HM Sloop Investigator anchor

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Date of creation: 
Length: 4.23 metres
Collection Name: 
ID/Accession No: 

Best bower anchor from HM Sloop Investigator in which English navigator Matthew Flinders circumnavigated and charted the Australian coastline from 1801 to 1803.


Flinders severed the anchor when he had difficulties leaving Middle Island at the western end of the Great Australian Bight in May 1803. It was raised from the seabed 170 years later in 1973. The anchor underwent twelve months of conservation and restoration.


Matthew Flinders was the first to chart the then uncompleted coastline of South Australia and use the name Australia for the continent. The anchor is one of the few remaining physical relics linked to Flinders’ exploration of the southern coastline and one of the earliest relics of European presence in South Australia. The anchor is a well preserved example of late eighteenth century shipping technology and blacksmithing history. Made of smelted wrought iron and comprising four discrete pieces, the iron was heated to 2000 degrees and then beaten until fused by a team of blacksmiths. It invokes a sense of shipping during the age of sail and the back-breaking work required of the crew. Anchors such as this were dropped to hold a ship fast and hauled up on chains by a large capstan wheel.

Weight: 1230 kg.

Creator: Henry Rudd, Monkwearmouthshore, Co.

Associated locations: South Australia, Great Australian Bight, Middle Island 



Monkwearmouth Shore, where the anchor was made, is within the city of Sunderland. HMS Investigator was built in Sunderland (as the Fram, a collier) as was  the City of Adelaide, now awaiting restoration in Port Adelaide.

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