Monday, 18 April 2016


The Capricornian, Saturday, 23 April 1910

Edward Dischler barman, who was able
seaman on the Waratah's last vovage to
Sydney, stated that a seaman in London
advised him not to go in her. He was
told that Captain IIbery had said that
either his reputation or the ship would be

For the longest time I chose to interpret this statement as exaggerated hearsay, but the more I delve into the problems of the Waratah the more convinced I am that Captain Ilbery probably uttered these very words. It also leads me to think that Captain Ilbery turned around to head back to Durban because he feared what would happen to his heavy, under powered steamer in the ferocious storm approaching from the southwest. There may or may not have been a fire on board. Captain Ilbery had a precious cargo of souls and Empire gold (I am sticking to this). Whatever went wrong off Cape Hermes might not have had anything to do with a catastrophic fire, hence not flying signals of distress, nor attempting to land passengers via lifeboats (whether they were seaworthy or not).

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