Friday, 13 May 2016


The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 26 February, 1894.

By the steamer Chingtu last night the crew of the
barque Waratah arrived in Sydney. The vessel was
lost at Rocky Island on the night of the 20th of last
month, under the following circumstances She
went to the island to load 280 tons of guano for
Launceston. On Friday, the 19th, she was lying off
the reef waiting a chance to load, when it came
on to blow, and increased to a hurricane from the
S.S.W. The second anchor was let go, and
a 10 pm. coir hawser put on the starboard
chain as a spring to ease the vessel in
the short heavy sea running. Lying off the island
there were also the barque Ganymede and
a steam launch and a cutter. The two last
mentioned were dashed ashore early in the
storm, and the fireman on the launch
was drowned. All night of Friday the
eight men composing the crew of the barque.
Waratah anxiously watched their anchors. The
storm was a fearful one, but the light barque rode
the night out, and daybreak brought a feeling of
relief to the worn-out and terrified mariners. No
abatement of the gale, however, and the glass 
continued to fall throughout Saturday. To have
attempted to launch a boat and abandon the
ship would have been little short of suicidal
in the sea then running, so all Saturday the men
watched, wishing that sundown might see a 
moderation of the storm. It was not to be. 
As darkness met them for the second night 
the howling of the elements became fearful to listen to. 
and everyone made preparations for the worst. 
In the way the barque was labouring something must go
shortly. No chain could stand the strain caused by
her ranging about. At 10 o'clock that night the port
chain parted. Then the ship commenced to yield to
the fury of the wind and sea. Nothing then could
save her, and it became but a question of time By
carefully paying out the starboard cable the vessel 
was guided away from the reef, on which she appeared
at first likely to be dashed, and by knocking out
the shackle on the cable at the right moment, she
was carried clear and went up on a sandy beach. It
was the first of the ebb tide, so that in a few hours
she was left well up in the sand. With the breaking
of the seas and the bumping she soon became a total
wreck, and all that was left for tho crow to do
was to save provisions and their effects.
In this they succeeded very well. After
a stay of nearly three weeks on the island the
steamer Vigilant called and took them to Normanton.

The Maitland Mercury, Wednesday 31 March, 1852

(From the S. M. Herald, March 27.)

This splendid addition to the steam marine of
the colony was visited by great numbers of
people yesterday, all of whom expressed them-
selves highly gratified at her general appearance.
As she was lying alongside the wharf, we had
no opportunity of seeing how she sits on the
water, but on deck she looks by far the finest
steam vessel in this colony.
Her dimensions are as follows - Length be-
tween perpendicular, 165 feet; breadth of
beam between paddle-boxes, 20 feet 6 inches,
sponsons on each side, 2 feet 9 inches ; depth of
hold, 12 feet; depth of poop, 2 feet 6 inches,
burden (including steam-room) 380 tons; her
draught of water, when fully laden, is 8 feet.
She has three masts, very light, carrying square
sails on the fore and main masts, and fore-and
aft sails only on the mizen. She is built of iron
throughout, and has four bulkheads, which
divide her into five water-tight compartments.
She was built at Dumbarton, by Messrs William
Denny and Brother, for the contractors, Messrs.
Caird and Co., of Greenock.
Her machinery, manufactured by Carid and
Co., consists of two side lever condensing
engines of 70 horse power each, fitted with
expansion valves and all the most modern
improvements; she has tubular boilers with
brass tunes ; the cylinders are 45 inches in
diameter, and the length of stroke 5 feet ; her
bunkers carry coals for 7 days.
Her deck is very spacious, and will enable her
to carry a great deal of deck cargo, horses, cattle
etc. The quarterdeck is raised nearly three
feet. Between and before the paddle boxes
there is a hurricane deck about 30 feet long, 
securely railed in, and affording a pleasant and
roomy promenade in fine weather, and affording
shelter on the main deck when it rains.
Her accommodations are very superior. The
main cabin runs aft to the stern, where there
are sofas making beds in the usual manner.
There are also four state rooms, each containing
two sleeping berths. Forward of the main
cabin, and running to the break of the quarter
deck, are two other cabins, each containing ten
berths, one of which is for ladies, and the other
for gentlemen. There are, in the whole, 28
berths for gentlemen, and 10 for ladies. The
ventilation appears to have been well attended
to. The fittings up, sofas, &c, are very neat.
The steerage has two sleeping apartments, one
for males and the other for females, with a mess
cabin between them. She is amply provided
with cutlery, earthenware, glass, &c, all of
which is stamped with the Company's name, and
a representation of the vessel.
It will be seen by this description that the
Waratah is a very splendid ship, and we only
hope that the enterprising company for whom
she was built may find remunerative employment 
for her and the Yarra, and may be induced, 
as the trade of the colony extends, to provide 
other vessels of equal staunchness to trade
upon our coasts.


Mole said...

Did you post this because it was Friday 13th? Trying to make a point that Waratah was an unlucky name for a ship?!

andrew van rensburg said...

You got it, Mole :)