Thursday, 10 August 2017

WHY KEPT SECRET?

Bendigo Advertiser, Monday 6 September, 1909

PERILS OF THE SEA.
THE WARATAH.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S ACTION.
Melbourne, September.
Sir Robert Best (Minister for Customs)to-day denied that there had been any delay in making the arrangements for hiring a steamer to search for the missingvessel Waratah. The complaint had arisenhe remarked, because the matter was keptsecret. No time had been lost, and thepublished cablegrams allowed the course ofthe daily negotiations.
Why would the organization of a further search for Waratah have been kept secret? Perhaps due to the failure of the searches of the two tugs (Fuller and John Ross) and warships (Forte, Pandora and Hermes), it might have been contentious to raise more money and hire the Sabine for three months? As it was, Sabine was hired to search the broader Indian Ocean over a three month period - to no avail. This extract highlights the degree to which the public put their eggs in the 'adrift theory'. All efforts were focused on this rather than looking for confirmation that Waratah had gone down.
There is also the possibility that there was significant gold on Waratah, prompting an element of secrecy surrounding the 'funding' of extensive searches that continued into early 1910, Wakefield, tight up to the July of 1910, the Severn. 
Human loss aside, there had to be reason for such unprecedented searches for Waratah 'adrift'.


HMS Hermes

 

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