Only Two

Loch Ard Gorge, Victoria Australia [Google Maps]

We were driving the Great Ocean Road, and the name of this tourist attraction intrigued us.

When we discovered the story of Loch Ard Gorge, sadness and inspiration gripped us.

‘You have to write this one.’

So I started the long process of research to turn the event of the loss of the Loch Ard into this historical fiction novel, Only Two. The list of many of my resources is at the bottom of this page.

Only two

It’s 1878 and Eva Carmichael is excited to begin her new life in Australia. Her parents and five of her siblings are with her on board the Loch Ard from London, which after three months at sea is just one day’s sail from Melbourne. But late into that last night, the Loch Ard strikes rocks and sinks and all perish except Eva and a midshipman, Tom Pearce. These teenagers face a gritty struggle for survival on the wreckage-strewn shore of a remote gorge. Yet, after a dramatic rescue by a local farmer, the two young people find they must then tackle grief and growth as overnight they become inspirational but unwilling heroes across Australia and around the world.

Some stories are lost to the ravages of time… this one will not be.

In Only Two, you’ll meet the two heroes Eva Carmichael and Tom Pearce. You’ll meet Eva’s family, Captain Gibb and ‘Straz’. You’ll meet the Gibsons who helped rescue Tom and Eva, and who raise the alarm to the authorities. And you’ll discover how Tom and Eva live out their lives and the strange twist that really happened with Tom with a connection to someone beyond the sea grave.

The Loch Ard – 1873–1878
Excerpt from page 5 of the Argus, Monday 3 June 1878 (Note the misspelling of Tom’s name. Later corrected.)


News was received in Melbourne yesterday of a terrible marine disaster – the loss of the ship Loch Ard, from London to Melbourne, when within one day’s sail of her destination. The intelligence was contained in the following brief telegram to the chief harbourmaster, Captain Payne, from Mr. M. Gibson, a resident at Glenample, Curdie’s Inlet, sent via Camperdown :- “Camperdown, 9 a.m. The ship Loch Ard was wrecked off this coast last night. All hands and passengers are supposed to be lost, except Miss Eveline Carmichael and Tom Pearson [sic] (midshipman), who swam ashore. The place of the wreck is about one mile east from the Sherbrooke. I hope protection will be given from wreckers.”

Eva Carmichael and Tom Pearce 1878 [State Library of Victoria]

(Because weblinks have lives of their own, they are not listed as web addresses here.)

  • Ancestry dot com dot au
  • Bureau of Meteorology (Australia) Climate and Ocean Data Services
  • Clipper Ship by John O’Hara Cosgrave II
  • Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail by Sam Jefferson
  • Dictionary of Disasters at Sea by Charles Hocking F.L.A.
  • Environment dot gov dot au: wreck dive information
  • Find My Past dot com dot au
  • Google images
  • Google maps
  • Museums Victoria
  • National Library of Australia Trove, for example:
    • The Age newspaper (Melbourne)
    • The Argus newspaper (Melbourne)
    • The Ballarat Courier newspaper (VIC)
    • The Ballarat Star newspaper (VIC)
    • The Geelong Advertiser newspaper (VIC)
    • The Herald newspaper (Melbourne)
    • The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper (NSW)
  • Newspapers dot com
  • The Times newspaper (London)
  • Out at Sea: The Emigrant Afloat by P.B. Chadfield
  • Public Record Office London
  • State Library of Victoria
  • Thames Tugs dot co dot UK
  • The Otways by Trevor Pescott
  • Three Daws dot co dot UK
  • To Auckland by the Ganges by Robert M. Grogans
  • Victorian Collections dot net dot au has an excellent diagram of the Loch Ard
  • Wikipedia, (please be aware that Wikipedia is ‘crowd sourced’ and not all information within it is factually accurate and is often edited). Some pages used as base research were:
    • Thomas Richard Pearce (Wikipedia page says he was born in Ireland but other ancestry research – including his promotion certificates – name Melbourne)
    • Loch Ard Gorge
    • Loch Ard (ship)
    • SS Gothenburg

Buy ONLY TWO here