1a["Local News", Geraldton Guardian (WA), Saturday 12 December 1908, page 2]
Adelaide S.S. Co.'s New Steamer.--The manager of the Geraldton branch writes:--The s.s. Koombana, the new steamer, of 3,500 tons, built by the Adelaide Steamship Company to run the mail service between Fremantle and Wyndham is now approaching completion. She is expected to leave England early in January for Adelaide and Melbourne, via Capetown and Durban, from which ports her passenger accommodation is now almost filled. On arrival at Melbourne she will be docked and overhauled, and thereafter returns to Fremantle to take the "Bullarra's" running about March next. No expense has been spared in fitting her particularly for the tropical climate, and the company hopes she will be well patronised, as she is built in anticipation of an expansion of trade to the northern ports. Capt. Rees, who is well-known on the North-West coast, will bring her from England and retain command here. It has been suggested by irresponsible persons that, being so vastly superior to any vessel yet seen on the coast, she will only be run at a heavy loss, and consequently soon withdrawn from the trade. The company assures us that this is entirely incorrect, as the steamer has been specially built and designed for the Western Australian coastal mail service. They intend to give their patrons the encouragement by maintaining the service with this vessel.
1b["New s.s. Koombana", The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 19 December 1908]
No expense has been spared in fitting this steamer particularly for the tropical climate of the North West of Western Australia, and she should receive a full measure of support. She is being brought out by Captain Rees in command, who is well known on the Nor'-West coast. Any suggestion made by irresponsible persons that she is not to remain on the North West running is entirely incorrect, as the steamer has been specially built and designed for that purpose, and, as mentioned in the foregoing, she is coming on the Nor'-West trade immediately she has completed her voyage from the Old Country.
1c["A Fine New Steamer", Daily News (Perth, WA), Monday 15 February 1909, page 9]
A FINE NEW STEAMER.
THE S.S. KOOMBANA.
BUILT FOR NOR'-WEST TRADE.
A MODEL OF STYLE AND COMFORT.
As stated In our columns of Friday, the Adelaide S.S. Co.'s new steamer KOOMBANA, which arrived in port from London on Thursday, and left again on the following day for Adelaide and Melbourne, has been specially built for the Nor'-West trade. She has been specially designed for the tropics. Such were the words addressed by Mr. S. T. Maxfield, the superintendent of stores for the Adelaide Co., when showing a "Daily News" representative over the vessel. The Koombana is a steel screw steamer, of 3,760 tons, and was constructed by Messrs. A. Steven and Sons, Ltd., in their yard, Linthouse (Glasgow). Her principal dimensions are: 340ft. between perpendiculars, by 48ft. 2in. beam, by 20ft. 8in. depth. She was constructed under the British Corporation shelter deck rules as an up-to-date cargo and passenger steamer, carrying first and second-class passengers, and a large number of cattle, as well as a considerable amount of general cargo. The vessel was named Koombana by Mrs. S. Elgar, of Brisbane, wife of one of the Company's superintendents, and was named after the district of Koombana, near Bunbury. In every respect, the builders have paid the fullest attention to ventilation and light, thus doing away with that element of stuffiness so apparent on some of the passenger boats. So particular, indeed, has the company been in order to allow passengers to overcome the heat of the Nor'-West, that actually six decks are built one on top of the other. Undermost, is the lower hold, where the cargo is reposited, and which is set aside for refrigerating space. On top of this is the Orlop deck; then comes the main deck, on which the cattle are placed (fore and aft). Next is the spar deck, where a great number of cabins are positioned, and on top of this is the hurricane, or boat deck. Yet, again, on top of this is the navigation bridge, which is open for first-class passengers. It will be seen that the decks occupied by the passengers are situated far up from the water, and the extremely plentiful ventilation provided, and the numerous electric fans that are to be seen everywhere, make it possible to be cool in any circumstances. She is capable of accommodating 300 passengers, in a style only to be looked for in such mammoth liners as the Mauretania and Lusitania. Perhaps the most interesting fact in connection with the new boat is that she has refrigerating machinery on board capable of dealing with about 800 tons, besides which she has her own ice-making plant aboard--an innovation that should prove very acceptable when the Koombana visits the torrid Nor'-West. As is usual in the Adelaide Company's boats, arrangements for the shipping and discharging of cargo are very modern and complete. She is replete with hydraulic cranes, except at No.1 hatch, where, owing