8a["The Cuzco", The South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA), Monday 10 June 1878, page 5]


The Cuzco. This vessel has not yet put in an appearance, although now considerably over due. It appears that the announcement of her arrival on Saturday was due to the fact that one of two vessels passing Cape Borda that morning was supposed by the lightkeepers to be the Cuzco. The vessel, however, ultimately turned out to be the Argonaut, a large ship.


8b["The Accident to the Steamship Cuzco", The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 15 June 1878, page 5]


By Telegraph.

(From our Special Correspondent.)

Portland, Friday Evening.

Considerable excitement was caused, this afternoon, by the appearance of an immense steamer coming into the bay under canvas. It was ascertained to be the Cuzco, and, from Captain Murdoch, we learn the following particulars:--After leaving Plymouth, on 20th April, the Cuzco had a capital passage, steaming at the rate of 13 knots an hour, or about 340 miles a day. On 23th May, when in longitude 104 degrees east, and latitude 42 degrees south, or about 600 miles south-west of Cape Leuwin[sic], the main shaft broke, and since then the Cuzco has been under canvas for a distance of 1600 miles. Since May 28th, Captain Murdoch states that he has passed the most trying and harassing period of his life, having had hardly 24 hours sleep since the occurrence of the accident. He states that he has encountered no less than six gales, some of them very severe, but one he witnessed on Saturday, June 8th, he states to be the worst ever met with by him during a twenty-seven years' experience at sea. Although under close-reefed topsails at the time, the sails were blown clean out of the bolt-ropes, and fears were entertained of a serious accident. At this time the Cuzco was about fifty miles off Cape Northumberland. During Saturday, the three-masted schooner Ralph M. Hayward, from Boston, was spoken, and instructed to report the accident to the Cuzco to her agents, Messrs. Bright, Brothers--the Cuzco, in the meantime, making her way to Portland. The first known of the Cuzco's disaster was her appearance in the bay, although fears for her safety were entertained. The passengers, 600 in number, speak in the highest terms of the skill and courage displayed by Captain Murdoch, to whose unwearing attention and bravery they ascribe the safety of the vessel and her immense number of passengers. Captain Murdoch also speaks in very warm terms of the admirable manner in which the passengers behaved under the trying circumstances of the voyage. On the vessel's arrival Captain Murdoch landed and telegraphed to his agents for instructions. The Health Officer, Dr. Brewer, boarded the vessel, and reported everything as being correct. A large number of the passengers will land tomorrow morning, and will proceed by rail to Melbourne. The arrival of the Cuzco is a strongly significant fact in favour of making Portland a place of call for mail steamers, and affords a practical proof of the ease with which the proposal of the Borough Council could be carried out. Singularly enough one of the passengers by the Cuzco, is Mr. Bates, godfather to Mr. Thomas Pearce, of the Loch Ard disaster. Mr. Bates last saw Pearce in Glasgow some months ago, and his delight at hearing of his godson's almost miraculous escape may well be imagined. It is stated that a tug steamer will be sent to Portland to take charge of the Cuzco to Melbourne for repair. The Cuzco tried to make Adelaide but failed.

8c["The Cuzco at Portland", The Argus (Melbourne), Monday 17 June 1878, page 7]

... It is estimated that the total number of miles traversed have been about 11,707, one day while under canvas 170 miles being achieved. There were on board 101 saloon passengers, 90 second cabin and 235 third class, making a total of 437 souls, without officers and crew. It is expected that the Cuzco will arrive in the bay to-day or to-morrow in tow of the tugs mentioned above.

