Thursday, 23 June 2016


The Brisbane Courier, Tuesday 31 December, 1912. 

LONDON, Sunday.
Further details of the sensational experience
of the steamer Narrung during the recent gale 
show that two monster waves rose up suddenly 
before the vessel. The Narrung rode over the first,
and then plunged into the trough of the sea instead 
of rising to the second wave. The vessel went
down and the wave swept clean over it.
All the damage was done in that one
blow. The saloon deck cabin doors were
torn off, the foremast broken in three
places, and the winches torn adrift and
tossed about like corks. There was 4ft 
of water in the starboard bilge and the 
engine room causing a list of 10deg.
(Forward hold flooded) 
Wireless touch was maintained
with several steamers until the Narrung
righted and was able to dispense with
assistance. Eight lifeboats were got ready,
although it was believed that they could
not have lived in the heavy sea. A woman
was caught by the sea and washed to and
fro on the deck despite frantic struggles
to save her till she was nearly drowned.
Almost all her clothing was torn off.
Other passengers were washed about like
Mr P Marion who was proceeding to
Adelaide, in his story of the accident
says "Many women were imprisoned in
the flooded cabins and could not be 
released. When the ship turned during the
gale to return to Gravesend the rail
went down many times to the water's
edge and the water poured down the 
ventilators. The necessary repairs to 
the Narrung will occupy five weeks. 
Many vessels are returning to port
crippled by the gale.
The hatches of the steamer Volmer were
stove in and she foundered on Christmas
Day. A sailor went mad and jumped
into the sea. The first boat launched
was smashed alongside the vessel, and
all of those in the boat were drowned.
The second boat capsized, but the survivors 
righted her. The engineer died.
The chief officer went mad, attempted to
throttle the captain, and then died. Fifteen
of the crew perished. A trawling steamer 
bravely rescued the captain and
a sailor from the swamped boat.

Waratah may or may not have been overcome by a rogue wave, but her sister ship Narrung was to be confronted by this very real threat 3 years later and survived the onslaught. Note Narrung's utilitarian low sheer hull - a common thread throughout the Blue Anchor Line steamers.


The Volmer was not so lucky...

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