After learning of these events the British admiralty sent HMS Pandora to deal with the mutineers. HMS Pandora was a 24 gun frigate built in 1779 and commanded by Captain Edward Edwards. The vessel left England in November 1790 and rounded Cape Horn to reach the Pacific. In 1791 the Pandora reached Tahiti and arrested 14 mutineers there. Finding no more mutineers, the Pandora headed back for England. The nearest way back was through the Torres Strait - the narrow and shallow passage between Australia and New Guinea. Near the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, this area is full of submerged coral rocks with only a few navigable passages. The Pandora hit one of the rocks and sank, but most of the crew and prisoners survived and continued in the ship's boats to Batavia. Later, the mutineers were tried in London and some were hanged.
The voyage of the Pandora was recorded by Captain Edward Edwards and by the ship's surgeon, George Hamilton. Their stories are fascinating and immediate and have gripped generations of readers since the day they were published.