Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Northern Territory Times, 12 November, 1909.

A cablegram has just been received
from Cape Town to the effect that a
quantity of charred and broken deck
planking, hatches, and other debris,
has been washed ashore near Port
It is thought the casting up of this
wreckage by the sea goes to support 
the correctness of the report made by 
the captain of the steamer Harlow, to
the effect that he saw a steamer on 
fire off the Natal coast on the night 
of the same day that the mysteriously 
missing steamer Waratah left Durban, 
and that an explosion caused this burning 
vessel to disappear before he could get 
near enough to render assistance.
Port Alfred is situated only a few
miles from the mouth of the great Fish
River, where it was reported some
time ago that several dead bodies had
been seen.

There were no other ships during this time frame which experienced a catastrophic fire on board. The wreckage could ONLY have come from Waratah, confirming the veracity of Captain Bruce's account. If you study the diagram below there is a current anomaly off Cape Hermes and Poenskop. Instead of washing wreckage ashore, the current (particularly during winter months) would have carried wreckage initially northeastward and then retroflected back into the powerful Agulhas Current sweeping southeastward along the South African coast. It is both plausible and convincing that charred remnants of the great liner ended up at Port Alfred some 4 months later. I challenge anyone to dispute the significance of this discovery.

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