This week’s final visit of HMAS Sirius to Norfolk Island before the supply ship is decommissioned is a significant moment for the community, showcasing the rich maritime and military history of the Island.
Norfolk Island is the ceremonial homeport of Sirius in recognition of the historical ties to HMS Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet.
This week’s final visit was all the more special as HMAS Sirius’ crew was able to join us in commemorating Remembrance Day on 11 November. It was my honour to host the Sirius crew, under the command of Commander Chris Doherty, at Government House. The crew also attended a street march and community functions while the local cadets had the opportunity to tour the ship.
Commander Christopher Doherty expressed his pleasure at returning to Norfolk Island.
“The crew of HMAS Sirius are honoured to return to Norfolk Island for a final time before we decommission,” Commander Christopher Doherty said.
“The relationship with the community here was instigated during our commissioning in 2006 to recognise the historical significance of HMS Sirius on the Island. For 15 years we have proudly called Norfolk Island our ceremonial homeport and we thank the community for inviting us a number of times over the years,” said Commander Doherty.
HMAS Sirius was named after the original HMS Sirius thatwas commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1780, and became the primary supply line and communication link with Great Britain, before sinking off the south east of Kingston Pier in Slaughter Bay. The shipwreck site and remains of the Sirius are a significant and enduring link to colonial history and are the only known remains of a vessel of the First Fleet.
The community and crew were fortunate to have the opportunity to reflect on this shared history through Sirius’ final visit. Commander Doherty presented an original watercolour and buoy for the community. I, on behalf of the community, presented a framed historical map of the wreck site and hand-carved anchor to the ship and its crew.
Each crew member was presented with a copy of the map and commemorative plaque for their personal record. The Norfolk Island RSL were grateful to be presented with a 120kg fuelling probe to be displayed in the Museum.
Like its namesake in the 18th Century, HMAS Sirius provides important logistical support to the Navy, providing fuel, stores and ammunition, significantly extending the Royal Australian Navy’s operational reach and endurance at sea. HMAS Sirius will be decommissioned on 18 December 2021, with two new Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ships, HMAS Supply (II) and NUSHIP Stalwart.
Administrator of Norfolk Island