A pair of wooden crosses made from a shipwreck in New Zealand have been sent to Quebec to honour the 185-year-old wish of a francophone man who rebelled against British rule.
François-Xavier Prieur was one of dozens of Patriots who were exiled to Australia aboard the HMS Buffalo as punishment for their part in the 1837-1838 uprising in Lower Canada, now Quebec. He later wrote in his memoir of his desire that pieces of the ship be sent to his home as a reminder of what he had suffered.
Last month, his wish was granted, thanks to a Quebec-Australian film crew and officials in New Zealand, where the HMS Buffalo was wrecked in 1840 shortly after Prieur arrived in Australia, which used to serve as a British penal colony.
Kurt Bennett, who works for Heritage New Zealand and is a member of the HMS Buffalo Re-examination Project, helped organize a ceremony in April to mark the start of the crosses‘ journey to Canada. He said it was an emotional moment, in part because of the attendance of one of the prisoners’ descendants.