Thursday, 4 June 2015

Waratah - Geelong and other searches.

The Advertiser (Adelaide) Thursday 2 September, 1909
The Lund liner Geelong arrived at PortAdelaide on Wednesday morning from Lon-don by the Cape route. After Cape Townwas left a sharp lookout was kept for themissing steamer Waratah, but nothing wasseen of the vessel. Captain Simonds, wheninterviewed, said that the Geelong leftCape Town on August 12. Before sailinghe told the Admiral of the Cape stationthe route that would be followed in orderthat the men-of-war and merchantmen engaged in the search should not cover thesame ground. "When I left," said Captain Simonds, "the Waratah was 15 daysoverdue. I shaped a course along theAgulhas current, and a sharp lookout waskept for the first ten days, a man beingconstantly stationed in the foretop, abovethe crow's nest. My hypothesis was thatthe Waratah would drift along the currentin an easterly direction, and not to thesouth. I therefore kept the Geelong north-ward of our usual course, and on August16 was in 40 deg. east and 40 south, running down to 41 south and 50 east, 42 southand 60 east, while our highest latitude was43.28 on August 24. I reckoned that witha drift of 80 miles a day the Waratahcould not have drifted more than 1503miles. We saw nothing at all. Theweather, during the run was ordinary,the winds changing from west-northwest on August 13 to north-west and west on August 14 and south-west on August 18, with squalls."
What is your opinion about theWaratah? he was asked.
"That she is still afloat, but disabled. Ican conceive no other reason to account forher disappearance. I have had some experience of drifting. I was in the Narrung, under Captain Bond, when that vessel picked up the Boveric, and was also inthe Narrung when she was drifting off theQueensland coast a few years ago. Therewould surely have been some wreckage ifthe Waratah had gone down. I am stillhopeful, and believe she will eventuallybe picked up. The Arawa, of Shaw,Savill line, left Cape Town the day after wedid for Hobart, and will run the eastingdown in 47 'deg."
The president (Mr. John Gordon) of theAdelaide Chamber of Commerce has received the following reply from the Minister for Trade and Customs to a telegram sent by the chamber urging the institutionof a search for the Waratah by the Commonwealth Government:-"I am givingthe matter of the search for the Waratahevery attention, and consulting the Melbourne Chamber and other bodies interested."'
Melbourne, September 1.
The German-Australian line steamerGosland. which arrived at Melbourne to-day from Hamburg via Port Elizabeth,South Africa, kept a keen lookout for theWaratah, but no traces of the missing vessel or signs of wreckage were seen.
Hobart, September I.
The Arrawa arrived to-day on the duedate. Captain Calyden reports havingkept a southerly course and maintained astrict search, but failed to find any traceof the Waratah. He experienced southwesterly breezes from Cape Town to Hobart.
Melbourne, September 1.
The Commonwealth Ministers will probably decide to-morrow to send an expedition in search of the Waratah. The PrimeMinister discussed the matter to-day withhis colleagues and sent certain cable messages to the authorities in South Africa.The reply that may be received to thesemessages will determine the nature andcourse of the expedition. The deputationwhich on Tuesday urged action upon the,Minister of'Customs had another privateinterview with him today. It was explained by him that if a suitable vesselcould be obtained at Durban or Cape Townan expedition would undoubtedly be dis-patched without a day's delay.

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