Port Campbell, Shipwreck Coast, Vic
Of the hundreds of shipwrecks along Victoria’s treacherous coastline one in particular tears at the heartstrings and leads one to wonder how indeed anyone could possibly survive. In June 1878 after a 3 month voyage from England, the sailing ship Loch Ard founded on a reef near Mutton Bird Island off the Victorian coast. She was one day away from reaching her destination of Melbourne. Of the 57 passengers and crew on board only 2 survived. Apprentice Midshipman Tom Pearce made it to shore returning to the sea to rescue the 19 year old passenger Eva Carmichael. While Eva sheltered in a cave at the head of the gorge Tom Pearce managed to scale the cliffs and sought help from the Gibson family of nearby Glenample Homestead.
After a lengthy recovery at Glenample Homestead Eva, who had lost her parents and five siblings in the tragedy, returned to Ireland to be near her brother and married a Thomas Townshend. In all Tom Pearce was to experience four shipwrecks and lost a son to shipwreck.