Sunday, 18 October 2015


The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 9 December, 1909.
The Waratah, a handsome specimen of theshipbuilder's art and less than a year old,sailed out of Sydney Harbour on her secondand last homeward voyage on June 26, boundfor London. She made calls en route at Mel-bourne and Adelaide, leaving the first-namedport on July 1, and tho South Australian porton July 7.
On the voyage across the Indian Ocean sheencountered very heavy weather conditions forfour days, and Commander Ilbery remarkedto Mr r C Saunders, a solicitor of Melbourne,who was a passenger to Durban, that "it wasthe worst weather the steamer had ever beenin, and that she had behaved splendidly ". Captain Ilbery repeatedly assured him that theWaratah was everything he could wish, andMr. Saunders, speaking of his own experiencesdeclared that he had no fear for the vessel when she was reported missing.
Mr Morgan, another passenger from Aus-tralia made a similar report He said thatnear Cape Leeuwin the Waratah encounteredvery bad weather, and for four days was subjected to a severe strain. She behaved splendidly, and came through her trying ordealuninjured.
Durban was safely reached on Sunday, July25, one day in advance of schedule time, anda number of passengers embarked and disem-barked. Cargo was also discharged and coaltaken in. Five minutes before the Waratahwas ready to resume her voyage on July 26she was boarded by Captain R Shepherd,one of the Durban pilots, who called to saygood-bye to Captain Ilbery. 
"No question of her stability entered anyone's head at  Durban,". He said when afterwards interviewed about the vessel 'There was no coal above the deck. In fact, the coaling foreman at Durban was loud in his complaints because he was obliged to load his coal all down one hatchway. This points to the fact that all the coal bunkers were full, which would make the vessel more stable. 
Much has been  said about the superstructure of the vessel being top-heavy, but to the main portion of the steamer it bore about the same relation as a hat-box would to a railway porter's trolly. I handled the vessel on her first trip to Durban. There was a high gale of wind blowing, and the  ship drew practically the same draught as when she left on her last voyage, and she showed no signs of instability.
Nothing so powerful as commentary from the time to put skeptical minds at rest!

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