The Loch Ard Gorge near the magnificent Twelve Apostles in the Port Campbell National Park in Victoria, Australia seems straight out of a picture postcard.
While it may look like the perfect romantic setting, there is a tragedy behind its name. The gorge is named after the clipper ship Loch Ard, which was wrecked here in 1878 towards the end of its three-month journey from England to Melbourne.
Of the fifty-four passengers and crew on the ship, only two survived. Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael, both teenagers at the time.
Tom was an apprentice on the ship, while Eva was an Irishwoman who was emigrating to Australia with her family. Tom was washed ashore and reached the gorge. As morning came, he heard screams of help and rescued a woman who turned out to be Eva. Tom tried to climb out of the gorge but did not succeed on his first attempt. After two or three days, he finally succeeded in scaling the cliff, reach some villagers, and come back with them to rescue Eva. According to local stories, the two survivors were in the news for two or three weeks and were a couple for some time. However, their love story ended when Eva, who had lost her family in the shipwreck, returned to Europe after three months. Some locals believe it was because, Eva, the daughter of a dentist, did not want to settle for a sailor. Tom continued on working as a mariner.
Well, Eva certainly knew her mind at that young, impressionable age!
The Loch Ard gorge looks even more spectacular from below, when you climb down the stairs to the beach.
It is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever visited.
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