Edit Blog Post
Published: March 30th 2013
The Loch Ard Peacock
This beautiful artefact must be nearly 5 feet tall.
As it happens you will find it at Warrnambool at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum.
The museum has a special theme, The Loch Ard, but also artefacts from various maritime disasters on this rugged coast of South West Victoria. About 2000 people lost their lives on this coast, and over 60 kilometres, the list of ship wrecks is frightening. 17 just in the coast at Warrnambool, and some areas are even more littered with disasters.
The story of the Loch Ard starts in the UK where this powerful steel hulled sailing ship carrying fifty three thousand pounds worth of cargo for the colony, a combined 54 people on board, crew and just a few fair paying passengers. Unlike the ships who brought the poor to Australia, these passengers travelled at speed, non stop to Australia in relative luxury.
In an earlier blog from Cape Otway, I referred to the ‘Threading the needle’ navigation. The ships travelled deep into the southern seas before turning east to thread the needle through a 55 mile opening into Bass Straight. No problem on a fine day, but the Loch Ard had sailed for a
couple of weeks without seeing the sun, so errors with the chronometer, small as they are, and subsequent errors with map location added up to a 40 mile error. The Loch Ard was too far north, and struck Mutton Bird Island and then quickly sunk in the turbulent waters of this dangerous coast. The significance of those earlier photos of the coast now becomes apparent.
The ship sunk in the small hours of the misty windy morning, and the Captain ordered the life boat lowered for women and children. The raging seas washed the life boat and those waiting to board away into the dark turbulence.
Only two survived, Apprentice Tom, and the daughter of a Doctor, Eva, and the beautiful Minton Peacock which washed up on the beach a couple of days later virtually un harmed.
The peacock was destined for the 1880 Melbourne Trade Show. It never made it until 100 years later.
To know the full story, there is a fantastic night show (about 1.5 hours) where the life and times of the 1870s becomes the back ground to the Story of the Loch Ard.
The show is inexpensive, and a valuable lesson in early Australian settlement. Sombre? Yes. Those that went before often paid a heavy price as the new nation struggled with the battle between natures challenges and human weakness.
To view the various relics and artefacts, they are found in the museum and village which is a daytime activity. We bought a combined ticket so we spent a couple of hours nosing around the museum and village. The photos above are a sample of what we saw. It really is time well spent, and puts a picture into the minds history lessons. For me, this is a must do on the coast of Victoria. And you can buy a miniature replica of the Minton Peacock for $9,999.00. There are only 6 left out of the 100 made, and it is really beautiful. You can view the original in its protected display case. It is worth in excess of $4 million.
We all went in the motorhome and between the museum/village visit and the night show had a dinner prepared by Marg and did some serious cheese and crackers analysis.
Tot: 0.119s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 11; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0191s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb