Friday, 6 May 2016


The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 9 December, 1909.

The Waratah, a handsome specimen of the
shipbuilder's art and less than a year old,
sailed out of Sydney Harbour on her second
and last homeward voyage on June 26, bound
for London She made calls en route at Melbourne 
and Adelaide, leaving the first-named
port on July 1, and the South Australian port
on July 7.
On the voyage across the Indian Ocean she
encountered very heavy weather conditions for
four days, and Commander Ilbery remarked
to Mr R C Saunders, a solicitor of Melbourne,
who was a passenger to Durban, that "it was
the worst weather the steamer had ever been
in, and that she had behaved splendidly". 
Captain Ilbery repeatedly assured him that the
Waratah was everything he could wish, and
Mr. Saunders, speaking of his own experience
declared that he had no fear for the
vessel when she was reported missing.

1300 tons of lead concentrates (lowered centre of gravity) and 73% of ballast tanks empty (added buoyancy) had restored confidence in Waratah, proven by a four day test of 'very bad weather'.

Mr Morgan, another passenger from Australia 
made a similar report. He said that near 
Cape Leeuwin the Waratah encountered
very bad weather, and for four days was 
subjected to a severe strain. She behaved 
splendidly, and came through her trying ordeal


Durban was safely reached on Sunday, July
25, one day in advance of schedule time, and
a number of passengers embarked and 
disembarked. Cargo was also discharged 
and coal taken in. Five minutes before the 
Waratah was ready to resume her voyage 
on July 26, she was boarded by Captain 
R.H. Shepherd, one of the Durban pilots, 
who called to say good-bye to Captain Ilbery. 

"No question of her stability entered anyone's 
head at Durban," he said when afterwards 
interviewed about the vessel. "There was no 
coal above the deck (spar), in fact, the coaling foreman 
at Durban was loud in his complaints because 
he was obliged to load his coal all down one hatchway,
which points to the fact that all the coal bunkers
were full, which would make the vessel more

The hatchway in question was located in front of the funnel on the boat deck. A further reason for loading via this hatchway could be related to maintaining trim. We know from previous accounts that loading at Sydney had caused the inherently tender Waratah to list significantly. 

Mr. Shepherd's comments were verified by the Clan MacIntyre witness account describing a stable, upright Waratah which was in sight for at least 3 1/2 hours off the Wild Coast.

No comments: