2) this was to become a very serious event as it added 319 extra people to be fed,clothed and housed on an island only recently settled from March 1788, just a few months after the 'First Fleet' arrived in Port Jackson (Sydney) on 26th January 1788.
The Sirius's crew remained stranded on Norfolk Island until 21st February 1791, when they were finally rescued and eventually taken back to England.
With food supplies seriously threatened the settlers began to exploit the local Mount Pitt seabirds for food. Christened the “Providence” petrel, the settlers took so many that numbers collapsed to the point where the bird became extinct on Norfolk Island. In recent years a small colony of petrels has fortunately re-established itself on Phillip Island,
The loss of the Sirius was indeed a seriously worrying blow to both fledgling settlements as it left only HMS Supply to service both the Sydney and Norfolk colonies and abandonment of the colonies was seriously considered.
A convict built stone causeway across a section of the reef near here can still be seen at low tide. It is believed to have been built to make salvage of cargo from the Sirius across the craggy dangerous reef easier. It is considered to be possibly the oldest surviving construction by the British in Australia.
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