to the position of passengers' berths, it has been deemed inadvisable to erect a crane. The pressman first paid a visit to the captain's bridge, where his eyes were opened as to the advance of maritime invention and ingenuity. The most remarkable of these innovations is the telephone switch, which connects the bridge with the captain's cabin, the poop, and the engine-room. This telephone is used in case of emergency, or when the officer on the bridge wants to be more explicit in his orders to the engine-room. For instance, if he wanted to give the orthodox order "Full speed astern," it would not be sufficient for him to indicate the danger the vessel was in. He could on the Koombana, however, just telephone down to the chief engineer and give him an order such as "Give her all you can." Then there is a telegraph on the bridge, which is used to communicate with the officer in charge, aft, when the vessel is about to moor, and in case of the steering gear going wrong there is also a telegraph which communicates with the man in charge of the patent wheel aft. Another interesting change on the bridge is the establishment of a portable chart table in a glass, which can be carried into any position. Two electric sidelights are on the starboard and port side of the vessel, but in case of anything going wrong in either an auxiliary oil has been built on or running down on either side. Perhaps, to a lay mind, the most interesting portion of the ship's electrical effects is the erection of four discs in the wheel-house. Should anything go wrong with the masthead light, the side light, or the bridge lights, a colored flame flares up in the respective discs; should no attention be paid to this flame an electric bell rings in the disc, and the damage is damage is ascertained exactly six seconds after it has happened. All the first-class staterooms are constructed on the island system, each division having a separate entrance from the deck, while easy access is obtained to the saloon. Electric fans are fitted in each cabin. The drawing and smoke rooms are located on the promenade deck, and both are handsomely appointed. Special attention has been paid to the colors of the upholstery, an effective scarlet shade predominating in the smoke-room, while in the social room a harmonious and restful tone is produced in purple. The social or drawingroom is fitted with portable lounges, and furnished in Waring and Co.'s best style. The walls are treated with sycamore, the panels are executed, in satinwood. At one end an elaborate bookcase with mullioned frames and bevelled glass, and containing an up-to-date library, and a Broadway, piano, two Chippendale writing desks, occasional tables, electric fans, etc., are also Included in the furnishings. The ceilings are composed of white-painted canvas with gilt-edged floral design. The main entrance to the saloon is handsomely panelled in mahogany, and the stairway leading to the promenade deck is of the same material, with carved pilasters. The dining-room in the first saloon has seating accommodation for 75 people. It is roomy, and well ventilated, and the oak panellings and green upholstery give a quiet but withal pleasing effect. In the culinary department one sees some really remarkable innovations. The most up-to-date appliances are provided in the galley and pantries, a feature of the kitchen being a patent electric egg-boiler, by means of which an egg can be boiled to suit each individual's taste--soft, medium, or hard. In the bakehouse an electrically driven dough-mixer is fitted up and 300 loaves a day can be turned out if necessary. Ample bathroom and lavatory accommodation is provided, and, generally speaking, the fittings throughout are of first-class description. On the main deck, running fore and aft of the vessel, excellent provision is made for the carriage of live stock--an important branch of the Nor'-West trade. Besides the ordinary [space for stores, refrigerating] chambers are fitted up with a capacity of 1,800 tons of cubic space. With the exception of one steam crane at the No. 1 hatch for'ard, all the cranes are worked by hydraulic power. Clayton's fire extinguisher and fumigating plant is carried on board.
The Koombana was brought out to Australia by Captain J. Rees, late of the s.s. Bullarra, and he will retain command of the new vessel. The steamer left for Melbourne on Friday afternoon to be docked. She will return to the West, and leave Fremantle on her initial trip to the Nor'-West on March 12. It is interesting to note that the vessel derives, her name from Mr. R. Forrest's "Koombana" timber mill, near Bunbury.
Not the least interesting item in connection with the appointments of the boat is the carrying of a motor launch. This craft is to be used when the Koombana misses the tide at various Nor'-West ports, and she will be sent ashore if necessary.
"I want," said Mr. Moxon to a "Daily News" representative, "to refute the suggestion that the Koombana will be found too good for the Nor'-West trade, and taken off. She was built expressly for that purpose."