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Neva - 13th May 1835 - Convict Ship 224 Lost #maritimehistory

Neva – She was a convict ship that left Cork, Ireland, bound for Sydney, Australia.

On 13 May 1835 she was wrecked on a reef near King Island, Tasmania. 224 people, mainly women and children, were lost.

Her loss was one of the worst shipwrecks in Australian history; 224 lives were lost.

Neva sailed from Cork, Ireland for Sydney on 8 January 1835 carrying 150 female convicts with 33 children, and nine free women (probably wives of convicts) with 22 children, under the care of Surgeon Superintendent John Stephenson, R.N., and 26 crew under the command of Captain Benjamin Peck. With the deaths of a crewman, a convict and a free woman, and one birth, during the voyage, by the time she reached the Australian coastline Neva's total complement was 239.

About 5 a.m. on 13 May 1835 the ship hit a reef northwest of King Island in Bass Strait and broke up rapidly. Many of the women became hopelessly drunk on rum that was being carried as cargo and were unable to save themselves. Twenty-two survivors drifted ashore on the northern end of King Island on two rafts formed by the fore and aft decks of the collapsed ship, but seven of these died of exposure "aided if not abetted by the inordinate use of rum" during the first night ashore. The remaining fifteen survivors, including the captain and the chief officer, lived with local sealer John Scott and his aboriginal wives and children until a fortnight later the schooner Sarah Ann rescued them and then carried them to Launceston.

Image: Convict ship Bound for Australia, the Mount Stuart Elphinstone

More here: Wikipedia

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