5["S.s. Koombana", The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 13 March 1909, page 8]
Mr. W. E. Moxon, the attorney for the company in this State, made a trite remark: "This ship is ahead of the times, but with it we will build up trade and coax people to travel." Any one must be convinced that it will prove a powerful factor in developing trade with the North-West. The Koombana has a big cargo capacity, but her passenger accommodation is simply superb, when looked at from the point of comfort in voyaging in a hot climate. All the passengers are accommodated above the main deck, and smoke-rooms and dining halls are so placed. Everywhere coolness and ventilation have been studied, while in the matter of comfort, artistic finishing, and conveniences, the Koombana is the most modernly equipped vessel that has yet come to Fremantle.
Mr. Durack said, "This ship means a lot to us; we will be always travelling now." There is no doubt that when people find they can travel cool and comfortably, the Koombana will begin to fulfil her object and develop the trade of the North-West.
The Koombana is built on beautiful lines, and presents a very imposing picture when entering or leaving a harbor. As in the passenger accommodation, she has many modern improvements to assist in her navigation, whilst her smoke rooms and social halls are superior to most of those on the mail steamers. She is a steel screw steamer of 3,760 tons register, and was constructed by Messrs. A. Stephens and Sons, Ltd., Glasgow. She is equipped for the carriage of passenges, cargo andstock, her dimensions being 340ft. between perpendiculars, 48ft. 2in. beam and 20ft 8in. depth. On a draught of 19 ft. she can carry 4,000 tons of cargo. Her decks are so many that a lift is almost required for transit purposes. Above the lower hold is the orlop deck, on top of which is the main deck. Higher up is the spar deck, upon which the bulk of the passenger cabins and dining saloons are situated. Over this again is a fine promenade deck, and going still higher the bridge and boat deck are reached. On top of all is the navigating bridge.
For her water-tube boilers the sea water is condensed, so that the pipes will not become encrusted. In the case of fire she is fitted with the Clayton fumigator and fire extinguisher, and to clean her fire pits, a patent ash ejector has been installed. To the Nor'-West resident, who "rushes" fruit and vegetables, it will be pleasing to learn that she has refrigerating engines to deal with 800 tons of cubic space, and 40 ft. for the ship's stores, besides which there is an ice plant to provide for the comfort of the passengers. There are also hydraulic cranes of 3-ton capacity, excepting over the fore-hatch, where steam winch is used.
The lower hold and orlop deck are utilised for cargo only, and the cattle are stalled fore and aft in moveable stalls with temporary closings on the sides of the vessel. The kitchen is also on this deck, and in it are all sorts of modern contrivances that should delight the heart of the chef, as well as provide delicacies for the passengers; steam egg-boiler, with electric adjustment, which may be set for soft, medium, and hard, swinging the egg off on the register being reached; an electric lift to the dining rooms; steam press with revolving hot plate rack; five stoves, bake oven and grill, and many other appliances. An electric dough mixer, turning out 300 loaves in eight hours, and printing room are on this deck.
Above the main deck is the spar deck, where most of the cabins are situated. These are mainly two-birth [sic], with a few three-birth [sic] cabins. They are all splendidly ventilated, with louvre as well as main doors; adjustable electric fans, buttoned on curtains, large windows with glass and louvres, life belts, couches, etc. The dining saloons for both classes are on this deck, and both are done in green and oak. Ventilation has been particularly studied, and the pantry so arranged that orders can be served from both sides as soon as they arrive from the galley by the electric lift. The first saloon has seating accomodation[sic] for 75, and electric fans are provided here as throughout the ship.
The lavatories, on this deck, are replete. The appointments of the dining saloon and the wealth of table silver are revelations.
The main companion way leads up to the hurricane or promenade deck, which is one of the most interesting features of the Koombana, the promenade itself having a length of 300 feet.
At the head of the companion way is the social hall and music room. There is an air of repose about this room that at once strikes the visitor, and forces that person to make visual inquiry as to the cause. The first thought is that one has arrived in the salon of some grand dame, but a glance at the book case with its mullioned frames and bevelled glass rather modifies the idea. The couches, occasional chairs and tables are in polished walnut. The furnishing was done by Warning and Co., art furnishers, of Glasgow, and little more needs to be said. The scheme of colour is and green, the former being used in the upholstering, and latter for the carpets. The wood work is satin wood and panelled in sycamore stained art green. There are two Chippendale writing desks, and a Broadwood piano, the music stool being also the music cabinet. The light well and fanlight are artistically designed. Here, as in other rooms, the fanlights are controlled by a wheel and raised or lowered from inside. The ceiling is done in painted canvas with raised design picked out in gold.
The cabins on this deck are much like those below but even more comfortable, and will be greatly appreciated by passengers. Officers and official are also provided with accommodation on this deck. The smoke room is a picture of comfort, and excels that on most of the mail steamers. It is done in teak and red morocco, and is both commodious and comfortable. Two writing desks are provided, also a refreshment bar, whilst opening off the room are bathroom and lavatories.
The boat and navigating decks need hardly be described, but the navigating appliances, both fore and aft, call for some special mention. These appliances are of the very latest and most improved design. On the bridge are a variety of instruments and machines, undreamt of in the early days of steam navigation. There is Alfred Graham's patent telephone switch, by means of which the officer on watch can converse with the captain in his cabin, the engineer on duty in the engine room, or the officer on the poop. An indicator is provided by which automatically and silently directions can be given to the officer right aft when the vessel is being moored or leaving the wharf; a further indicator shows the exact position of the rudder, while the steering gear is controlled by a telemotor, the latest device for the safe navigation of a vessel. Electric side-lights, with auxiliary oil lamps, are provided, and should any of the navigating lights at the port or starboard side or at the mast-head become by any means extinguished, an indicator in the wheelhouse gives immediate warning to the officer on the bridge.
The telemotor is one of the most modern appliances installed and is of great value when navigating dangerous waters. A patent chart table with glass lid is also provided on the bridge for the navigating officer, and by this he will always have the chart under his eye. The compasses and other patents adopted are, with the exception of that already mentioned, those of Lord Kelvin and James White. On top of all is the pilot bridge, with compass. The steering gear aft also presents some interesting features, all of which are designed for the safe navigation of the vessel, and all sorts of emergencies in the way of breakdowns have been provided against. In connection with the arrangements for the comfort and convenience of passengers a great deal of credit is due to Mr. G. T. Maxfield, the general stores manager for the company, who returned to Adelaide by the steamer recently. Captain Rees, who brought the ship out, is in charge.