Monday, November 5, 2012
All of the work of the last five months is coming to a head this week and next as the HMS Sirius collection is moved into the Protestant Chapel. This “HMS Sirius Collection – Re-housing Project” has been made possible with funding through the Commonwealth’s Your Community Heritage Program and the Norfolk Island Government. It is a very large and exciting project and one that will importantly result in the Nationally Significant HMS Sirius collection being housed in vastly improved environmental conditions. As the flagship of the First Fleet, the Sirius is Australia’s most important shipwreck and as a result of this project Norfolk Island will have a dedicated museum to display her story and remains.
A lot of work has been undertaken to get us to this point. The building has been modified to include a workroom/office, painted and had the floors sanded and re-sealed. New interpretation panels have been designed, written, printed and mounted onto backing panels. Cabinets have been custom made and the replica hull that stood in the old museum has been cleaned up ready to be installed. The anchor stock has been cleaned and oiled ready to stand once again attached to the anchor. A touch-screen with a database on all of the nearly 1,400 people of the First Fleet is underway as is a First Fleet Wall that will eventually contain individually inscribed wooden disks for each of the 1,400.
Not only that, but new displays have also been developed to fill the ground floor of the Pier Store which will be left empty when the Sirius collection is moved out. The Pier Store will be closed for a period towards the end of next week and will then re-open with a focus on the stories of the mutiny on the Bounty, Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island from 1856.
Phillip Smith from the Museum of Tropical Queensland (MTQ) has arrived to work with our local men on the move. Phillip was last here in 2010 to build a fibreglass replica Bounty cannon used while we completed conservation work on the original. At the MTQ he is a Display Officer with responsibility for the mounting of displays and moving objects throughout the museum. He is also a specialist in dinosaur creations! He recently made a life size replica dinosaur that moved by remote control to the delight of children visiting the museum’s dinosaur exhibition. We are excited to welcome Phillip back to the island and to work on this important project. Our sincere thanks to the MTQ for releasing him from his work and allowing him to come – and also to his wife Claudia and small son Lennox for letting us take him away from home for the fortnight!