8d["The Mishap To The Cuzco", The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne), Saturday 06 July 1878, page 62]


News reached Melbourne on June 14 of the arrival of the steamer Cuzco in Portland with a broken shaft, she having reached that port after being 16 days under sail. Some of the passengers reached Melbourne on the following day, from whom the following account of the voyage was obtained:--The Cuzco left Gravesend on the 17th April, and Plymouth at 6 p.m. on the 20th, experiencing fine weather to 11th May, when the Cape of Good Hope was reached. Upon arrival it was found that one of the mail steamers, the Conway Castle, carrying the mails from London to the Cape, had not arrived, though she had left Plymouth some 36 hours prior to the Cuzco, and it was not for some few hours afterwards that she put in an appearance. With a rapid voyage so far made, it was anticipated that a smart passage for the colonies would be made. After a delay of three days for coaling purposes, a start was again made on the evening of Tuesday, the 14th May. At this port there were about 36 passengers who wished to embark, but the vessel was so full that only six out of that number could be accommodated. Very favourable weather was experienced for some days, and rapid progress was being made, the being only one day that could be termed adverse, till the breaking of the main shaft occurred, which took place on the morning of the 28th May, in lat. 41deg. 16min. south, lon. 117deg. 45min. east, the vessel at the time going at full speed under steam and canvas, in a heavy sea, with the wind on the quarter. It was thought a fortunate circumstance that the wind was on the quarter at the time, for had it been otherwise, the consequences might have been of a most serious nature. More canvas was at once set, after which the captain had notices posted in different parts of the vessel intimating that the accident would be of a very brief character, and that no alarm need be experienced, as the vessel, being barque-rigged, with good masts, had good sailing qualities to carry her safe to port.

From this point very severe weather was encountered, and from the Monday to the Thursday prior to the Cuzco anchoring, it was such as Captain Murdoch states he never before experienced. On the day after the accident, a notice was also given to the passengers in all classes that it would be necessary for them to be placed under short ration allowance, as the voyage would of necessity be of longer duration than was anticipated. Of this intimation the whole of the passengers expressed their entire approval, and letters of condolence were forwarded by the saloon and second-class occupants to the captain.

8e["A Daring Act", The Argus (Melbourne), Tuesday 16 July 1878, page 6]



Sir,--Yarning with some of the crew of the Cuzco recently I heard of an incident in connexion with the breakdown which I have not seen mentioned--a trivial matter as it happened, but which might have been the cause of preventing serious damage It was that one of the hands, while the ship was in mid ocean and pitching, went down to the propeller and passed a line under the end of the shaft, by means of which line a chain was passed under the propeller to support it and prevent it slipping aft. The chain was, I heard, kept in position from very shortly after the breakdown until the ship arrived off Portland. The precaution seems now to have been unnecessary, but I think that the willingness of the man who volunteered to pass the line deserves to be brought under the notice of the owners. It is not every man who would have done the same thing

under the same circumstances.--I am, &c.


8f["Story of the Koombana", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 31 March 1912, page 12]


A Sketch of His Career

Captain Tom Allen, the skipper of the S.S. Koombana, about whose fate so much misgiving is felt, is undoubtedly one of the most popular seafaring men on our coast. He is in his 53rd year, and a bachelor. His immediate relatives are his mother, who is 83, and Mr. Sea Born Allen of George Wills and Co., his sole surviving brother, both of whom reside at the Semaphore, South Australia. Captain Allen's father, a Cork Irishman, was a shipmaster and owner in the 50's, 60's and 70's, and frequently visited Albany and Fremantle. His son Marmion was born in Marmion's Hotel, Fremantle, in 1867, hence the name. The late Hon. W. E. Marmion and his sister were the child's godparents.

Captain Allen was a sailor from his childhood, sailing with his parents around the Australian coast, and subsequently to New Caledonia. In 1873 he sailed from Port Darwin in the barque Contest, commanded by his father, for Rockingham, to load jarrah. They arrived after calling at Cossack; but in a north-westerly gale the Contest was blown from her anchors at Rockingham and wrecked. As his father then gave up the sea, Captain Allen shipped in one of the Glasgow "Citys," and went to foreign lands, returning to Australia in the Northern Monarch.

He then joined the Orient line as quartermaster of the Cuzco, and was aboard of her when she broke down and sailed from 1000 miles south of the Leeuwin to Portland, in Victoria, he being one of the men lowered over the quarter in a heavy sea to secure the propeller. He next became bo'sun of the Pacific liner Sorata, and after passing his examinations, came to Australia as mate of the Meeinderry.

