15["The Company and the North West Coast", Newsletter, 30 June 1971, found in Records, 1875-1994, Adelaide Steamship Company. Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University, 0186/N46/634]

The Search for the Koombana

Following the mention in the last edition of "Newsletter" of the loss of "Koombana", Fremantle correspondent, Mr. Jim Dingle, kindly sent over a sketch from the Western Australian newspaper "The Daily News" dated 29th March 1912, which is reproduced below. Sea-going members in particular will be interested in noting the careful and extensive search for the ill-fated ship made by all vessels in the area.

<<>> Chart showing progress and prediction of Koombana search.


The above sketch shows the coast line and the area covered by the cyclone which has evidently been the cause of the disaster to the 'Koombana'. The point where the unfortunate vessel was last seen by the 'Bullarra' is indicated by an asterisk. The latter vessel, it will be remembered, encountered the fringe of the storm, and steamed away from it to the west. The 'Moira also found by her glass indications of a cyclone, and steamed 200 miles to the west, afterwards making north-east again. The 'Koombana', after leaving Port Hedland, also found herself face to face with the cyclone, but she was not so fortunate as the other vessels, for as the circles showing the direction of the wind indicate, she was caught in a veritable trap. On the one side of her was a lee shore abounding in reefs, which, with a falling tide, meant disaster to return to Port HedIand, and on the other side was apparently the centre of the storm. Hence Captain Allen had no alternative but to face the elements, and to endeavour to conquer them. That he was not successful the now known facts indicate. There is, of course, the remote chance that he managed to get out to sea, but even if he did it is clear that he did so in a disabled condition. This the result of the searches now being undertaken will disclose.

The sketch also shows the course mapped out for the 'Una', the track which the 'Bullarra' will follow for six days. and the courses followed by the 'Gorgon' and the 'Minderoo', as well as the positions which have been inspected by the luggers. We are indebted to Mr. Moxon, the Manager of the Adelaide S.S, Company, for the use of the chart from which the sketch has been made.