Wednesday, 10 February 2016


The West Australian, Saturday 28 August, 1909.


Any lingering apprehensions regardingthe fate of the crew of the abandonedFrench ship Gael were removed earlythis morning by the information that themissing boat, containing the captain and11 of the crew, had put in to FlindersBay, on the South-West Coast. Thus theexpectation of a maritime sensation resembling the loss of the CarnarvonCastle, off the same coast, a few yearsago, was not realised. In one inspect, thishappy termination of what might havebeen a very grave disaster, was to Bunbury, at any rate, something in the nature of a defeated hope. Ever since thepossibility has been canvassed of indications of the missing steamer Waratah being given on these shores, the people ofthe south-western port have beenin a state of daily expectation,and when the intimation camethat a ship's boat had beenseen making for the land, they straightway identified that circumstance as having a direct relation to the fate of theoverdue steamer. Immediately, theirkindly hearts were opened to the unfortunate seafarers, and they enjoyed nosmall satisfaction in the thought of beingthe first to welcome them. It can beeasily understood, therefore, that whenthe anticipated catastrophe proved in itsfinal results to be little more than a somewhat adventurous ocean excursion, theresidents of Bunbury felt that they hada genuine grievance in having beencheated of the opportunity of exercisingtheir humanitarian sentiments. Compared with the tense feeling which prevailed yesterday, there was a comparative lack of interest to-day, and the incident was not treated as even a twelve hours' wonder. 
This extract suggests that there was an element of sensation-seeking during 1909. The disappointment experienced by locals is almost alarming. One gets the impression that no loss of life was somehow considered 'dull'. It is interesting to note that people in far-off Western Australia were aware of the Waratah and that she might be mechanically disabled, adrift and rather optimistically, all the way back to Australia in the period of one month.

Carnarvon Castle.

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