Wednesday, 26 July 2017


The Advocate, 14 July, 1909.

Ranking next in importance to the
case of the Marie Celeste is the mys-
tery of the Waratah. Who can forget
the thrill of horror that ran round the
world when the news came through
from Capetown that the Waratah was
On June 26, 1909, the Waratah sailed
out of Sydney on her second and last
voyage to London. Durban was reached 
on July 25. Bound for Capetown, the 
Waratah left there the next day with 
207 (92) passengers. She was expected 
at Capetown on Friday, July 29.
Ten hours after leaving Durban, on
July 27, a signal from the Waratah was
picked up by the steamer Clan Macintyre, 
also bound for London, via Durban. 
Greetings were exchanged between 
the Clan Macintyre, which signalled: 
"Good-bye. A pleasant passage," and 
the Waratah sent back the message 
"Same to you." That was the last that 
was heard of the Waratah.
On July 28 there was a fierce gale,
and on the 30th great anxiety, was felt
in Capetown for the Waratah, for no
news of any kind had been received.
The storm was still raging when, on
Sunday, the T. E. Fuller, equipped, for
salvage work, left the Capetown Docks
to search for the missing Waratah.
Hundreds of people, impelled either
by fear for the safety of those they
loved or through curiosity, came down
to wish the T. E. Fuller God-speed and
success in its mission.
"I shall never forget the sight,"
said an eye witness. "The tears of
the women mingled with the rain that
beat on their wan faces. Oilskin clad,
the men stood by, sombre-eyed and
with heavy hearts. Knowing the coast,
as they did, they could not hope; they
could only wait.''
On Monday the tug returned, battered 
by the waves and weather. Its mission 
had been fruitless. No news, either good 
or bad, could it bring of the Waratah to 
her friends in Cape-town.

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