Monday, 29 May 2017


The Advertiser, Adelaide, 13 January, 1911.

LONDON, January 12.
The enquiry concerning the loss of the
Lund liner Waratah was continued yester-
Captain Bidwell, marine superintendent
for Messrs. W. Lund & Sons, testified that
after the first voyage of the Waratah,
Captain ïïbery and his officers eulogised
the vessel and made no complaint con-
cerning her "tenderness." He did not
remember telling Mr. Lund that the
Waratah was less stable than the steamer
Geelong. The witness added that Captain
Ilbery treated the rumors and the subject 
which were prevalent among the clerks in 
Lund & Sons' office as mere idle talk.
Vice-Admiral Davis, who is a member
of the Court of Enquiry, quoted the letter 
of Mr. Hodder, the chief engineer, to Mr. 
Shanks, superintendent engineer to
Messrs. Lund & Sons, concerning the 
difficulty experienced in coaling the Waratah
at Sydney, which had compelled the captain 
twice to stop coaling because he was afraid 
of the possible list of the vessel.
Captain Bidwell replied, "Captain Ilbery
told me nothing about this."
Captain Bidwell continued that he was
unable to explain why the ballast tanks,
which were full on the first voyage, were
left empty on the second homeward trip
from Durban.

I doubt whether Captain Ilbery and his officers 'eulogised' the Waratah AFTER the maiden voyage. She was inherently and patently top heavy as proven by the expert testimony of Professor Bragg. Waratah was never going to be as stable as Geelong, for obvious reasons and the so-called idle talk must have reflected general discussions (including Captain Ilbery) and concerns about the inherently top heavy steamer. It stands to reason that Waratah in light condition was difficult to coal at Sydney, but this same condition was not the same stable, loaded condition during Waratah's last voyage (excluding port settings). With 1300 tons of lead concentrates in hold 3 midships, lowest down, at 11 cubic foot to the ton, 8 ft. high, there was more than enough 'centre of gravity' lowering and thus no need for 'full ballast tanks'. In fact, with a reduced buoyancy factor, the newly adjusted Waratah did not require all ballast tanks to be full and needed some buoyancy from the air in empty ballast tanks!!

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