The old Verulam was his first command, and after commanding various other sailing ships he passed for extra master. He then took charge of various tugs and coastal steamers, and was stevedore in Ports Pirie and Germein. Tried alluvial gold digging at Teetulpa, South Australia, and after commanding various vessels in the early 90's he took charge of the Tekapo, owned by the Union Company of New Zealand, but chartered to the Adelaide Steamship Company for the West Australian trade.

Subsequently he took command of the Marloo in the same trade, and in 1897 had a verdict of manslaughter returned against him by a Fremantle jury, because a man fell down the hold of the Marloo. The Attorney-General ignored the verdict. In 1897 he resigned from the Marloo, and joined the Port Adelaide pilot service, in which he remained 10 years, and left because, a law being altered, the pilots became civil servants at a salary, with undefined responsibility. During the 10 years he was pilot he handled hundreds of vessels of all descriptions satisfactorily, the Royal yacht Ophir being one of them. The present sailor King of England complimented him on his skill, and gave him a scarf-pin bearing the White Rose of York as a souvenir.

During the Crimean War coffee was scarce and dear, and Captain Allen chartered his schooner to a wealthy Chinaman and sailed into various then out-of-the-way places in search of trade. One of Captain Tom Allen's brothers is buried in Singapore, another (Marmion) in Melbourne, a third and a sister in Adelaide, and now it is only too probable that "The sea, the blue, lone sea" covers Tom Allen awaiting the time when "the sea shall give up its dead."

Captain Allen's only surviving brother, Mr Sea Born Allen, was born on board the Sehab Jehan off Cape Northumberland during an awful gale. As Captain Allen could not leave the deck, Mrs. Allen was left to the care of Nature and the steward, with satisfactory results. The elements welcomed the little stranger with a gorgeous display of Saint-Elmo's fire on the mastheads and yards, and fifty years later, on his brother's birthday, off the same place (Cape Northumberland), Captain Allen, then commanding the Grantala, was treated by nature to a similar electric illumination, the corposants outlining the steamer's masts and funnel.


The trading of coffee through the years of the Crimean War relates not to Tom Allen Junior, but to his father!

8g["Captain of the Koombana", The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.), Wednesday 03 April 1912, page 5]


Captain T. M. Allen, of the Koombana, was a well-known shipmaster in the inter-State trade. He was born in 1860, the son of the late Captain B. Allen. He received his only education at the Port Adelaide Grammar School, under the tuition of Mr. A. (now inspector) Martin. Having a love for the sea, he served his apprenticeship, and then spent a number of years on sailing vessels. He joined the service of the Adelaide Steamship Company and later left the company's employ to take charge of the tug Eleanor, owned by the Adelaide Steam-tug Company. Ho was master of the tug for several years, and gained much practical experience in manoeuvring big vessels up and down the Port Adelaide River, which then was not so navigable as now. Later on he resigned his position, and re-entered the Adeiinde Steamship Company's employ until his appointment in 1897 to the pilot service. He rendered valuable service as a pilot, and the first craft he piloted up the river was the steamer Port Elliot, of 2,295 tons, which he berthed without mishap. He was chosen in 1901 to take the Royal yacht Ophir up the Port River on the occasion of the visit of the present King and Queen to Australia. He was one of the most skilful navigators in Australia, and held an extra-master's certificate. He was the first South Australian born subject to receive this distinction. Captain Allen also possessed exemption certificates for the principal ports in the Commonwealth. He was quartermaster of the Orient steamer Cuzco when that vessel broke her screw shaft at sea, and he was one of a couple of hands who volunteered to go over the ship's stern and secure the propeller, notwithstanding that there was a heavy sea and that a great piece of ironwork was swinginng about in a dangerous manner. He had been master of the barques J. L. Hall and Verulam, also of the brigantine Annie Brown. By the Adelaide Steamship Company he was regarded as a most competent navigator, and directors and shareholders were sorry to lose his services when he took the position of pilot. He commanded the Tekapo in 1891, and was transferred to the Adelaide in 1893, and then to the Woollowra and Marloo. He resigned from the pilot service in 1906, and once again joined his old company. In 1907 he brought out from England the steamer Junee, and in the early part of 1908 he navigated the Echunga to Australia. Captain J. Rees of the Winfield was in charge of the Koombana prior to Captain Allen taking command.