Thursday, 14 January 2016


The Adcvertiser (Adelaide) Saturday 14 August, 1909.
Melbourne, August 13. -
Captain F. Chrimes. of the Lund steamerPolyphemus, is emphatic in his convictionthat the Waratah is not lost. "I thinkI can gauge what has happened to theWaratah," he said to-day. "Probably a bigsea damaged the ship's rudder, which, asit was torn away, broke one of her twinscrews, leaving the vessel helpless."
Why helpless, when she has anotherscrew? he was asked.
"Without a rudder the other screw wouldnot help the ship," he replied. "It is aquestion of mechanics. The remainingscrew would form what is known as a'couple'-that is to say, an equal and opposite parallel force, whose resultant wouldtend to drive the ship in a circle, and until a jury-rudder was rigged up the screwwould be useless. A complete illustrationof what I mean will be conveyed by theidea of somebody trying to propel a rowing boat with one oar. The fact of thematter is that the disablement of one screwplus the loss of the rudder really rendersthe undamaged screw useless until a balancing force on the other side is rigged up.
"I will not believe for a moment thatthe Waratah is lost,'' he said. "I am aspositive as I am that my own ship is safelyberthed that she is afloat. If her boilershad burst, thousands of tons of wreckagewould be floating about, and to imagineshe has been swamped is quite ludicrousto my mind."
Captain Chimes represented the Blue Anchor Line and like his employers, the Lunds, he was 'emphatic' that the Waratah had not foundered, fueling futile hope of successful searches.
It is interesting to note that if the Waratah had indeed blown up astern of the Harlow, there should have been 'thousands of tons of wreckage' about. Whatever accounted for the flashes of light, explosions remain highly unlikely.
Captain Chimes took the propaganda PRO stance too far by declaring that the Waratah could not have been swamped. Every effort was made from the outset of the disaster to distance the owners from culpability and a flawed steamer.

note debris.

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