Wednesday, 19 July 2017


The Advertiser (Adelaide) Tuesday 19 April, 1910.

'When off Gravesend the Board of Trade 
made an inspection of the boats,
but examined only two out of the 16.
None of the boats had provisions in them.
On painting the boats on the inside the
paint leaked through to the outside.'

Maiden voyage.
"There was boat drill once a week, but all 
that was done was to loosen the covers of 
the keats and then put them on again. 
In case of an accident it would have taken at 
least five minutes to unloosen the fastenings of
the coverings of the boats and they never lifted 
the boats off the chocks.

In Sydney it took 13 men with ropes and
blocks to lift the No. 6 boat off the chocks,
and then they had to get a steam winch
to swing the davits out. The davits had
become rusted. 

At Adelaide he had attempted to paint two 
of the aft boats. One of them was so soft 
and rotten that it would not take the paint. 
He could have put his hand through the 
wood at the bottom of the boat This was 
an outside boat, which had never been
swung out; it had never been moved out 
of its position during the voyage The rafts 
were in such a position that until the boats 
were removed they could not be launched 
at all.

The following extract relates to the loss of the SS Vestris. If the above be true, could a similar omission have applied to Waratah?

'§Another surprise arose when Edward Keane, inspector of hulls in the United States Steamboat Inspection Service of the Department of Commerce, admitted at the Tuttle hearings that if he had made a truthful report of his inspection of the SS Vestris, it would not have been issued clearance papers. At the Tuttle hearings, Keane reiterated testimony he gave first at the inspection service’s investigation that although in his
official report he said that he had lowered the Vestris’s lifeboats, he had not actually done so. “That being a requirement,” asked Attorney Tuttle, “unless it was done clearance papers should not be issued, should they?” “No,” the inspector agreed. Tuttle produced Keane’s official inspection report and read from it a printed question as to whether the lifeboats had been lowered. Next to this question Keane had written “yes.”'

Thayer, G. David. First to Die: The Tragic Loss of the SS Vestris (Kindle Locations 2382-2386). Rapidsoft Press ®, jointly with Our American Stories ® LLC. Kindle Edition. 

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