Oxfordshire Family History Society has been sent the following news:
Were people from your village or family among the 400 fatalities in Australia’s biggest peacetime disaster?
On 20 April 1845 the Cataraqui ship left Liverpool with emigrants bound for Melbourne. A quarter of the 369 passengers were from Oxfordshire. Many were poor families “encouraged” to take assisted emigration under a Poor Law amendment. Close to its destination, on 4 August, the Cataraqui was shipwrecked on King Island in the Bass Straits (between Tasmania and mainland Australia). Only 9 survived – mainly crew. The outcry which followed resulted in Australia’s first lighthouses.
The following Oxon villages and families had people who died in the Cataraqui disaster, including 58 children:
Chesterton (Andrews); Fringford (Cotterill, White); Fritwell (Rutter); Great Haseley (Knott); Kiddington (Savings, Simmonds); Rousham (Walton); Stoke Lyne (Loveridge); Stonesfield (Barrett, Oliver, Rolling); Tackley (Cook, Drinkwater, Floyd, Harwood, Hoare, Knibbs, Merry, Payne, Ryman, Savings); Wootton (Bishop).
Find out more about this piece of local history and its 175th anniversary commemorations at https://www.tackleyhistory.org.uk/
Come to a talk Mon 6 April, at 8:15pm in Tackley Village Hall OX5 3AH; given by Neil Wilson & Rachel Strachan.
“Shipwreck off Tasmania: the loss of 42 impoverished migrants from Tackley – 175 years on”.
There’ll be a commemorative service on Sunday 19 July in Tackley for all the Oxon villages and families involved; contact Tackley Local History Group via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to King Island to join their commemorations 1-5 August, see the wreck site and artefacts. Contact email@example.com.