Monday, 4 July 2016


The Argus, Wednesday 28 December, 1904.

A highly sensational adventure was had
by the barque Meinwen which arrived in
the bay from Liverpool yesterday morning.
During her passage across the Southern
Ocean the vessel was almost engulphed in
an immense wave which thundered over
the poop and besides injuring several
of the officers and crew wrought serious
injury to the barque herself. The incident
which occurred three weeks ago is similar
to an ordeal which was passed through by
the barque Bankhall which arrived at
Fremantle from I Glasgow in a battered 
condition on Friday last.
The Meinwen which is a fine looking
steel vessel of 1 490 tons and a frequent
trader to Melbourne was off St Paul's
Island - about midway between the Cape
of Good Hope and Australia - when the
incident happened. She was sailing 
before a moderately westerly wind
when suddenly a mountainous wave 
estimated to be about 40ft high rose 
over the stern, fell with a terrific
crash upon the poop and swept the vessel's
full length. It carried away the wheel
box and steeling compass, knocked down
the starboard compass, smashed the cabin
skylight, tore the tarpaulin covering off
the main hatch and the wooden covering
of one of the boats, and at the same time doing
other damage of a minor nature.

Although I have pursued the Harlow account (ad nauseum) clearly there are other possible explanations for the sudden disappearance of the 465 ft. Waratah. This description of a rogue wave brings into sharp focus the destructive potential of the phenomenon. Note that the wave does not necessarily have to be connected with or the result of a storm at sea. If Waratah's fore hatch was smashed in by such a wave at some position and time after 9.30 am 27 July, she could have gone down within minutes with all souls trapped in a certain doomed fate.


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