Thursday, 26 May 2016


Cairns Post, Wednesday 8 September, 1909.

The Waratah.
Some young men in Lismore (says
the 'Chronicle.'). have been dabbling;
in the occult, and, to their satisfaction
at least, have discovered the
fate of the missing Lund liner Waratah, 
and the whereabouts of her
crew and passengers. The details
are meagre, and the young men 
concerned maintain a secrecy which
would do credit to a diplomat.
Sufficient has, however, leaked out
to enable the "Chronicle" to state
that these young men held a
"seance," that one of them or some-
one else fell, or was purported to
fall, into a "clairvoyant" state,
and while in that state told a 
wonderful tale. The Waratah, 
according to the "clairvoyant,"- broke,
down through losing both her propellers, 
and had drifted on to a rock and sunk. 
Her passengers and crew safely landed
on one of a group of five islands to the 
southeast of Durban, and were well 
received by the copper-coloured natives
of the island aforesaid. Far be it
from the "Chronicle" to endeavour
to cast doubt on such a story, 
recalling, as it does, the thrilling
talks of Clark Russell, but it contains 
one or two unfortunate points
which need elicitation. In the first
place the Waratah was a twin-screw
steamer. Losing both her propellers
is very remote. In the next place
the only group of five islands to the
southeast of Durban is the Crozets,
the inhabitants of which are penguins. 
It is true that pengiuns are bipeds,but 
they are not copper coloured and 
though are stupidly tame are unlikely 
to fraternise with the castaways from 
the Waratah. More-over, as the Crozets 
are well down in the "Roaring Forties." 
it would be interesting to know how the 
steamer got there in the time, apart 
altogether from the question of current. 
The clairvoyant added that a steamer 
called the "Kellaway" called at Durban 
last week, and the captain thereof 
said he-would search in the direction 
of the Crozets. The members of the 
"Circle" have written to Sydney to 
ascertain the truth of this last assertion, 
"which they maintain will, if true, prove 
the correctness of all the rest.

Love the bit about the penguins. 

Reception Committee.


Mole said...

Lovely about the penguins - this journalist was enjoying himself at the expense of the 'psychics'. Ha ha.

Stuart Flood said...

Having damaged a propeller shaft make a hole in the side of a vessel is a plausable means for a ship to sink. It happend to the S.S Tahiti in 1930 while en route from NZ to North America. In this case though she sank slowly in calm weather and with wireless was able to summon help. Waratah in overloaded, in bad weather and with no wireless would not have been so lucky in such curcumstaces.

andrew van rensburg said...

Thanks Stuart. I agree. Interesting case about the SS Tahiti. Andrew