Loch Ard Gorge
The gorge is named after the clipper ship Loch Ard, which ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island on 1 June 1878 approaching the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne. Of the fifty-four passengers and crew, only two survived: Tom Pearce, at 19 years of age, a ship’s apprentice, and Eva Carmichael, an Irishwoman emigrating with her family, at 19 years of age. According to memorials at the site, Pearce was washed ashore, and rescued Carmichael from the water after hearing her cries for help. Pearce then proceeded to climb out of the gorge to raise the alarm to local pastoralists who immediately set into plan a rescue attempt. After three months in Australia Carmichael returned to Europe. Four of her family members drowned that night. Pearce was hailed as a hero, and continued his life living until age 49. He is buried in Southampton, England.
The arch of the nearby Island Archway collapsed in June 2009. The feature now appears as two unconnected rock pillars. They have since been officially named Tom and Eva after the two teenage survivors of the Loch Ard shipwreck.
The gorge is accessed via the Great Ocean Road, 3.5 km northwest of The Twelve Apostles. Stairs allow visitors access to the beach and a pathway allows access to the eastern side of the gorge. There are numerous plaques and a small museum detailing the site’s history, as well as a rest area, and cemetery housing many of the people that died.
This was the location for a number of scenes of the 1982 film The Pirate Movie and also the 1999 TV series Journey to the Center of the Earth with Treat Williams. The uncommon rufous bristlebird (Dasyornis broadbenti) is often observed around the Gorge. It served as the finish line for the third series of the Amazing Race Australia.
Visitor attractions on the Great Ocean Road
- “THE LOCH ARD COAST REVISITED”. Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil. XIV (203). Victoria, Australia. 10 March 1886. p. 39. Retrieved 9 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- McNaught, Megan (11 June 2009). “Island Archway near Loch Ard Gorge loses its archway”. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- “Latest News”. The Official Website of The Geelong Otway Tourism Region of The Great Ocean Road. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
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