11["The Hurricane of '97", The West Australian, Thursday 28 March 1912, page 7]
The Hurricane of '97.
Experience With The Albany.
In view of the exceptional buffeting which the Bullarra and other vessels received during the cyclone, the shipping fraternity at Fremantle are recalling previous experiences in which Nature in her wildest moods as revealed in the terrifying storms of the north-west, has played havoc with man and mechanism. Among those reminiscences is one in which the old Albany, trading on the coast, braved the terrific cyclone of April 1, 1897. Mr C. R. Hunter, now chief engineer on the Government steamer Penguin, was at that time second engineer on the Albany, and yesterday in speaking of the occurrence, remarked that it was an experience which few men desired to pass through again.
"We had it very heavy that time, on the trip from Port Hedland to Cossack," he said, "and we steamed through the first portion of the storm into the centre, where all was calm so far as the wind was concerned, but where the water was simply a seething, boiling cauldron; then out again into the outer ring of the storm as it revolved, and so to safety. We got through our first dose of the weather pretty well, and when we got into the calm, thousands of birds and insects, many of which were new to us although we had been on the coast for very many years, sank exhausted on our decks. When they were approached by the crew the birds did not take the trouble to move; they were simply exhausted. When we ran into the storm again, they were blown down to the weather side and rammed by the wind into a compact heap--all dead. The Albany was an open "fiddley" ship, with only an iron grating around her funnel base, instead of being closed in. When we got our second dose we shipped huge seas .. which poured down into the engine room and flooded the place out. In less than no time there was a depth of 9ft. of sea water in the engine room, and the fires were out for over 24 hours. During that time we had relays at work bailing the ship out with canvas buckets, and eventually we were able to get the fires going again. Our deck fittings were all wrenched off, boats torn away, and skylights ripped off. In addition, our rudder carried away and to all intents and purposes we were only a derelict. However, we rigged up a jury rudder and steamed into Fremantle. That was a frightful storm, the like of which I never want to see again."