16a["Search Arrangements", The West Australian, Thursday 28 March 1912, page 7]
STATEMENT BY MR. MOXON.
Mr. Moxon, in view of the numerous inquiries for first-hand information regarding the movements of the Koombana and the arrangements for searching for her, yesterday issued the following official statement concerning the whole matter:
"The following arrangements which have been made in conference with Captain Irvine, Chief Harbourmaster, are now in operation:--The secretary to the Premier advises us that the resident magistrate at Broome has been authorised by the Premier to send out local craft to search Rowley Shoals and the 80-Mile Beach towards Port Hedland. These craft no doubt left on Monday, or Tuesday morning. The Premier also asked the steamship Gorgon, which is supposed to have left Sourabaya last night (the 26th) for Broome, to deviate and examine the Rowley Shoals, and also for the Minderoo to accelerate her trip to Cossack to observe the Monte Bello Islands, thereafter to wait instructions at Cossack. The A.U.S.N. Company have cabled the Moira at Wyndham (apparently delayed waiting for cattle) to keep a sharp lookout at Lacepede Islands, Rowley Shoals, and neighbourhood, on her voyage to Fremantle direct. The Adelaide Steamship Company's s.s. Bullarra, working day and night to effect temporary repairs, left Cossack Roads for Port Hedland last night, and arrived off Port Hedland to-day. The captain advises that she is proceeding to Broome for water, etc., and will search for Koombana en route. Captain Upjohn is fully advised of the direction of cyclone winds, etc., furnished by Moira, and will search Turtle Islands and Bedout Island, which are on the usual track to Broome. She left Port Hedland at 9 a.m. to-day. When the searching boats report the public will be immediately notified through the Press. Conmsunications are now coming through from the neighbourhood of Port Hedland, via Broome and cable."
16b["At Fremantle", The West Australian, Thursday 28 March 1912, page 7]
MANY UNFOUNDED RUMOURS.
Rumours and tales of tragedy filled the air at Fremantle yesterday, and with each additional scare the offices of the Adelaide Steamship Company, the owners of the missing liner Koombana, were crowded with inquirers. While communication was established with Port Hedland, this fact brought no satisfaction to those desirous of gleaning some ray of hope, for the information was quickly disseminated that the Koombana had not been sighted from that port. When the postal authorities notified on the shipping board at Fremantle Post Office that at 8.30 p.m. on Tuesday a steamer with two masthead lights and well lit up had passed Point Moore, outside Geraldton, going in a southerly direction, this was seized upon by some as a pretext upon which to spread a report that the Koombana was on the way down the coast, and would show up to-day. The rumour was immediately scouted by those having any knowledge of shipping matters, for if it had been the Koombana, Captain Allen would obviously have used his Morse telegraphic apparatus and notified his safety to the lightkeepers and so allayed the feeings of gravest apprehension which exist. Beyond that the fact that no vessel from the direction of Geraldton put in an appearance last night goes to show that the vessel will probably be a steamer from the Far East, or other overseas port en route to either Bunbury for timber, or else to the Eastern States direct. The next rumour, having the slightest semblance of reason for its circulation, was to the effect that the Koombana was outside Port Hedland flying signals of distress. Investigation showed that the origin of the rumour had apparently sprung from a cable received from Broome by Mr. W. E. Moxon, manager of the Adelaide SS. Company, as follows:--"Lineman three miles this side of Port Hedland advises: Two ships, lighter, lots of luggers lost. Forty whites lost. Lugger Clara went down with seven hands.
Eleven bodies found. Steamer outside flying signals of distress, no funnels, no decking. Hedland post office advises that they got the full force of the willy willy. A few minutes' contemplation was sufficient to remove any impression that the vessel flying signals was the Koombana, when it is remembered that the s.s Bullarra, which left Cossack cn Tuesday evening, was due at Port Hedland at daybreak yesterday morning to land her stock. On arrival she signalled to ascertain if the fairway was clear after the cyclone. The signals, combined with the bedraggled appearance of the Bullarra, and the absence of high decks, such as are portion of the superstructure of the Koombana, evidently account for the lineman, being unfamiliar with the two ships, mistaking the Bullarra for the missing steamer. Any doubts which might have existed were later dispelled when Mr. Moxon received a cable message from the company's manager at Port Hedland which, being interpreted by the local office and made more intelligible, conveyed the following information:--"A gale, almost reaching the force of a cyclone has raged here, the damage, however, to the town and shipping facilities being nil. The Bullarra called this morning, and several luggers are now searching Amphinome Shoals, which include the Bedout and other islands. Luggers have also been sent out to search along the beach. No traces of the Koombana are to be seen locally."
The Bullarra sailed from Port Hedland at 9 o'clack yesterday morning for Broome to replenish her water supplies. On her way she will examine Turtle and Bedout islands and make a thorough search on her way to the northern port for the Koombana. En route the vessel will probably intercept snme of the luggers which have bhen sent out from Broome in a southerly direction. The Bullarra, it is expected, will reach Broome this evening. There is an abundance of food and fuel aboard the Koombana.