19 Jun 2023

HMS Buffalo prisoner's family receives his wish 185 years on

From Morning Report, 7:54 am on 19 June 2023

From Whitianga to Canada, a pair of wooden crosses carved from the shipwrecked HMS Buffalo have been returned home to fulfill a 185-year-old wish.

François-Xavier Prieur was one of dozens of rebels against the British rule who were exiled to Australia, as punishment for their part in the Quebec 1837 uprising.

Mr Prieur wrote in his diary aboard the HMS Buffalo, where he endured five months of cramped, unventilated quarters below deck, where prisoners had to fight to survive infestations and diseases.

In his memoir he wrote that he wanted pieces of ship he'd been kept prisoner aboard to be sent home as a reminder of the pain he'd endured.

Marine archaeologist Kurt Bennett helped return the crosses to the family of Mr Prieur in April, as part of the HMS Buffalo Re-examination Project.

He spoke to Corin Dann.