Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Waratah - Mr. Hoecter and Mr. Burrin give favourable opinions.

The Mercury, Tuesday 19 April, 1910
O. H. Hoecter of 76 Pitt-street Sydney,says he was a passenger on the first voyage of the Waratah. In his opinion, thevessel behaved splendidly. His conversation with the officers showed their opinion of her was very favourable. She was a very comfortable boat, though he wouldqualify this to the extent that she seemedto roll a good deal, and was slow inrecovering herself.
T. J. Burrin, a pantryman on theWaratah from Sydney to London andback between December 28, 1908, andApril 26, 1909, said he saw nothing unusual in the rolling of the ship. Thelist of the vessel was the only thing outof the ordinary, so far as he knew. Theboats were seaworthy boats, but werenever at any time lifted out of the chocksor hoisted into the davits and lowered.
Mr. Hoecter made an important point. He acknowledged that the Waratah rolled a lot and was slow in recovery. But importantly he presented a perspective that the Waratah was 'comfortable' and 'behaved splendidly'. The rolling pattern of the heavy Waratah did not alarm him in any way at all!
Mr. Burrin went further to suggest that the Waratah's rolling pattern was 'nothing unusual', suggesting that he had had experience with other vessels with similar performance. It is however disturbing to note that the lifeboats were never mobilised. 
Not all passengers on the Waratah feared for their lives!


 

4 comments:

Johan Björklund said...

Not all of them, no. But was it an unusual amount? Or was it common that 50% of the passengers on all ships at the time experienced them as unstable?

andrew van rensburg said...

Johan, my personal feeling is that if the Waratah had not disappeared, the 50% would probably have dropped to < 10%. There was great drama to have been a passenger on the ill-fated Waratah.

Johan Björklund said...

Maybe and maybe not. But I don't really understand why you're pushing that the Waratah would not be unstable. The fire/explosion theory can very well stand on it's own legs nevermind any stability issues.

andrew van rensburg said...

I agree, Johan, the Harlow theory is independent of stability issues. I guess I am trying, like everyone else interested in the Waratah, to find the truth about the ship, rather than the hype and hysteria from the time. Also, if the Waratah, suitably loaded and ballasted, was not top heavy unstable when she went to sea, I feel that it is unfair that she be labelled a top heavy vessel. We have to be damn sure about that, otherwise her legacy will be tainted.