Monday, 2 November 2015



History of the ship to the end of her first voyage. 

The contract for the building of the "Waratah" was arranged in September, 1907. The price was to be £139,900, delivery to be made within twelve months from the 16th September. There was a penalty of £50 a day for non-delivery. 

The owners intended her to be an improved "Geelong," the previous addition to the Blue Anchor fleet, and the specification for the new vessel was based upon the existing specification of the "Geelong." Rough sketches were drawn out by the owners' representatives showing the general arrangement of the ship wanted, and the subdivision of the holds. These sketches were sent to various builders as a guide to quote upon, and they were asked to draw out plans on the basis of the sketches. The plans selected as best fulfilling the owners' requirements were from a builder whose tender was not accepted; but these plans were forwarded to Messrs. Barclay. Curle, who built the ship. The plans so sent were two in number. They were: 

1. plan showing 

(a) spar deck, 

(b) bridge, poop, and forecastle, 

(c) promenade deck, and 

(d) boat deck; 

2. outline elevation of the vessel. 

On the basis of these plans, the dimensions there shown, and the required draught, Messrs. Barclay, Curle got out a set of lines for the vessel. 

She was to be built to Lloyd's Rules (1907-1908) for the 100 A1 spar-deck class with freeboard. The minimum freeboard when fully loaded to 30 feet 4 1/2 inches mean draught was 8 feet 1 inch. She was a larger ship than was contemplated by those rules, and her scantlings were practically the same as those for the three-deck class. 

It is interesting to note that the specifications of the Waratah were based on the existing Geelong. The Geelong had two superstructure decks, whereas the Waratah, three. The Waratah was 465 ft in length compared to the Geelong's 450 ft. and the Waratah's breadth, 59.45 ft. compared to the Geelong's 55 ft., which gives us an overall increase of roughly 14% in the Waratah's hull dimensions (hull depth same for both vessels - 38.5 ft.). The Waratah's net tonnage was 6004 tons, compared to the Geelong's 5030 tons, an increase of 16%. Clearly, in the case of the Waratah, there was a need for significantly increased cargo carrying capacity relative to the marginally larger hull dimensions. This is a red flag moment suggesting that the Waratah was expected to carry larger cargo loads than could be reasonably expected for her size. 

Further to this, the company whose plans were accepted did not win the tender to build the Waratah. This suggests that Barclay, Curle and Co, agreed to build the Waratah as per these specifications, for a significantly reduced price of 139 900 pounds, which, if one compares with equivalent passenger / cargo steamers of the time, was considerably less than the average of 160 000 pounds. The scene was set for the construction of a steamer which would be expected to transport too much cargo for her size, and a budget which could quite possibly have led to build quality shortcuts and problems.

To make matters more confusing, the Waratah was built for the 100 A1 spar-deck class, although she had three superstructure decks and corresponding scantlings. It seems the Lunds were determined to get the most for their budget, even if it came to an ambiguous Lloyd's classification. However, construction went ahead and the Lloyd's assessors seemed happy with overall progress and the completed product. Does make one wonder, though.....

I shall explore the issue of scantlings in more detail in coming posts.

where did the forward funnels go in this image???

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