Historical information

According to Lloyds Shipping Register 1837-1839, the CHILDREN was built in 1825 at Liverpool and operated by owners Gordon & Co, of London. London registered number 123/1837. James Henty then bought her in 1837 as a three-masted barque of 254 tons, with a hull of “part pitch pine, felt sheathed” and “coppered 1837”. Launceston registered number 6/1837. In 1838 the CHILDREN, under her master Captain H. Browne, completed a successful round trip from Launceston to London (carrying wool and whale oil loaded in Portland), returning in late November of that year (carrying a general cargo including the house bricks).
On the 11th January 1839, the CHILDREN sailed from Launceston for Adelaide, with 24 passengers, 14 crew, and an awkward mixed cargo, including 1500 sheep, 8 bullocks, 7 horses, and farming implements, and six whaleboats with associated whaling gear. One account states that when the CHILDREN “put out from port she was light and badly ballasted”. The vessel immediately encountered four days of hurricane force storms, eventually clearing on the early morning of the 14th to “west force 10”, but too late to take accurate measurements of the sun or stars to establish their position relative to the coast.
The CHILDREN collided with a limestone stack at the entrance of Childers Cove, and the seas smashed her into pieces within half an hour. All the cargo and 16 lives were lost (including 8 children). The Hentys contributed £150 towards a fund for the 22 survivors at a memorial service held in Launceston later that year.
It was a major financial setback for the Henty’s, but one from which they recovered. In a submission to the Governor of New South Wales dated 24 March 1840, the Henty’s summarised their work over the previous six years of settlement: “Six stations have been occupied, one at Portland Bay…three at the open country about 60 miles inland called ‘Merino Downs’…They have erected two houses at Portland Bay and two others at Merino Downs”.


The shipwreck of the CHILDREN is of State significance ― Victorian Heritage Register S116

Physical description

Fired brick from the wreck of the Children,