Port Campbell Attractions
Loch Ard Gorge
The Loch Ard was a 3 masted square-rigged iron clipper ship built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1873. It was 262 feet long.
The Loch Ard left Gravesend (ironic the name) England, on March 1st 1878, with 54 passengers and crew and a cargo valued at $100,000 (including the now priceless Minton Peacock statue on display at Warrnambool’s Flagstaff Hill).
Three months into what had been an uneventful trip, disaster struck early on June 1st 1878. Days of fog and haze had prevented Captain Gibb from calculating his position for the critical pass into Bass Strait’s western entrance. On the night of May 31st Captain Gibb believed he was several miles off the Victorian coast and was watching for the Cape Otway light, however as the haze lifted he realized that towering cliffs were only a short distance away and they were in trouble. Anchors were dropped, but they began to drag and the ship was crushed against rocks at Mutton Bird Island.
In the end only two people survived the wreck, Tom Pearce 18, a member of the crew and Eva Carmichael 18, who was traveling to Australia with her family. Tom was washed into a deep gorge that now bears the name Loch Ard. Eva, who could not swim was dragged to safety by Tom. They sought shelter in the cave at the end of the gorge before Tom sought help eventually running into a party from nearby Glenample Homestead who returned to rescue Eva, after recuperating at the homestead Tom and Eva never saw each other again. Eva returned to Ireland and later married whilst Tom became a ships captain.
Today, you can see where the disaster unfolded, walk the beach where Tom and Eva struggled ashore and see the monument to the Carmichael family in the cliff top cementery. The few bodies recovered from the shipwreck are buried there.
For more information contact the Port Campbell information Centre on 03 5598 6053
It is easy to see how this rugged coast claimed so many ships and lives. For an amazing experience of what it would have been like for Tom Pearce, Eva Carmichael and the other passengers on board the19th century sailing ship Loch Ard make sure you see the world class sound and laser show at Warrnambool's Flagstaff Hill – screening nightly from dusk.
Priceless Loch Ard Peacock Minton Statue
Visit the Cementery – fascinating insight to days gone by
Rugged Loch Ard Gorge Explore the Walking Tracks