Saturday, 5 August 2017


The Argus, Melbourne, 4 January, 1939.

Merciful time has assuaged the
personal grief caused by the mys-
terious fate of the steamer Waratah
nearly 30 years ago; but it has not
wholly allayed the public curiosity
concerning the exact manner of its
loss. The Waratah is not even a
name to the younger generation;
but to elderly and middle-aged
Australians it recalls vividly one
of the most poignant and baffling
mysteries of the sea. From time
to time theories have been advanced
concerning the fate of the Waratah,
and through the years scraps of
news which might or might not
have had any substantial founda-
tion have come to us purporting
to throw light upon its disappearance. 

Now comes the report from South Africa 
that driftwood on which can be discerned 
the faint letters "RA" has been washed up
at the mouth of the Kei River, near East 
London (Cape Province), and it is 
conjectured that this may be fragments 
of the hatch timbers of the Waratah.
Even if this conjecture be correct,
the finding of such fragments after
so great a lapse of time could
hardly contribute anything valuable 
to the solution of the mystery.
Expert knowledge of the set of
ocean currents might establish an
approximate area where the Waratah 
lies corroding to pieces on the sea-bed; 
but any search would be more hopeless 
than that for the proverbial needle in a 

Part of furniture now?

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