29["The Koombana", The West Australian, Friday 29 March 1912, page 7]







That disaster in some form or another has overtakes the Adelaide S.S. Company's fine Nor'-West trader, Kodmbana, now eight days overdue on the run from Port Hedland to Broome, appears to be generally accepted. The truest index to public opinion yesterday was that hope has reached a very low ebb. Eight days is an insignificant period in the ordinary sense of vessels overdue, but on a voyage which should occupy, under usual conditions, a matter of 24 hours, and on a coast where at this time of the year danger lurks unceasingly, it is more than sufficient to warrant gloomy public fears. To all intents and purposes the extent of the disaster, and its possible harvest of human life, are now being awaited. With an immense coastline to patrol and an area of sea that must take days to cover, news from the search fleet is necessarily slow in coming to hand, and the passage of each hour with out a single word has begun to dispel the belief that no news is a bulwark to which those in suspense can cling. Optimistic endurance of the silence from the seas has almost reached its breaking point in the public mind.

It is probable that the first tidings will come through from Broome to-day, where the Bullarra, herself scarred by the hurricane, is expected to arrive at daylight. Her skipper received instructions to examine the Amphinome Shoals, including Bedout ant Turtle Islands, and scour wide the route of the steamers to the northern port. Tie Minderoo after observing the vicinity ot Montebello Islands is due at Cossack to-day, and the Gorgon from Java, which is examining the Rowley Shoals, should make Broome to-morrow morning. Suspense should, therefore, be shortly relieved. Whatever the Koombana's fate, probably never before have search steamers' reports been more anxiously awaited in this State. The police are out from Port Hedland scouring the 90-Mile Beach.

Several luggers have come in from the search, unsuccessful, but although there is the gravest apprehension as to the missing steamer, all hope will not be definitely abandoned till the last of the cordon of rescue boats, now drawing in, shall have told the story of its journey.

At the half-yearly meeting of the Adelaide Steamship Co. held in Adelaide, yesterday the chairman of directors (Mr. James Harvey) said that no news yet had been received of the missing Koombana, but they were hopeful for the best, and that at the worst the vessel would be found broken down.

The State Government has entered into the search with renewed vigour, and from information given below it will also be seen that the Federal authorities are anxious to assist in whatever way they can.




The following list epitomises the search arrangements which have been made and the movements of the several vessels concerned:

S.s. Bullarra.--Due Broome daylight today (Friday), after searching Turtle and Bedout Islands and waters en route to Broome, for water.

S.s. Gorgon.--Is crossing from Sourabaya (left Tuesday night) to Rowley Shoals to search same, and thence to Broome. She should make the Shoals to-day (Friday) and Broome to-morrow. Dalgety and Co., Ltd., agents, advise that Java wires that Captain Townley will search carefully for Koombana en route.

S.s. Minderoo.--Due Cossack to-day (Friday), after observing vicinity Montebello Islands, and thereafter the Government may instruct master to search from Montebellos to Rowley Shoals, and report at Port Hedland, where she may be due about Sunday.

S.s. Moira.--Left Wyndham 10.30 a.m. yesterday (Thursday) for Fremantle, and should pass through waters from Lacepedes to Montehellos about Saturday.

S.s. Una.--Probably leaving Geraldton to-day (Friday) to search waters west of Montebellos and Rowley Shoals; due on cruising ground about Tuesday.

Luggers from Broome and Port Hedland are now out searching Rowley Shoals, 80 Mile Beach, etc., and Amphinome Shoals.

Press report police out from Port Hedland along 80-Mile Beach.



The continued absence of definite news from the North-West at Fremantle is having a depressing effect, more especially among those who are more or less directly concerned in the whereabouts of the missing liner Koombana. Consolation, such as it is, is found in the fact that the Government and the shipping companies combined have done all in their power to make the search for the vessel as complete as possible. First word in connection with the actual work of searching should be received early to-day from the Bullarra. The news that the small coastal vessel Una had been chartered for a cruise in what may be termed the catastrophe zone was received with gratification by anxious citizens. For the most part, however, the position at the Port has resolved itself into one of patience, in anticipation of definite news, good or bad, being received in the near future.