Wednesday, 5 July 2017


Barrier Miner (Broken Hill) Monday 19 December, 1910.

[Reuter's Message.]
London, Saturday. 
The Board of Trade inquiry into theWaratah was continued to-day.
Admiral Davis sharply cross-examinedMr. Peck, a member of the firm whichbuilt the Waratah, as to why no investigations of Captain Ilbery's complaints had been made.
Mr. Thearie, chief surveyor ofLloyd's, stated that the Waratah wasthoroughly well constructed, and wasa strong ship.
The voice which contradicted Mr.Bennett, when the latter was givingevidence yesterday belonged to Mrs.Gibbs, mother of a passenger (actually apprentice / crew) on the Waratah. Her husband afterwards said that he understood Mr. Bennett to say 'that the Waratah was going to be laid up for two months for alterations.' Mr. Bennett repeated that Mr. Gibbs was mistaken.
I believe that Mrs Gibbs had heard correctly and that Mr Bennett denied the obvious. There is no doubt that the maiden voyage was problematic and upsetting to some passengers. Waratah was inherently flawed and although stability could be achieved at the expense of buoyancy, alterations sounds to me like a feasible solution at the time.
What would such 'alterations' have encompassed? For a start the navigation deck could have been lowered and the size of the funnel, trimmed. As for removing the boat deck, and more specifically the smoking room, I doubt that alterations would have gone that far. There was also the question of promenade deck being at least 1 ft. higher than average for the time. This could theoretically have been reduced.....
As it was, no alterations were made - pride preserved and Captain Ilbery saddled with significant challenges.

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