Wednesday, 13 July 2016


The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Saturday 31 December, 1910
LONDON, Dec. 20.
The losses incurred by Lloyd's during the past year amounted to £6,000,000, which includes £300,000 incurred by theloss of the steamer Waratah, and £750,000 by the Pericles.
This revised insurance figure for the Waratah suggests that her cargo was valued at £ 150 000. If we go back to:
this value is closer to a figure of £ 125 000 for 9 000 tons general cargo (excluding the value of heavy metals) than the lower figure of £ 86 500 for 6250 tons.
SS Pericles:

Name:SS Pericles
Operator:Aberdeen Line (1907-1910)
Builder:Harland & Wolff, Belfast
Yard number:392
Launched:21 December 1907
Completed:4 June 1908
Maiden voyage:8 July 1908

ype:Ocean liner
Tonnage:10,925 GRT
Length:500 ft 5 in (152.53 m)
Beam:62 ft 3 in (18.97 m)
Depth of hold:31 ft 1 in (9.47 m)
Propulsion:2 × quad expansion engines
Speed:14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
The following extract is highly revealing for the year 1910.
Under the command of Captain Alexander Simpson, commodore of the shipping line, the Pericles was en route to London via Fremantle and the Cape of Good Hope with a large mixed cargo of 32 000 boxes of butter, 35 000 frozen mutton carcasses, 6 000 bales of wool, hides, 3 000 cases of apples (picked up in Hobart) of which 500 cases were carried on deck, 25 tons of tallow,  (1250 crates of rabbits; 250 tons wheat; 1 199 cases of preserves) coconut oil and 600 tons of lead and sundry other items. The lead had a high gold and platinum content, and was being shipped to Europe. At that time there was no place in Australia where these precious metals could be extracted from the lead. The Pericles was deeply laden and had a draught of 8.53 m forward and 8.23 m aft (27.49 ft. - note: fully loaded and much the same size as Waratah she did not have a draught beyond 28 ft.)
The vessel and cargo was insured for £750 000, of which one-third was vessel and two-thirds cargo (£90 000 of this was for the butter alone).

The author refers to lead (concentrates) being processed in the UK to extract gold and platinum. My understanding is that silver was the main precious metal for extraction. Nevertheless, the point is made that processing could not be carried out in Australia which supports the argument that lead concentrates were not transported from Adelaide to Sydney but rather for export. Once 1000 tons of lead concentrates were loaded onto Waratah inbound at Adelaide, they probably remained there until her return outbound when an additional 300 tons were added.

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