Stories of Girls Making a Difference

Biography of Ann Harvey

Painting of her little girl with a black dog

Name: Ann Harvey
Date: 1811 - 1860
Role: Heroine
Girlhood achievement: Rescuing 168 passengers from a sinking ship

On July 10, 1828, the British ship Despatch was blown off course near Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland, crashing into Wreck Rock. The ship carried more than 200 people. In the early morning light, Ann Harvey, her father George and her younger brother caught sight of the survivors clinging to the rock. Over a three-day period, the Harveys and their dog succeeded in saving 168 people.

Ann's heroic streak didn't end there! In 1838, Ann and her father rescued another 25 crew members from the sinking Rankin.

Ann and her family received 100 gold coins, a medal and a hand-written note from King George IV. George Harvey gave the medal to Ann, believing they would have never saved so many lives if not for her determination. On June 1, 2006, Ann and Séamus, a chamber opera based on an award-winning narrative poem about Ann and her exploits, opened in St. John's. Each year, "Ann Harvey Days" are celebrated on Isle aux Morts.

Ann Harvey – a history-making Canadian girl and a great Canadian woman!

Photo credit: Geoff Butler (from Heroes of Isle aux Morts by Alice Walsh)

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