16a["Shipping", The Inquirer & Commercial News (Perth, WA), Friday 13 April 1894, page 18]


Port of Fremantle.

Arrived.--April 5.


April 6.

EMU, steamer, 616 tons (Adelaide S.S. Co., Ltd.), Thos. M. Allen, from Melbourne...


The fine steamers Tekapo and Buninyong have just been pressed into the service for conveying contingents of the army of prospectors still waiting at the ports in the colonies to the eastward for the means of transport to Albany, Fremantle or Geraldton, on the way to the goldfields. The Tekapo (formerly the Cape Clear) is a vessel of vast capacity, and belongs to the U.S.S. Co. of New Zealand; she was built at Greenook in 1881, her gross tonnage being 2439. The Buninyong, which was built at Barrow in 1888, belongs to Messrs. Howard, Smith & Sons, of Melbourne, has a gross tonnage of 2070, and is well-known as a favorite passenger boat between Melbourne and Sydney.

Captain Allen reports that the Emu left Melbourne at midnight on the 26th ult. South-westerly winds and fine weather were experienced on the run to Adelaide, which was reached at 10.50 a.m. on the 29th ult. Departure was taken for Albany at 5 o'clock on the same afternoon. Strong south westerly winds with head sea were encountered during the run across the Bight. Albany was reached at 1.30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and a start was made for Fremanle 6 1/2 hours later. Rottnest light was sighted 2.50 last Friday, and the Emu slowed down, the jetty being reached at 8 o'clock.


16b["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!

16c["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.