Saturday, 12 March 2016


A wise Waratah commentator once said that period newspaper articles relating to the Waratah have limitations. There is a temptation to take the facts presented at face value. The following article illustrates the pitfalls:

The Advertiser (Adelaide) Wednesday 16 December, 1908.

The new liner (Waratah) is a twin
screw steel vessel of 9,300 (9339.07) tons gross burden, 
and 6,004 (6003.96) tons net, and is approximately 
2,000 tons larger and 15 ft. longer than 
the company's steamer Geelong, 
which is well known in the Australian service, 
the respective dimensions being 

- Waratah - 465 ft in length, 59.2 (59.45) ft.
in breadth and 35,1 ft. depth, 

If Waratah had a depth of 35.1 ft. her freeboard would have been 4.7 ft. which was not the case. Her
minimum freeboard was 8 ft. 1 in. This implies that her true depth was 38.5 ft. which gives us the
correct figure of 8.1 ft. The balance of 3.4 ft. was probably accounted for by the space between the
double hulls - which in itself provided additional buoyancy, if the ballast tanks were not filled.

Geelong - Length, 450 ft, breadth, 64.5 ft ; depth,
29.9 ft.

Geelong's draught was 26.9 ft. which according to the above gives us a freeboard of 3 ft. which was
impossible. Geelong's true depth was the same as Waratah's, 38.5 ft. which gives a freeboard of
11.6 ft. which was a correct freeboard figure for a vessel 450 ft. in length. Her beam was 54.5 ft..

The Waratah complies with the highest
requirements of the Board of Trade for
passengers and is classed 100 A1 at Lloyd's.

Quadruple expansion engines, of which
she has two sets, are capable of driving
the liner at a great speed. Much attention
has been devoted to balancing them,
so as to prevent vibration as far as possible. 
Space equal to about 15,000 tons
has been set apart for the carriage of coal,
general cargo, and perishable produce.

It is extraordinary that a figure of 15 000 tons was given to the press. 9 000 tons was bad enough and
if there was any intention on the part of the owners to load Waratah to 15 000 tons, she was doomed to
disaster. Again, press figures had to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

The Waratah was built by Messrs. Barclay 
Curle, & Co from their Clydeholme
establishment. The vessel has fine cargo
hatches served with 14 power winches
with derricks, and, in addition, two
winches are placed on the boat deck for
coaling operations A powerful derrick
capable of lifting 20 tons is fitted on the

Waratah was first and foremost a cargo-carrying beast, fitted with a significant component of dericks
and winches. I hope the details of this final paragraph are accurate :)

SS Geelong, courtesy Stanley Robinson.

The Lunds certainly had a thing about very prominent funnels :)

No comments: