45["The Waratah Enquiry", The Register (Adelaide, SA), Friday 20 January 1911, page 5]



One of the witnesses before the Waratah Board of Enquiry in London last month was Professor W. H. Bragg, F.R.S., Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds. Professor Bragg was a passenger by the Waratah during her maiden voyage, and had made three previous trips to Australia by first-class mail steamers. The report of the London correspondent of the Melbourne Argus, telegraphed from Fremantle, states:--"He spoke with the authority of a trained observer. Professor Bragg's evidence showed that during the Waratah's first voyage there was a general belief among the passengers that all was not well. His own impression of the vessel was that her metacentre was slightly below her centre of gravity when she was upright, but that as she rolled over she came to a position of equilibrium on either side. Professor Bragg added that on the voyage from Albany, two or three days out, a steward said that there could be no baths for ladies owing to the list, as the water could not run away from the baths. Witness noticed to his surprise one morning that the vessel was coming upright, and then remembered that they were going to alter the water ballast to right the list. It was a continual query at breakfast whether the captain could not do something to cure the list, but, to the disappointment of the passengers on the morning in question the vessel came upright, and then settled down to a similar list on the other side. For a few days after leaving Albany witness was much alarmed at the behaviour of the vessel, but was afterwards reassured, and came home in her. He thought that she rolled very little, and was a remarkably steady and comfortable vessel. He discussed the stability of the Waratah with the engineer, who reassured witness very much, saying that the Waratah was "as safe as a church." Witness became convinced that the vessel had an almost neutral equilibrium. He asked the engineer whether in rough weather the tanks would be filled, and tne engineer said that they would, and that the vessel would then be stiff as a board. One of the junior engineers said that she was the tenderest ship he had ever been on. About a week after arriving at Albany some ballast tanks were filled to cure the list, and Professor Bragg actually discussed with Capt. Ilbery the "turning turtle" of the Clan Ronald in Spencer's Gulf, and asked to see the stability curves of the Waratah, as he was nervous. Capt. Ilbery said that the curves were not on board, but they had all been carefully worked out.