The original models for these ornithological studies were made by George Raper, the 20 year old Midshipman aboard HMS Sirius, flagship of the First Fleet to Australia. Having established the settlement at Port Jackson in 1788, the first Governor Captain Arthur Phillip despatched the Sirius to Cape Town for supplies as food had been running dangerously low due to the failure of crops planted in poor soil near Sydney Cove. Having taken on supplies in Cape Town the Sirius returned in mid April 1789, but was nearly shipwrecked in bad weather off the west coast of Van Diemen's Land. The storm damaged Sirius returned to Port Jackson for repair and it was probably at this time that Raper had the opportunity to make a number of paintings and sketches of birds in the vicinity of Port Jackson, which he later re-worked into watercolours dated 1789. These can be seen in the Natural History Museum, London.