36a["Southern News", The Northern Times (Carnarvon, WA), Saturday 12 February 1910, page 3]

SOUTHERN NEWS.

Perth, February 7.

In connection with the affiliation of the Railway Officers' Association and the W.A. Amalgamated Society of Railway Workers, Mr. Gregory stated that the matter had been discussed by Cabinet, but it had been found that the principle contained in the proposal was contrary to all railway practice, and that it was absolutely necessary in the interests of the service and of the public that the officers' association should be distinct from the workers' union.

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February 8.

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Marble Bar was visited by a heavy storm yesterday. Three inches of rain fell, and several buildings were damaged.

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February 11.

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The s.s. Koombana is discharging 5,000 sleepers at Port Hedland by the aid of passengers and other members of the crew. More trouble is expected when the s.s. Charon arrives.

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36b["Koombana Inquiry", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 26 May 1912, page 5]

KOOMBANA INQUIRY

A PECULIAR INCIDENT

That Wasn't Referred To

With regard to our contention that the inquiry into the loss ot the Koombana was not by any means so searching as it might have been, consider the statement of a well-known Nor'-Wester. He was living at Port Hedland the year before last when the Koombana, in common with other vessels, was carrying steel rails for the Port Hedland-Marble Bar railway during what is known locally as the willy-willy season. He states that the Koombana arrived at Hedland with a cargo consisting chiefly of such rails, of which she discharged all but 150 tons. These 150 tons, he declares, were left on board at the request of the captain of the ship in order to increase her stability on her trip to Wyndham and back. As a matter of fact, the rails were carried, not only to Wyndham but down to Fremantle, and were not landed at their destination until the ship returned to Port Hedland on her next trip northward.

It is remarkable that this incident wasn't mentioned at the inquiry. Such an unusual transaction cannot have been carried out without some record. The captain must have reported on it, and correspondence must have passed between the Port Hedland agents and the head office. Moreover, the officer of the Public Works Department in charge of the railway must have known of it, and yet none thought it necessary to place the facts before the court. Captain Reeves was sent "home" to bring the vessel out, and he commanded her on the coast for about two years, and the fact that be considered it necessary to carry a further 150 tons of dead weight as "stiffening" during the cyclone season in addition to his water ballast is significant. "The Sunday Times" is more than ever convinced that the Federal authorities should conduct an independent inquiry.

36c[Moore, Doug, Papers, Extracts from his account of his life in the Kimberley, 1904-1914., Battye Library, ACC 3829A (listing MN 1237)]

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The tragedy of the Koombana is never forgotten. One time I was a passenger on her coming to Wyndham. We had about 200 tons of railway iron on board for Hedland. They were then building the line to Marble Bar. Just before reaching Hedland we struck a squall and the ship lay over at an angle of 45 degrees and was quite a long time before straightening up. Johnny Rees was the Skipper and he said to me 'there is no loading going off at Port Hedland - will hang on to all those rails for ballast and drop them off coming back. Capt. Rees, Mr. Clarke, Chief Mate, and Macdonald, Chief Engineer - they all sensed the ship was top heavy and fortunately had left the vessel when she capsized outside Hedland in 1912. A beautiful ship lost. Not suitable for this coast - drew too much water - and some very fine Kimberley people were drowned. Ally and George Piper, old Mrs. Sack, a very well known person, mother of all the Sacks in the country at the time. George was manager of Go Go Station, and W. K., and all the shearers that were coming to West Kimberley were lost.

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