Just as an extra after yesterdays post about the wreck of the Loch Ard I am posting these articles about the eventual fates of the two survivors, Eva Carmichael and Tom Pearce.
After the wreck Eva spent 6 weeks recovering in a nearby farmhouse and then, amazingly, got on another ship and returned home. She eventually married and became Eva Townshend.
When asked why she and Tom didn’t marry she reportedly said that it was because Tom was engaged to another at the time, although he offered to end the engagement and marry her she refused. The additional, and even better reason she gave for not marrying him was that they had nothing in common. So much for the traditional fairy story ‘happily ever after’ ending!
Tom Pearce died in Ireland in 1909, a Captain for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, still deservedly recognized as a hero.
Loch Ard Gorge is a famous stopping place along the Great Ocean Road here in Victoria.
The Loch Ard was a ship that sank in a storm in 1878 with only two survivors, Thomas Pearce and Eva Carmichael.
Thomas swam to the shore and took shelter in a cave. Eva clung to some wreckage and was washed into the gorge. Thomas, hearing her cries, swam back out and dragged her to shore. After a few hours he climbed up the surrounding cliff and walked over three miles for help.
I remember this story from my childhood, having travelled there on family holidays. We have taken the kids there ourselves when we have been travelling along the Great Ocean Road.
Below is a photo I took in 2008 at Loch Ard Gorge on a beautiful day, after climbing down the nice steps and leaving our car safely parked at the top.
It is amazing to stand there on the beach and think of poor Thomas and Eva, having survived the wreck, somehow making it through the small gap in the cliffs and onto the tiny beach, only to find themselves alone with no idea of where they were or if anyone would find them.
54 other people died that night, although there was one other amazing escape from the wreck. A life-sized Minton porcelain peacock, perched on a rock, brilliantly coloured and clearly well packed was washed up and found to be undamaged. It is now on display in the Maritime Museum in Warrnambool and is estimated to be worth $4m.