Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Saturday 6 February, 1909.

The chief officer, who was the only witness, 
said that the ship was practically
full when she left Adelaide, her cargo 
consisting solely of bags of wheat and flour.

This would have mitigated against the cargo shifting.

The ship was on the bottom the day before her 

As in the case of the Waratah one wonders if the steamer sustained hull plate damage, which would
certainly have accounted for a large and sudden ingress of water if the integrity of that section of plates
came apart. However and importantly, the investigative diver (Olsen) did not find evidence of a
compromised hull - unless that part was submerged under sand.

When she left Adelaide
she had a list of three or four degrees,
which she maintained down the river. After 
the pilot left the steamer witness gave
the correct course in consequence of the
captain being unwell through heavy drinking.

Well that explains why Captain Gladstone played such an insignificant role when the Clan Ranald
departed Adelaide. Was he alone in his condition??
At 2 o'clock the steamer took a sudden list 
to starboard of about 45 degrees,
and became unmanageable. Efforts were
made to get the boats out, but they fouled.

This reinforces that if a vessel was listing to a significant degree the successful launching of lifeboats
was next to impossible.
The captain at this time was lying on
the floor of his cabin in a dazed condition, 
his wits sensible enough, but frightfully weak, 
and signalled for assistance.

Oh dear, the captain's reputation was cut to shreds at the Inquiry. Perhaps his 'dazed condition' spared
him unnecessary suffering when the steamer went down. It does not appear from the accounts that his
calls for assistance were heeded.

The boats,were eventually cut adrift,
and were free when the vessel took her
final lurch. The only explanation the witness 
could give for the list was that they
were top heavy when leaving, 170 tons of
coal being on the turret and top decks.

Top heavy she might have been, but in fine weather no explanation was given why the coal caused a
sudden disruption of stability, unless an attempt to fill ballast tanks at sea caused a free water shift in
centre of gravity, accentuating the list to starboard.

He was quite satisfied with the manner in
which the cargo was stacked. He had no
reason to suspect that the sea cocks were
open. He was positive that they touched
nothing going down the gulf. If the boat
had touched the outer edge of Marion Reef
he felt nothing. The hearing was then

The investigative diver (Olsen) proved that the Clan Ranald had not struck a reef.

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