Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Waratah - Captain Ilbery, supreme.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 4 August, 1909

Commander Ilbery, of the Waratah, is thecommodore of the Blue Anchor fleet, and is oneof the most popular and trusted master mariners engaged in the Australian trade. His personal friends number hundreds in all the ports of the Commonwealth, and he enjoys the complete confidence of his owners. 
Captain H. C. Kent, writing in reference to Commander Ilbery, says:-
"The Waratah is commanded byone who has (with one exception) made moretrips to Australia from the old country thanany commander. He certainly possesses therecord of having been half a century in oneemploy, and commanded 13 of their steam-ships, one after the other, in addition toone sailing ship in the China trade. The firstwas the Dalcomyn, of 2600 tons, and the lastis the Waratah. He is a splendid specimenof the 'ancient mariner' class, and thoroughlyenjoys a yarn about the old sailing ship days,but can tell no tales of shipwreck or disaster,as his has been a career (with one slightexception) of smooth sailing throughout. Hepoints with pride to the long list of steam-ships he has commanded, and claims to be theoldest sea captain afloat."
"After he had been eight years in the shipMikado the Lund line built a ship called theSerapis, and Captain Ilbery sailed her untilthe steamer Dalcomyn was launched. Then hetook charge of her in the Sydney trade. Thiswas the beginning of the Blue Anchor line,and Captain Ilbery took each following steameras she came off the stocks: The Yeoman,Hubbock, Riverina, Culgoa, Woolloomooloo,Warrigal, Warrnambool, Narrung, Common-wealth, Geelong, and Waratah. When one considers that this popular skipper has commanded each one of these vessels between the years 1880 and 1909, and that he has been at sea since the year 1857, and never had anaccident worthy of the name, we must allow that his career as a seaman is unique."
"Fifty-two years at sea and 36 years incommand without disaster is a record to beproud of, and one cannot speak or write ofCaptain Ilbery without feeling that he hasevery right to be looked upon as a marinerwho has done well in upholding the dignityof the British flag, and left his mark on theannals of notable British mariners."

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