21["The S.S. Koombana", Broome Chronicle (WA), Saturday 30 March 1912]

The S.S. Koombana

Interview with Messrs. McDonald and Low.

Our representative had and exceedingly interesting interview with Messrs. McDonald and Low (the well-known engineers of Broome) Mr. McDonald was sent home specially by the Company to supervise the construction and fitting of Koombana's engines, when she was being built at Glasgow, and also came out with her as Chief Engineer, and up to the time of leaving her to start business in Broome with Mr. Low he acted as chief engineer, and travelled with her to Sydney and up and down this coast. Mr. Low was fourth engineer, and also came out from Glasgow with her.

The trial trip of the Koombana, said Mr. McDonald, was at sea. She indicated 3,000 h.p., with a speed of 14 1/2 knots throughout, fully laden. Her average speed, however, is 13 1/2 knots fully laden.

"Was she a specially built ship as far as stability was concerned?"

"Stability ! Why, she was a magnificently built ship. Here is what her specifications set out:--'After the vessel is completed the centre of gravity is to be ascertained experimentally by inclining her, and the curves of stability are to be calculated up to 90 degrees of inclination at intervals of not more than 10 degrees for five different conditions of loading, to be specified by the Company.' That should satisfy the most curious that she was an exceedingly strongly built vessel, and her stability was a feature right through. Her tailing shaft was 25 per cent above requirements."

Mr. McDonald gave her dimensions as follows:--

Length: 340ft.; breadth(moulded): 47ft.; depth(moulded to main deck): 23ft.; round of beam: 9 in.; depth of lower hold(top of tank to top of lower deck beam amidships) 12ft. 6in.

Height between lower and main deck (top of beam to top of beam) 8ft.

Height between span and promenade deck (top of beam to top of beam) 8ft.

Height between promenade deck and boat deck (top of beam to top of beam) 8ft.

She was capable of carrying 92 first-class and 130 second-class passengers.

She had water-tight doors in every compartment, and was capable of carrying 900 tons of water ballast. Her engines were triple expansion, but not duplicate, and had all the latest auxiliary gear. There were four methods of steering the vessel, namely: (1) Brown's telemeter from bridge (ordinary use); (2) steam gear worked from aft; (3) hand gear worked from aft; (5) winch chain gear worked from aft. Her boilers (four of Babcock and Willcock's) carrying a pressure of 225lb, reduced to 180 an engine. She had two sets of dynamos of 400 ampere, from which the wireless apparatus is worked, the ordinary radius of which is 500 miles, but in thunderstorms or electrical disturbances is almost useless. In fine and clear weather, however, it may reach 800 or 1,000 miles. This may account for no wireless message being received from here, or it may be that her masts have carried away, taking the apparatus with it.

"Ever since the vessel has been out, Mr. McDonald, there has been comments down south of her top-heaviness?"

"That is all nonsense. she is a beautifully proportionately built boat. I was Chief Engineer on her from the time of launching till I left her a little over twelve months ago. We left Glasgow for Australia on the 1st January, 1909, and on her way out we met with some bad weather, and she quite kept up to trial trip--a splendid sea boat. I also travelled with her from Derby to Fremantle with 700 bullocks on her top deck, with no coal or anything in her, and she behaved splendidly. She is the best sea boat I have ever been in, and almost my last trip in her was one of the worst, from a weather point of view, I have experienced since I have been at sea. Her machinery was the best running I ever handled, which did not "race" when light. I do not think she has broken her tailing shafting, which, as I have said, is made 25 per cent above requirements. My opinion is that she has met with some minor disablement, such as the rudder, in which case she would be uncontrollable, and that they are effecting repairs at sea, as they have all the appliances and facilities on board for so doing. Yes, I have every hope of her turning up somewhere partially repaired. You know you can't do much in a week at sea in the way of reparis, and it is to be hoped that those whose anxiety is greates will take heart with the fact of a splendid sea vessel, splendidly equipped in every way will yet bring her passengers safely to port."