Museum to feature shipwreck of 1855

The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney is preparing an exhibit to feature a shipwreck of Mormon immigrants in the 19th century - the bark Julia Ann, which broke apart on a reef near the Society Islands in 1855.

Ambitious plans are also being made to eventually raise the wreckage and include it in the display.Of all the ships that carried Mormon immigrants from 1840-1890, the Julia Ann was the only ship to wreck. Some 85,000 converts crossed the ocean safely to take part in the gathering of Saints to the Great Basin. The Julia Ann carried 28 LDS immigrants, including two returning American missionaries. Five of the immigrants perished in the wreck, including three children. Survivors said the courage and presence of mind of the captain prevented a much greater loss of life in a nearly hopeless situation.

The seaworthy, well-run ship was destroyed when it hit a reef that was mapped 12 miles off its true location.

This 141-year-old-tragedy has intrigued the curator of the Australian National Maritime Museum of Sydney, who hopes to feature the incident in a major exhibit of Australian-United States shipping links of the 19th century. Not just the wreck, but the very voyage was unusual in the history of Australia. While thousands of people immigrated to Australia in the 19th century, the LDS converts are among the very few who emigrated from that land.

The curator, Paul F. Hundley, is searching for descendants of the ship's survivors in hopes of locating a sketch of the Julia Ann, letters or journals about the vessel and its crew that would be of interest.

"Family members have precious artifacts including a hollowed-out coconut shell used by their great-grandparents, Charles and Rosa Clara Logie

two survivorsT as a drinking vessel during the several weeks they spent on an uninhabited coral atoll waiting for rescue," said Marjorie B. Newton, an Australian LDS historian who is working with Mr. Hundley.

"We are wondering if descendants of other survivors have similar family treasures."

In addition to the museum exhibit, Mr. Hundley has plans to mount an underwater archeological expedition to raise the wreck, and to search the barren island in search of artifacts from the survivors' two months there. He has aerial infra-red photographs of the coral atoll where the Julia Ann foundered, and believes he has located the wreckage.

"Between LDS records and consular records, we are fairly sure we have a complete list of all the passengers and the three LDS crew members who were working their passages," said Mr. Hundley. He will visit Salt Lake City in May and would like to meet descendants of the passengers.

Latter-day Saints in the wreck include: Andrew and Elizabeth Anderson and children Elizabeth, Jane, Agnes, Alexander, Marian, John, Andrew, Joseph and James; Charles and Rosa Clara Logie and their daughter, Annie Augusta; John and Elizabeth Penfold and sons Peter and Stephen; Martha Humphreys and children Eliza, Mary and Frank; Eliza Harris, daughter Maria and infant son Lister; John McCarthy; John Pegg; and returning missionaries John S. Eldredge and James Graham. Drowned in the wreck were Mary and Martha Humphreys, Eliza Harris and her infant son, Lister; and Marian Anderson, age 10.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Marjorie Newton, care of the Public Affairs Office, P.O. Box 350, Carlingford, NSW., Australia 2118, or by e-mail to

A non-member descendant of the Humphreys family from Australia now living in California, Barbara DeBernardo, is also seeking to contact descendants of orphans Eliza and Frank Humphreys.

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