Seriously Sirius 230th Anniversary on Norfolk Island

Seriously Sirius 230th Anniversary on Norfolk Island

The 19th of March 2020 will be the 230th anniversary of the wrecking of HMS Sirius on the reef at Norfolk Island.  She was of course the flagship of the First Fleet and her 1790 wrecking was undoubtedly the most serious event to occur during the early life of both the Port Jackson and Norfolk Island settlements.

Featuring Professor of Folklore, Graham Seal

& ‘The Convict Voice’ folk musician and historians, Don and Sue Brian

This important anniversary in Australian history is one that the Norfolk Island Travel Centre is intending to mark and to do so they have organised an exceptional week of events with a prominent folk theme. Special guest presenters are Graham Seal, author of Great Convict Stories and Professor of Folklore at Curtin University; and Don Brian, author of The Convict Voice CD who together with wife Sue are prominent Norfolk Island folk historians.

Great Convict Stories - Graham Seal
Great Convict Stories - Graham Seal

This event offers the opportunity to hear these presenters and other speakers as well as honour a convict, marine or free settler ancestor heritage. You can delve deep into the writing of convict lives and stories, plus increase your knowledge of the importance of this devastating event in the Nation’s history.

At the time of her wrecking the Sirius was on a desperate mission sailing to Canton, China to purchase supplies as the Port Jackson population was on the verge of starvation, existing on half rations. It was while both ships were unloading supplies at Kingston that the wrecking occurred. As NSW Governor Arthur Phillip said when news of the wrecking reached him in Port Jackson: “You never saw such dismay as the news of the wreck occasioned amongst us all; for, to use a sea term, we looked upon her as our sheet anchor”.

Graham will spotlight many of the extraordinary happenings and convicts of the era, including those who lived through this tumultuous event. With an incredible knowledge of Australian folklore, his presentations will no doubt be very entertaining and well supported by Don Brian’s music and singing.  As a member of the traditional shanty group ‘The Roaring Forties’, Don will sing folksongs and sea shanties, many of which focus on the maritime history of the Pacific. Together with Sue they will share their linked passions for Norfolk’s history and folklore including research into the stories, songs and poems of those who lived and passed by the Island, from convict settlers to present day.

Don Brian
Don Brian

It is highly recommended to take out the Optional 230th Anniversary Package that includes presentations and workshops by Graham, Don and Sue as well as a waterfront event under a marquee opposite the wreck site at Kingston with a sumptuous luncheon, presentations, folk music and entertainment. Special tours of the Sirius artefacts and Norfolk Island Museum, together with special dinners are also part of the Package.

This week will be of interest to those with a folklore and maritime interest, ancestry from the period, or those who simply dream of a Pacific Island holiday – with added interest!  You may not have realised it, but over recent years Norfolk Island has begun to be appreciated for features it has always naturally possessed, yet remained largely hidden. These include as a fresh, seasonal foodie haven where food miles are counted in metres; an unspoiled environmental playground with lush rainforests and coral filled waters; and an intriguing multi- faceted convict and historical importance.

Whether you visit Norfolk by yourself, with family or friends, or as part of an organised (or your own) group trip, make sure to use the knowledge available from local travel agents, tour operators and visitor information services all located on the island. ‘Meeting the locals’ really is part of a Norfolk Island experience, so make sure to do so even before you travel. You’ll surely find much more than you expected on a Norfolk Island holiday!


For further details email Maria Massey at or call 1800 1400 66 or visit the event page here.

Hot Deals

Tranquil views

Cascade Garden Apartments

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