17["The Waratah", The West Australian, Saturday 14 August 1909, page 11]





Capetown, August 13, 5.40 p.m.

No-definite news regarding the fate of the Blue Anchor liner Waratah (overdue from Durban to Capetown with 300 passengers on board) has been received; but a message has come to hand stating that the Hall-Russel steamer Insizwa reports having sighted what appeared to be the dead bodies of four human beings is the vicinity of the Bashee River, which enters the Indian Ocean about 200 miles to the south of Durban and about 75 miles to the north of East London.




Melbourne, August 13.

As an example of the severity of the storms which sweep the Indian Ocean at this season of the year the experience of the Tyser liner Marere, which arrived here to-day, are interesting. When she was rounding the Cape of Good Hope on July 22, nine days before the Waratah was due in Table Bay from Durban, the Marere met with normal conditions. the wind blowing with fair strength from the south-west. Six days later, however, she encountered a fearful east-north-east storm, accompanied by gigantic seas and hurricane squalls of snow and hail. In this disturbance the Marere for three days underwent a trying if not critical ordeal. Her decks were invaded by immense seas, which, breaking over the bows, swept along the vessel with irresistable force. The engine-room was flooded and the forward port-boat deck was carried clean away by the seas, while considerable damage was done to the fittings. The Marere, which is a magnificent liner of 6,443 tons, lay hove to for 12 hours while the storm was at its worst, so that the severity of it may be readily imagined. As far as can be ascertained, of course, there is no connection between this trying adventure of the Marere and the absence of the Waratah, as the missing Blue Anchor liner was probably only a few hours out from Durban when the Marere was struck by this storm, there being a distance of 1,200 miles approximately between the two vessels at the time. It is not unlikely, however, that the disturbance, trvelling in a westerly direction, would reach the Waratah later on, with what results can of course only be conjectured. Captain Firth, of the Marere, states that the storm was one of the worst that he can remember during a long life at sea. As to what has happened to the Waratah he was as much in the dark as others. It was, however, far too early yet to dismiss the presumption that the vessel had broken down.