25["Is it the Waratah?", The Argus (Melbourne), Wednesday 11 August 1909, page 7]

IS IT THE WARATAH?

BLUE ANCHOR VESSEL SIGHTED.

SLOWLY MAKING FOR DURBAN.

ENCOURAGING NEWS.

LONDON, Aug. 10.

The agents of Lund's Blue Anchor line at Durban have received a telegram from East london (300 miles south-west of Durban) stating that a Blue Anchor vessel had been sighted at a considerable distance. The vessel was slowly making for Durban, where she will probably arrive to-day. It is suggested that the vessel is possibly the missing steamer Waratah.

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ANNOUNCEMENT IN PARLIAMENT.

CELEBRATED BY MEMBERS.

At 9 o'clock last night, while members of the House of Representatives were discussing the Old-age Pensions Bill, Mr. McDonald (Chairman of Committees) interrupted proceedings and said:--

"I think members will excuse me if I interrupt them to make an announcement which I am sure will give pleasure. I have been told, on good authority, that the Waratah has been sighted, steaming towards East London."

STATE PARLIAMENT.

The following cable message, received from Messrs. John Sanderson and Company, was read in the House of Representatives last night by the Speaker (Mr. Madden):--

"Blue Anchor Line.--Agent East London reports Blue Anchor steamer making slow progress towards Durban. It is thought this can only be Waratah."

The agent further states that this is the only Blue Anchor boat in the neighbourhood, and must be the Waratah.

The message was received hy members with cheers. .

A similar message was read in the Legislative Council, and was received with continued applause.

THEORY OF DRIFT.

CRUISERS' PLAN OF SEARCH.

PRAISE FROM AN EXPERT.

London, Aug. 10.

The British cruiser Hermes is due at Cape Town tomorrow. On arrrival the vessel will leave again immediately to assist the cruiser Forte in the search for the Waratah.

The owners of the missing vessel calculate that if she has been disabled she will have drifted towards Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point of the Cape Colony, and there have met with a current which has carried her in an easterly direction.

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Admiralty has ordered that the search be conducted in accordance with this theory.

The cruiser Forte has not yet returned from her cruise.

Mr. G.S. Richardson, and engineering expert, of Geelong, who was a passenger from Melbourne by the Waratah, praises the vessel and her machinery. He declares that, so far from being a source of danger, the Waratah's bunker coal assured her a maximum of steadiness.

With regard to the statement that the Waratah took 300 tons of coat at Durban on the bridge decks, further particulars have been furnished. It is stated now that, in addition, she took 2,000 tons of coal into her bunkers.

It is stated that one of the passengers, Mr. C.G. Sawyer, who booked at Sydney through to London, had a presentiment of danger, which so affected him that he broke his journey at Durban.

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DIRECTION OF DRIFT.

Nautical men agree that if the Waratah is helpless the direction of her drift will be east-south-east, but that there is little if any prospect of her being carried so far south as to be in danger of ice. It rarely occurs that ice is seen north of lat. 48deg. south, which is 1,000 miles below the latitude of, say, East London, in which locality the missing vessel was reported to have been seen by the Union Castle liner Guelph. Even assuming that the Waratah broke down in the latitude of Cape Town, she would have to drift 700 or 800 miles towards the south before there was any risk of her encountering ice, but the experience of previous disabled vessels teaches that the tendency is to drift considerably more in an easterly direction -- that is towards Australia -- than to the southward.

A striking example of this is supplied by the movements of the Boveric, which lost her propeller in the Indian Ocean and drifted for five weeks. Whilst in that period she was borne about 200 miles to the eastward, she hardly altered her position as regards latitude the whole time, the difference being only a few miles. Experienced mariners, therefore, scout the suggestion that the Waratah might meet with icebergs during her drift.

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RECOLLECTIONS OF THE VESSEL.

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She carries spare sections of the main driving shafts, with couplings of a new type, to admit of repairs and replacements at sea that were before deemed impracticable. She also carries a fine jobbing lathe and powerful drilling machine, both electrically driven and a handsome outfit of engineers's tools.

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