The Advertiser (Adelaide) Friday 24 February, 1911.
An explanation of the large amount of adverse comment on the vessel's behaviour lay in her undoubted
"tenderness" on her first voyage, and while
loading it was quite observable. The lists
could have been produced by moderate
wind pressures, relatively small alterations
in the water ballast, the consumption of
fresh water, and the non-symmetrical working out of coal. The court regarded the contradictory statements concerning the steamer's rolling as the fairly accurate evidence of truthful people about phenomena which they did not understand.
These 'truthful people', who did not fully understand the mechanics of the Waratah, had enormous influence on the understanding of the Waratah which has translated into fact in the modern era. A tender vessel, such as the Waratah was on her first three voyages, would have responded to 'moderate wind pressures; alterations of water ballast; consumption of fresh water and non symmetrical working out of coal'. One imagines that careful attention would have been given to water ballast and the working down of coal on a tender ship - Captain Ilbery, after all, represented many successful years of experience at sea as master. Fresh water was supplied by the desalination plant, theoretically creating a constant factor rather than a fluctuating one. Yes a tender vessel with a prominent top hamper would have been susceptible to wind pressure, further enhanced by the awning (when it was used), but certainly not to a dangerous degree, as evidenced by many other steamers with equivalent top hampers. I think the issue at hand was whether any of these factors pointed to imminent danger. Waratah successfully completed three voyages in relatively light condition which is proof enough that 'truthful people' did not hold the key to the loss of the flagship.