Suffer the Little Children

At Waterloo Point looking over Great Oyster Bay, a rusted anchor lies beside the memorial to a disaster that occurred 162 years ago in these waters off the east coast of Tasmania.

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In fine weather the ocean looks calm and welcoming but on 5 November 1850 high winds whipped up the waves and the ship “Resolution”, on a journey from Hobart to Swansea, was wrecked. On board the “Resolution” were Thomas Large, his wife Mary Anne and their six children aged from 12 to 2. Mr Large had made plans to develop a brewery in Swansea and the ship was carrying the brewery’s supplies as well as the family.

Thomas and Mary Anne survived the shipwreck but sadly all of the children died of exposure. The Launceston Examiner reported the tragedy on 13 November:

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Eight year old William’s body was never found but the others were recovered and buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Their headstone records the grief of their parents, which was so overwhelming that they left Swansea and returned to Hobart without fulfilling their dream of building a brewery.

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The anchor at the shipwreck memorial belonged to the “Resolution” and it was recovered from the ocean off Waterloo Point in 1982. It was placed on the point in remembrance of the six children who were lost so long ago.

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