Wednesday, 20 May 2015

CUSHION MARKED WITH A 'W'.

WARATAH MYSTERY
MOSSEL BAY WRECKAGE.
REASSURING VIEW.
SYDNEY, Friday. - Captain Millington,of the Lund steamer Narrung, which isnow in Sydney, was seen today in reference to the cable as to the wreckage on theSouth African coast found at Mossel Bay.
Captain Millington said that no significancecould be attached to the fact that acushion stamped "W" had been found. The furniture of ships belonging to the Lundline was not marked with the initials ofthe steamer. The cushion was nottherefore portion of the furnishings ofthe Waratah. It might, of course, havebeen the property of a passenger on themissing steamship, but Captain Millingtondid not care to express any opinion as tothe wreckage washed ashore.

The discovery of items (including the deck chair at Coffee Bay) onshore thought to have originated from the Waratah, remains one of the significant components of the mystery.
One can either view these findings as red herrings, in no way connected with the Waratah, or evidence that the Waratah foundered off the South African coast.
If the former is true, the items could have been the product of wishful hysteria surrounding the loss of the Waratah. It does, however, raise the question: why were these items not submitted for official examination to verify their origins?
If the latter is true, drawing from the archive material available, it becomes clear that representatives of the Blue Anchor Line were disinclined to acknowledge that the items could have originated from the Waratah. 
Why?
I believe that there was so much 'hype' surrounding the loss of the Waratah and possible causes, that the Lunds pursued an angle of 'we don't know what has become of our steamer'. In so doing, it placed the responsibility in the hands of the Court of Inquiry to establish what had become of the Waratah. With no verifiable physical evidence the Court was obliged to come to the conclusion that the Waratah succumbed to the 'perils of the seas' - i.e. an unavoidable accident at sea. This would remove any culpability from the case.
The frustrating consequence of such an approach removed a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle from the table. If the deck chair found at Coffee Bay originated from the Waratah, this would prove that she had to have foundered further up the coast (prevailing southwesterly Agulhas Current) - Cape Hermes.
If the Lunds had acknowledged the deck chair, through examination, Captain Bruce's (Harlow) account would have taken on a new and highly plausible dimension i.e. the Waratah was attempting to return to Durban. 
But this would have opened a can of worms for the Lunds at the Inquiry.

 This deck chair from the SS France, circa 1909, demonstrates very clearly that the name of the vessel was stamped on the chair. This was common practice!
The deck chair discovered at Coffee Bay, November, 1909, had an allegedly similar plaque with the name 'Waratah' clearly imprinted.
This, readers, is the very crux and proof of the matter. The Waratah must have come about, attempting to return to Durban.
update:
http://waratahrevisited.blogspot.co.za/2016/06/is-there-alternative-to-poenskop.html



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