Welcome to the Kangaroobie Campground, run by the Bowker family since 1858.
Kangaroobie Camp combines farm, beach and bush with uninterrupted views of the coastline and Gellibrand River from its paddocks.
Nestled on the Great Ocean Road and just a stone’s throw away from the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, Kangaroobie is all things Loch Hart; lazy days and happy nights in the fresh coastal air.
The Bowkers opened Kangaroobie as a camp to provide children with an opportunity to engage with the bush land and animals they may not experience back home. Kangaroobie is home to over 1000 sheep and cows, piglets and a merry band of doggos, and with the Gellibrand River nearby, school groups enjoy the best of the great outdoors when they visit the camp.
Kangaroobie has seen its fair share of tragedy on the Shipwreck Coast. The Bowker’s would often help survivors of nearby wrecks. This includes our heroine Eva Carmichael from the Loch Ard shipwreck.
The camp hosts school children during the year and a large number of animals call this place and the river home, so let’s make sure we respect the space and treat it with care.
THE HISTORY OF SHIPWRECK COVE
Shipwrecks, lost treasures, young love – the Shipwreck Coast is as dramatic and as tragic as a Shakespeare play but that’s why we love it.
There have been over 638 shipwrecks along the stretch of coastline between Cape Otway and Port Campbell, but did you know only 240 of these have been discovered? That’s a lot of potential treasure resting on our ocean beds…
The shipwreck that has really grabbed our attention is that of the Loch Ard, the namesake of the Loch Ard Gorge, and our humble festival. Shipwrecks had been battering the coast since as early as the 1830s so you’d think word would have got out by now to avoid the place, but in March 1878 the Loch Ard set sail for Melbourne from England carrying cargo and 54 crew and passengers and cargo.
The cargo wasn’t just regular cargo; the ship was carrying expensive goods for Melbourne’s extravagant tastes. Perfumes, pianos, clocks and the big-ticket item – a rare porcelain peacock bound for display at the Melbourne International Exhibition.
Tragedy struck towards the end of voyage, when the Loch Ard was just out from Melbourne it ran aground on a reef near Muttonbird Island and quickly sank.
There were only two survivors of the wreck; Tom Pearce, a young apprentice working on the ship, and Eva Carmichael, a passenger. Both were 18 years old. Think you know where this is going?
Tom was washed into the Gorge and saved Eva as she struggled to get to the shore. He somehow managed to scale the steep cliffs of the Gorge, and sought help on what is now the Great Ocean Road.
Tom and Eva quickly became celebrities in Melbourne; the strapping young couple who were the sole survivors of shipwreck – the headline writes itself. The rumour mill was abuzz, what with that night alone on the beach, surely they must marry?
So did they?
Official word is they never saw each other again.
Rumour has it thought that Tom had offered to marry Eva and break off his existing engagement but Eva said they had nothing in common so thought it would be wrong (we sorta can’t blame her with that sort of bombshell).
While Tom and Eva’s relationship didn’t survive the wreck, the porcelain peacock from the cargo hold did. It never made it to the Melbourne Exhibition it was intended for but was found by salvagers and remains on display in the Flagstaff Hill Museum in Warrnambool.
The official story is that there was no romance, and I guess we’ll never know what really happened on that beach. It’s definitely something to ponder as you watch the sunset over the Shipwreck Coast at Loch Hart this summer.