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Together again, the heron and the peacock

Two rare porcelain pieces have been reunited for perhaps the first time since they were washed ashore with the Loch Ard shipwreck in 1878.

The Loch Ard was carrying a huge variety of cargo when it ran aground including a consignment of showcase pieces from the Minton potteries in England that were bound for the Melbourne International Exhibition.

Among the pieces was the famous Loch Ard Peacock, now permanently displayed at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and a Minton heron, both designed by French artist Paul Comlera.

“It is believed that this heron, acquired in 2007 with the assistance of the G.M. and E.J. Jones Foundation, A.L. Lane Foundation, Ray and Joyce Uebergang Foundation, Warrnambool City Council and Les and Elizabeth O’Callaghan, is the one that was aboard the Loch Ard,” Warrnambool Mayor Cr Tony Herbert said.

“The heron is usually housed at the Warrnambool Art Gallery but while Council is upgrading the gallery’s climate control system the heron is on loan to Flagstaff Hill and is currently displayed alongside the Loch Ard Peacock.

“It’s a great opportunity to see both pieces together and we’re fortunate that in Flagstaff Hill and the WAG we have two nationally accredited museums able to display rare and valuable items.”

Also on show at Flagstaff Hill is an oil painting, The Scene of the Wreck of the Loch Ard by Frederick Horatio Bruford.

Bruford was the Customs Officer at the time of the wreck and also a keen artist.

While taking a log of the cargo which had washed ashore from the Loch Ard he made a number of sketches and studies of the scene.

This is the only known depiction of the wreck by an eye witness. A heron is depicted in the foreground of the painting.

Scene of the Wreck of the Loch Ard is also on loan from Warrnambool Art Gallery.

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