Thursday, 14 January 2016


Kalgoorlie Miner, Wednesday 22 September, 1909.
July 27, at a distance of 180 miles from Durban, she passed a steameron fire, which afterwards blew up.
Newspaper reports were prone to error and the distance between Cape Hermes is not 180 miles. The Harlow account never presented a scenario in which the Harlow passed the Waratah.
As the Waratah left Durban on July28, the owners do not believe that,she was the vessel destroyed by fire,though, of course, some mistake mayhave been made in the date of July27, given by the Harlow. 
If this paragraph is accurate, it is outrageous that the owners attempted to plant a seed of confusion, quoting that the Waratah departed Durban, 28 July! Accuracy of the statement is enhanced by the writer placing emphasis on the Harlow date, 27 July, which in his or her opinion was probably the incorrect date. However, 28 July was the mistake, not 27 July. I have the distinct impression, during the first months succeeding the loss of the Waratah, the Lunds made every conceivable effort to deflect attention away from the possibility their flagship was blown to smithereens.
The general feeling at Lloyd's is one of scepticism about the whole story.
It is alarming that Lloyd's adopted this approach to the Harlow account. As a neutral body it was their duty to keep an open mind to all possibilities. The fact that William Lund was a member of the Board of Lloyd's Register and Chairman of the Classification Committee, could not possibly have had anything to do with this unfounded response..... Seen further on the matter yesterday, the owners of the Waratah stated that she carried nothing of a particularly inflammable nature. Her cargo consisted chiefly of frozen carcasses and flour.
There was general consensus among expert mariners of the time that boilers could explode. This had nothing to do with cargo flammability. If there was a fire on board there would have been even further reason for explosions eg. coal dust in bunkers.
Reuter's correspondent at Durbanechoes the scepticism expressed atLloyd's. He states that the Harlowarrived at Durban on July 28, and remained there till July 31, and yetno one on board of her said a word about having seen a steamer on fireon July 27, or about having witnessed her explosion.
The Reuter's correspondent made a valid point. But no attempts were made to find out the reasons for the Harlow crew not reporting what they had seen, or thought they had seen. After all, it would have made for a dramatic tale in the Officers' Mess. An assumption was made that none of the crew had taken the incident seriously. No allowance was made for the very real possibility that the crew did not wish to report the incident, because the very first question confronting them could have been  'Why did you not go back to investigate??'
The same correspondent says that in any case the vessel so destroyed, supposing there was such a vessel,could not have been the Waratah,which was sighted by the Guelph after the date mentioned in the story from Manila.
The Guelph sighting was a vital link in the Lunds' defence armour. It was never used (in the context of period reports) to establish why the Waratah could have been 8 hours behind schedule. It was only used as a tool to destroy the Harlow account.
I'm sure we can all figure this out for ourselves.

most likely last position of the Waratah.

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