Ann Harvey’s Weblog

dedicated to the lives of those lost and retrieved at sea


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Written by annharvey

May 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Compass and Steering ..

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I suggested to Bruce Arnott that every ‘discovery’ regarding this story.. ‘shapes’ the premise of a documentary. He’s a descendant of Mary Arnott who was carried in 1928, through the waves to safety in a shawl.

His research and the existing ‘facts’ and ‘fictions’.. combine with new little gems discovered regarding broad aspects or specific events or people. I’ve created a text ‘timeline’ to help link actual events to known articles, references, stories.

A good example of a topic that needs more research and relevant reference imagery is George Harvey. Every aspect of this story points to a very courageous, capable and resourceful seaman/fisherman who’s children enacted the rescue as he did, while he coordinated surviving crew and ship’s boats as well as ensuring all survivors were cared for on the beach, as well at his home with his wife.

Another example is Wreck Rock, and the sunker, ‘bad neighbor. We’d like to confirm location, get reference imagery. Similarly, the beach & Isle Aux Morts environs. Reference photos.. map this visually.

Moving on to a look at possible media that seem to spring from this story.. here’s a breakdown.

Blog: I’d like this blog to be more ‘story-telling’ visually, from this point. So I want to add a sample ‘page’ and will do so later. The sample will preview a page of a Book, a Scene in a Documentary, a Web Page, and an aspect of a Fictional Feature Film.

Book: Almost a ‘ship’s log’ but very visual, with widescreen, horizontal layout. Light textured paper embossed with entries. Artifacts, text, drawings, interviews, footage, production or research comments, footnotes. The book and documentary are essentially the same ‘document’ ..

Documentary: Widescreen High Definition video. Created at highest attainable resolution with versioning to lower resolution as required. High Definition Public Broadcasters an example. Online delivery another example. DVD or Blue Ray for retail or Institutional distribution. Emulates the Book layout & content.

Web: Again, a reflection of the Book, and the Documentary.. but presents interactivity.

Fiction Feature Film: The actual Historical events are encompassed within a modern scenario that starts in Seattle, Washington with two teenagers, but quickly moves to Newfoundland where a key ‘artist’ character is creating the type of ‘pages’ or ‘scenes’ described above.. When you see the sample page I’m suggesting, think in terms that she created it.

Ambitious.. to imagine 5 distinct media stemming from one story. !!

Written by annharvey

May 26, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Posted in uncategorized


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I came across the story of The Wreck of The Despatch and the rescue efforts of The Harvey Family, in 2007. I was amazed that I’d never heard or read of the story. To date I haven’t found a single person who knows the story.. other than those involved either as descendants, historians, writers, artists, local Newfoundlanders or members of the Steering Committee behind the effort to establish Ann Harvey as a Woman of Historical Significance.

It seemed to me, that a Documentary Film or program might help.. I also started writing a Feature Film Synopsis with a fictional contemporary context and setting, that could encompass the Historical Events at Isle Aux Morts.

Along the way, I began researching the story.. to get a sense of who George Harvey was, the nature of ‘passage’ across the Atlantic in that era, the passengers and crew and ship, Newfoundland and its south coast, the locale of the wreck and rescue effort.. and to reflect the current status of the story.

Creating a Documentary and/or a Film is a major undertaking. If you work backwards, there’s audiences in Canada and the USA, and International audiences in countries such as Ireland and the UK.. perhaps even in other countries the story appeals to. Whether on televisions, via DVD or even online distribution that means ‘partnerships’ and ‘deal-making’. Working further back it means Production Companies and Networks are involved (and lawyers). That all takes MONEY .. Writing, soundtrack, camera work, graphics, photography, editing.. research, liaison, memos, phone calls, more research.

Well.. that’s where I sit today.. at the ‘more research’ stage.. as well as what we call the ‘preliminary development’ stage. Where I’m contacting Film Agents, Production Companies, Talent Agencies, Funding Sources, Networks, Film Boards etc etc. 

