Sunday, 16 February 2014

Waratah - 'propeller chipped off'?


Melbourne. August 13. 1909.

"Despite the rough weather experienced
by the Marere and without doubt also by
the Waratah, Captain Firth, of the former
vessel, expresses himself as certain of the
Waratah's safety."

"It could not have sucked her down," he
said to-day. "She is too big, too strong.
too well found, and too well manned for

"My firm belief is that the storm
chipped off one of her propellers, like an
apple from a tree, and Captain Ilbery has
had to try to make headway with the other."

"The result has been that that has been
overstrained and gone, too. The disabled
Waratah has been drifting, and I am sure
is still drifting slowly, very slowly, for at
this time of the year the Agulhas current
is at its weakest, and she might not be carried
along at as much as ten miles a day."

"She will be found to the south-west under
those conditions, for at that rate of drift it
would take her days and days to reach the
eastern trend of the current."

"Sooner or later the Waratah is sure to be found."

What emerges from many of these newspaper cutting reports by masters of other vessels is the almost uncompromising confidence in the seaworthiness of the Waratah and the competence of her crew. The 'experts' of the time believed there had to be another explanation for the missing Waratah other than foundering in bad weather.

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