The Brigantine Kate Kearney 1870
Oil on canvas
34.5 x 47 cm
Inscribed with title on the stretcher
Len and Alma Barton, Sydney, by descent until 2007
The Brigantine Kate Kearney was built in 1854. It was owned by Captain Thomas A. Lake and was used to trade goods, such as wool, hides, flour, copper and coconut oil between Australia, New Zealand, South Sea Islands, Solomon Islands and Fiji. She capsized in terrible storms off Cooktown in 1884.
The ship attracted considerable attention in January 1882 when its crew discovered the remains of Mrs Mary Watson, her baby son and her Chinese houseboy on an island. The trio had been missing for three months after fleeing from their home on Lizard Island after being attacked by mainland aborigines. Mrs Watson’s diary, found by her body, detailed the group’s ordeal and their slow dehydration. She was just twenty one years old