Historical information

This fork was recovered from the wreck of the Loch Ard. It is the Old English design that has been very popular since the 19th century. It has been restored to resemble its original state prior to the disaster in 1878.

The for was originally plated with silver, which is when a base metal such as nickel or nickel alloy with copper and/or zinc has been plated or coated with a thin layer of silver. Wear on the metal will cause the base metals to appear through the silver plating. Some manufacturers gave a warranty that the cutlery was ‘white throughout’ but didn’t necessarily say it was solid silver.

LOCH ARD 1873-1878 –

The Scottish-built clipper ship Loch Ard was bound for Melbourne in 1878 with 54 people on board. The mixed cargo it carried included items for the 1880 International Exhibition in Melbourne, one of which was the now famous Majorca ware Minton ‘Peacock’ statue.

The Loch Ard was wrecked on June 1st when the ship crashed into Mutton Bird Island, east of Port Campbell. The only survivors were Tom Pearce, a crew member, and Eva Carmichael, a young passenger who was rescued by Pearce. The Gibsons, owners of nearby Glenample Homestead, cared for Tom, and for Eva who stayed longer before returning to Ireland.

The wreck of the Loch Ard was discovered in 1967, before the introduction of the Victorian historic shipwreck legislation. In 1969 it was decided that all recovered material should be lodged with the Receiver of Wrecks. In 1980 Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum Divers received a permit to recover artefacts from the wreck to safeguard them from looters. In 1982 the site was listed as a Historic Shipwreck, and the Maritime Archaeology Unit recovered loose artefact material.

Significance

The fork is recognised as being historically significant as an example of cutlery either as part of the flatware service of the ship ‘Loch Ard’ or part of the ship’s cargo, imported for use in Colonial Victoria in the 19th to early 20th century.

Flagstaff Hill’s collection of artefacts from LOCH ARD is significant for being one of the largest collections of artefacts from this shipwreck in Victoria. It is significant for its association with the shipwreck, which is on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR S417). The collection is significant because of the relationship between the objects, as together they have a high potential to interpret the story of the LOCH ARD.

The LOCH ARD collection is archaeologically significant as the remains of a large international passenger and cargo ship. The LOCH ARD collection is historically significant for representing aspects of Victoria’s shipping history and its potential to interpret sub-theme 1.5 of Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes (living with natural processes). The collection is also historically significant for its association with the LOCH ARD, which was one of the worst and best known shipwrecks in Victoria’s history.

Physical description

Fork; silver plated. The fork is the Old English design and is embossed with several marks. it has recently been restored.

Inscriptions & markings

3 letters within an oval (- - S)
4 letters within circles (E) (P) (N) (S)
1 letter within a shield appears to be a [B]