The barque Neva departed Cork, Ireland on Jan. 8, 1835 bound for Sydney carrying 26 crew, 9 emigrant
passengers and in the hold 155 female convicts and 55 children. The conditions for the women and children in
the hold below can only be described as barbaric and insanely cruel. After over four months their hell was just
beginning. As the Neva approached King Island, between Tasmania and Australia, on May 14, 1835 a storm drove the Neva on to the rocks in the Bass Strait.
Her rudder was torn off and the Neva was now at the mercy of the sea. She was repeatedly dashed against
the rocks for over four hours. During the disaster the stanchions broke open and the prisoners and children
from below rushed up on the deck in a panic, after which most were washed overboard. The ship finally could
take no more and she broke up and sank. It is thought that 22 people survived the sinking, drifting around on
pieces of the wreck but only fifteen ever made it to King Island, two hundred and thirty were killed.
Among the survivors were the captain and the first mate and when they arrived on the island to their surprise
they found a crew from another ship that had been wrecked. They were all picked up about a month later by
a passing ship. During the court inquiry the captain was cleared of any responsibility for the wreck.