I’ve been down this road before.. perhaps not with a story of this significance.. or ‘weight’ .. and in the days and weeks and months to come, I’ll try to maintain a ‘log’ of how it unfolds, who I talked to, their interest or potential involvement. I just had a delightful conversation with Gordon Pinsent’s agent in regard to him being the narrator or even an on-camera host of the documentary.. I’ll update further, as we proceed.

Written by annharvey

May 23, 2008 at 6:22 pm

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Ann Harvey Days

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The second annual “Ann Harvey Days” festival is slated to be held this summer, August 1-4, 2008. Residents and visitors are provided the opportunity to commemorate the life, spirit, and community of Canada’s maritime heroine. Scheduled events offer a chance to pay tribute to the historic events while participating in a variety of fun activities in present-day Isle aux Morts.

Ann Harvey Days 2008

Ann Harvey Days 2007


Written by annharvey

May 7, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Wikepedia re: The Despatch and Ann Harvey

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To supply additional background on the wreck of the brig Despatch in 1828, we thought it would be appropriate to provide Wikepedia’s information on Ann Harvey. It needs updating, as there are inaccuracies.

“Ann Harvey (18111860) was a fisher and rescuer born near the small fishing community of Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland, Canada. Harvey, called “Grace Darling of Newfoundland”, is known for her bravery at the young age of seventeen for rescuing, along with her father, younger brother and a dog, 163 shipwrecked souls from the brig Despatch between the twelfth and fifteenth of July, 1828.

Harvey and her father George were fishing as usual on one early July morning when they made the discovery that would etch Ann forever in Newfoundland history. The Harveys lived, along with one or two other families, on a small, bare, rocky island near Isle aux Morts. George, born in Jersey, moved to Newfoundland with his wife where they had eight children, of whom Ann was the oldest.

That morning, when Ann sighted a keg and a straw bed floating in the turbulent seas, they immediately realized a ship had been wrecked nearby. George and Ann fetched twelve-year-old Tom, George’s oldest son, and their Newfoundland dog, Hairy Man, and launched their punt with little regard for their own safety. On a beach nearby they found six men who had survived the wreck and set out to find more survivors. They found a large group on a tiny island that would be thereafter be known as Wreck Rock. This rock, three miles from shore, was barely large enough to hold the remaining survivors of the thirty or more who had died from exhaustion or washed away and drowned. They got to this small rock by means of a mast they had cut away from the sinking vessel. George could get no closer than 100 feet of the survivors due to the heavy seas. He threw a billet of wood to which the survivors attached a rope and George got his dog to swim for it. Each of the passengers were taken off the rock in this fashion.

Five more of the survivors died on the rock and ten more expired on land after their dramatic rescue. The waves remained merciless the entire time; two babies were swept from their mother’s arms. But over an exhausting three-day period from Sunday morning to Tuesday morning, more than 180 people were saved in this manner by Ann and George.

Their work did not end there, for now the survivors had to be fed. This was a challenge given the high numbers and the limited supplies the tiny community had available. Besides, the nearest merchants were many miles away in Jersey Harbour and Harbour Breton. Although Ann and her family had saved their lives and tried their best to feed and care for the survivors in the intervening days, the would-be immigrants were in a pitiful condition. There were few homes on Dead Island, so the Harveys and some of the survivors built lean-tos for shelter.

When Captain Grant of HMS Tyne arrived about eight days later, after receiving word of the wreck, they found no bread, flour or tea left in the Harvey home, their winter provisions all gone. Grant replenished the food stocks of the Harveys and removed the survivors to St. John’s, where news of the heroism of Ann and her father travelled throughout the island. From Government House, Governor Thomas Cochrane applied to the Royal Humane Society for recognition of the family and a special medal was struck. Lloyd’s of London, the insurance agents, gave the Harveys the then princely sum of 100 pounds.

Ann’s days as a rescuer were not over; ten years later on September 4, 1838, the Rankin was sailing from Glasgow to Quebec and went aground near the same spot as the Despatch. This time she helped save the lives of twenty-five people.

For a time, Ann was know as the “Grace Darling of Newfoundland”, after the English girl who, with her father, saved lives of seamen wrecked on the Northumberland coast. On July 17, 1987, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Ann Harvey was commissioned in memory of Ann’s heroic deeds.”

Source From:

Isle aux Morts

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