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Photograph of a Dunbar monument

Date: 20 August 1857
Overall: 100 x 64 x 1 mm
Medium: Paper, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00026194
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Sydney,

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    A photograph of the monument and burial of the Waller family at St Stephens Cemetery at Camperdown. The headstone features a model of the DUNBAR sinking at sea. The reverse reads "Uncle and Aunt Waller and family of six victims of the Dunbar Ausgust 20th 1857'. This photograph was found inside a book entitled: 'A narrative of the melancholy wreck of THE DUNBAR Merchant ship, on the South Head of Port Jackson, August 20th, 1857'. Hanna was the daughter of the prominent minister inTasmania, Henry Dowling.

    HistoryFrom an article published by, "Old Chum", The Truth, 10 and 31 May 1925, came the following description of the funeral ceremonies:
    "Long before the hour of the funeral, the shops and places of business, and those in nearly all the side streets were closed, and the footway on both sides of George Street, from Campbells Wharf to Park Street, three-quarters of a mile, was crowded with citizens whose faces indicated the sympathy and sorrow with which they felt at heart.

    It was estimated that there were upwards of twenty thousand people lining George Street. The first funeral was that of Mrs Hanna Maria Waller and Mary Dowling Waller, her eldest daughter, who were found washed up in Middle Harbour. The procession consisted of a hearse, two morning coaches and a number of private carriages. About 3.30pm, the hearse containing the remains of Mr P Downey, a well respected architect, slowly passed down King Street. The cortege consisted of three morning coaches and about forty private carriages. As the hearse passed around the corner into George Street, the people raised their hats and showed every manifestation of the respect to the remains of one so well known. Then followed the funeral of Mr Myers' children - a hearse and single morning coach - diffusing a sad and melancholy feeling throughout the beholders. Mr and Mrs Myers and six children were aboard the Dunbar although it was unknown how many of the children's bodies were recovered.

    At 5pm, the main funeral procession moved slowly forward, conveying to their last resting place the strangers who almost at the termination of their voyage, had been thrust out on that wild and unknown sea that rolls around the world - eternity. The long line of hearses, seven in number, slowly proceeded along with solemn and mournful sounds of music. Six hearses were followed by an open hearse in which was the casket containing the body of Captain Steane of the Royal Navy. Captain Steane's hearse was followed by officers and sailors of HMS Herald and Isis. Then came four morning coaches, in the foremost of which was Mr Johnson, the sole survivor of the disaster; a detachment of artillery, a body of police, the carriage of Stuart Donaldson, Colonial Treasurer and other dignitaries. Mounted police formed a guard of honour alongside the carriages. Private carriages followed and then six closed carriages conveying public men.

    The procession reached Camperdown Cemetery a little before 7pm. A single grave was dug for the reception of the unidentified remains, and here again, the sight was very mournful. Darkness had fallen over the scene and, despite the moon; it became necessary to use torches, which gave the melancholy proceeding a very weird and ghostly aspect.

    The remains of Captain Steane were buried in a separate grave. The six hearses were drawn up one by one, to the gravesite. At the head of the grave stood the sole survivor, Johnson. The remains were then deposited into the grave. Reverend Charles Campbell Kemp, Rector of St Stephen's, then read the funeral service. A Memorial Service has been held annually by the Rector of St Stephen's in respect for those drowned and to mark the enormity of the tragedy, even today.

    The enormity of the disaster may be formed from the fact that 37,000 copies of the two daily papers, Sydney Morning Herald and Empire, containing the particulars of the wreck, were sold on Saturday August 22 before 9pm."


    Kilner Waller, his wife Hannah Maria (nee Dowling, Dowling's were prominent Baptists, publishers and businessmen in Launceston, Tasmania from 1830 until 1900, originating from Colchester in Essex, England), and their six children were sailing from Portsmouth in England to Sydney to re-establish themselves there. They had lived in Launceston from 1842 until about 1852, when they returned to England living at least part of the period from 1853 until 1857 in Spring Grove. Kilner Waller is mentioned in the testimony given by the only survivor from the wreck of the DUNBAR at the coronial inquest. He is described as leading daily bible readings on deck during the voyage. As mentioned his letters on emigration were widely published in the Launceston Examiner, the Sydney Morning Herald and in England. The six children ranged in age from 3 to 13 and were called Mary, Edward, Kate, Maria, Arthur and John.

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