Norfolk (1798 sloop)

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A replica of Norfolk
Great Britain
FateWrecked 1800
General characteristics
Tons burthen25 (bm)

The Colonial sloop Norfolk was built on Norfolk Island in 1798 of Norfolk Island Pine. She was wrecked in 1800.

"The necessity of a vessel to keep up a more frequent intercourse with Norfolk Island, ...having been much felt by the want of various stores ...occasioned Captain Townson, the Commanding officer, to construct a small decked boat, sloop rigged, in which he sent His letters to this port..."[1][2]

Cumpston describes Norfolk as, “A decked longboat built at Norfolk I[sland].”[3] Governor Hunter quickly put Norfolk under the command of Matthew Flinders, the Sailing Master Peter Hibbs (seaman formerly on the "Sirius") Norfolk was to be used as a survey vessel. In 1798-99 Norfolk was used by Flinders and Bass to circumnavigate Tasmania – proving the existence of Bass Strait. Flinders also took Norfolk north to chart Cook's Morton's Bay (now Moreton Bay) and Hervey's Bay (Hervey Bay).[4][5]

Norfolk was then used to supply produce from the Windsor Area to Port Jackson, until 1800 when convicts seized her at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. Intending to sail her to Maluku, the convicts ran her aground at what was later called "Pirate Point" on the northern side of the mouth to the Hunter River. Today, the point is in the suburb of Stockton.


In 1998-99 Bern Cuthbertson OAM from Sandy Bay, Tasmania, re-enacted all of Norfolk's journeys in a replica vessel, constructed of Tasmania Huon and Celery Top pines. The replica Norfolk is now on display at The Bass and Flinders Centre in George Town on Tasmania's Tamar River.[6]

A limited amount of sterling silver and 18-carat gold medallions were hand-made to commemorate the voyages of Bern Cuthbertson's Norfolk. These medallions were mainly given to those that sailed with Bern.

In 2000 the Queensland Place Names Board named Norfolk Point (27°27′03″S 153°11′29″E / 27.4508°S 153.1914°E / -27.4508; 153.1914 (Norfolk Point)) which was on reclaimed land in the Manly boat harbour in Moreton Bay in honour of Matthew Flinders and the replica's visit. A plaque on the point commemorates the naming.[7][8][9]



  1. ^ Collins, David (1802), An account of the English colony in New South Wales ..., vol. 2, London: T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, p. 85, archived from the original on 28 December 2020, retrieved 20 January 2012 [Port Jackson 15 June 1798.]
  2. ^ The Matthew Flinders Electronic Archive at the State Library of New South Wales.
  3. ^ J.S. Cumpston, Shipping arrivals & departures Sydney, 1788-1825, Roebuck, Canberra, 1977, p.33.
  4. ^ A Voyage to Terra Australis, with an accompanying Atlas. 2 vol. – London : G & W Nicol, 18. July 1814.
  5. ^ The Early History of Tasmania, R.W.Giblin 1928
  6. ^ "In the wake of Bass and Flinders : 200 years on : The story of the re-enactment voyages 200 years on... | National Library of Australia". Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Norfolk Point – point in the City of Brisbane (entry 41473)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Norfolk Point". Brown Signs. 2 July 2018. Archived from the original on 12 April 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Norfolk Point". Monument Australia. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.