This bronze cannon belonged to the H.M.S. Sirius, flagship of the First Fleet, which arrived at Port Jackson in 1788. Approximately two metres in length, sits on a four-wheeled carriage and was installed in Macquarie Place in 1907 with an anchor recovered from the Sirius.
The Sirius was the flagship of the First Fleet which arrived at Port Jackson in 1788. Along with the H.M.S. Supply, the Sirius had been carrying supplies to Norfolk Island when it was wrecked on Norfolk Reef on the 19th of March 1790. A plaque credits the discovery of the wreck in 1905 to the efforts of Sir F Suttor.
The cannon was landed shortly after foundation of the colony in 1788. On 8 January 1907, after the discovery of the anchor from the Sirius wreck, at the request of the Premier of NSW, the Council of the City of Sydney agreed to the excision of an area from Macquarie Place Reserve for the artefacts to the placed. This area, however, was never excised. Nonetheless, the anchor and cannon were installed in the reserve that year.
A brass plate on the base reads: This Gun is believed to have formed/ part of the armament of the HMS Sirius,/ the flagship of the first fleet, which entered Port Jackson in 1788./ the gun returned to Sydney/ after the Sirius was wrecked/ at Norfolk Island in 1790 and used as a/ signal gun at south head./This gun was placed here in 1907.
On 26 February 1917 Council approved the expenditure of 4 pounds for making and fixing new timber wheels for the old cannon and also the timber shaft of the Sirius Anchor. In 1934 the Council assumed control over the items.
In May 1989 ownership of the artefacts was questioned when National Maritime Museum wished to have bronze replicas cast to replace the originals in order for them to be placed in the museum.
Investigators revealed that the Royal Navy and the State Government owned the anchor and the cannon and that the Council had no ownership rights. The apparent ownership rights, and concern over the deterioration of the artefacts, led to a decision to permit the National Maritime Museum’s proposal to proceed.
Objections, however, were voiced and the Maritime Museum commissioned a report on the conservation of the artefacts. Following a meeting between authorities, it was agreed that the most appropriate location for the artefacts was in Macquarie Place. It was also agreed that all necessary conservation measures would be carried out by the National Maritime Museum, which would retain ownership and constantly monitor the future condition of the cannon and anchor.