["Government Attention Needed", The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 20 March 1909]
Government Attention Needed.
The grounding of the s.s. Koombana on the sand banks at Sharks Bay brings several questions before the Nor'-West people. One is, will the boat be kept on the trade? The owners have already replied that it will. But it is evident that if the Koombana is to be expected to wriggle in and out among the numerous and ever shifting sand banks in Sharks Bay, the Government should do something to assist navigation at that place. The vessel is admirably designed to cater specifically for the needs of the Nor'-West, and it can hardly be fair that the populous centres should be penalised in order to serve the few at Sharks Bay. Much better for Sharks Bay to be cut off the list of calling places. Years ago, steamers used to travel by the South Passage, between Dirk Hartog Island and the mainland, in order to reach the Freshwater Camp, but that passage has silted up and become unnavigable, and a long detour has to be made right round Dirk Hartog. It was in negotiating this detour that the Koombana ran on a sand bank. It is claimed that three months' dredging of South Passage would render it navigable for the next 15 years, and provide a 12 hours' sheltered run for coastal boats from Carnarvon, and inestimable boon to stock in rough weather seasons.
These comments, from Hedland Advocate editor Walter Barker, incurred the wrath of Denham and Carnarvon.