First Fleet wreck joins heritage list

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The only known shipwreck from the First Fleet has been added to the National Heritage List. The HMS Sirius was the lead ship of the First Fleet during its six month journey from England to Australia. The vessel was shipwrecked on another journey to Norfolk Island in 1790. 

HMS Sirius was the lead ship of the First Fleet during its six month journey to Australia [Credit: Western Australian Museum]

The Minister for Environment, Tony Burke, added the ship to the list in a ceremony at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney today. He says the ship tells an important part of Australia’s story. 

“It is a critical part of the colony of New South Wales,” Mr Bourke said. “It’s a critical part of Norfolk Island and put together, it’s a part of the heritage of the nation we all call home.” 

The shipwreck site and its associated relics have been protected from damage or disturbance under the 1976 Commonwealth Historic Shipwreck ACT since 1984. 

Mr Bourke told an audience of school children that today marked the 225th anniversary that the ship was commissioned. 

“For the last 25 years, thanks to some wonderful work from the museum at Norfolk Island, a lot of artefacts that had been found on the Sirius have been saved,” he said. “By adding the shipwreck to the heritage list, we recognise the story that tells the story of Australia.” 

The National Heritage List was established to identify places of outstanding heritage significance to Australia. It includes natural, historic and Indigenous places that are of outstanding national heritage. 

Author: Nastasia Campanella Credit: ABC News Website [October 25, 2011]

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