Tuesday, 12 April 2016


The Mercury (Hobart) Tuesday 19 April, 1910.

Edward Dischler, a barman, of Sydney,
stated that he was an able seaman on
the Waratah in the last voyage from
London to Sydney. Seamen in London
advised him not to join the vessel, and
he was told that Capt. Ilbery had said
that either his reputation or the
vessel would be lost. 

This was one of the damning witness accounts which left the public in no doubt as to the seaworthiness of the Waratah. There were others on board during this voyage who believed the Waratah to comfortable and safe. Without vital lead concentrates and minimal cargo, Waratah was tender.

Mr. Owen told the men not to step too hard
on the bottoms of the boats when
they were painting them. He found one
boat no soft and rotten that it would not
take paint. 

If this be true, it illustrates the Lunds' disregard for the quality of maintenance on the Waratah. There had been problems with the boats on the maiden voyage - no excuse for not sorting this out before Waratah departed London on the second voyage. It seems to me that the Lunds only cared for profit, with little concern for the safety of those on board. It would certainly explain why Captain Ilbery did not attempt to land his passengers on the Wild Coast.

Fire drill was never practised. 
In the Bay of Biscay the vessel was
rolling very badly. She appeared to be
dead in the water, and to have a difficulty
in keeping on an even keel. She could
not ride head seas at all, but bumped
her nose right down into the trough of
water, and seas broke right over her. 

Again if this account was accurate, it illustrates that the Waratah was not only tender at this stage, but paradoxically too heavy in general with limited freeboard and reduced buoyancy, hence 'dead in the water' and 'bumping her nose right down into the trough of water'. This further suggests that Waratah's engines were not up to the job in terms of overall power output.

He would not complete his voyage in her because 
he considered she was absolutely unsafe.

This voyage was completed without mishap, but there again only one episode of rough weather was reported - Bay of Biscay.

Bay of Biscay.

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