The HMS Pandora, part of the Royal Navy fleet, set off from London in 1790 on a voyage to bring the Bounty mutineers to justice. The mutineers were captured and locked in what is now known as “Pandora’s Box”. On the 28th August 1791 the Pandora struck the Great Barrier Reef as she was trying to make her way through; this area is now known as Pandora Reef. The day after she struck the reef, just as the smaller boats were hoisted out, the Pandora rolled over and sank. Thirty-one crew members and four mutineers were still on board when she sank. ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’ were the only bodies discovered from the wreckage.
The Pandora wreck has been deemed of historical, scientific, and social value. Visitors to the site obtain first hand experience of the role archaeology and conservation play in historical sites such as this. The archaeologists of the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville have done comprehensive research into the sinking of the Pandora and the mutiny on the Bounty. You can see full display at the museum.
Featured Image: Oswald Brett’s impression of the Pandora’s last moments.
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