Friday, 19 June 2015

Waratah - 'struck something and foundered.'

The Advertiser (Adelaide) Tuesday 10 August 1909
LONDON. August 9.
For several days "The Advertiser" officeand Messrs. George Wills & Co. (the localagents for the vessel) have been inundatedwith enquiries regarding the Waratah, andit is evident that widespread interest isbeing taken in her fate. Messrs. Willsand Co. have prepared a list of friends ofthe passengers, and immediately on receiptof news they will be advised by telephone.Mr. A. J. Bleechmore, the shipping managerfor the firm, paid several visits to theoffices in Grenfell street on Sunday in thehope that some news would be received.With a view to ascertaining the opinionsof those concerned in shipping matters asto what has probably happened, a representative of "The Advertiser" on Mondayinterviewed several Adelaide managers.
A manager of an Adelaide shipping firmwas of a different opinion. He said:-
"I don't want to alarm the friends of thoseon board, but I am still of the opinionentertained from the start, and that is,that she has struck something and foundered in deep water."
Would there not be wreckage along thecoast if the steamer sank in deep water?he was asked. 
"Not necessarily," he said, "because ifrough weather was being experienced at thetime all the boats and other loose fittingswould be lashed down. There have beenwrecks on the Australian coast in deepwater, and no wreckage has come ashore.Then, again, the wreckage might have beencarried seawards." 
It is important to take note of these period, expert comments. This commentator airs two issues:
- wreckage does not necessarily come ashore.- loose fittings are lashed down in rough / changing weather.
Off Port St Johns in the winter months, there is a significant counter current which would take objects out to sea (then caught by the Agulhas Current). If the Waratah foundered off Port St Johns, we cannot assume that debris should have been discovered on the local shores.
                                                               Port St Johns - mouth of the Umzimvubu River

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