48a["The Koombana", The West Australian, Saturday 06 April 1912, page 7]





The telegraphic messages which came to hand yesterday supplied further evidence that the steamer Koombana, apparently with all hands, sank somewhere in the vicinity of Bedout Island. On arrival at Cossack yesterday Captain Upjohn, of the steamer Bullarra, telegraphed to Mr. W. E. Moxon (manager at Fremantle of the Adelaide S.S. Company), reporting that he had picked up about 20 miles to the north of Bedout Island one of the Koombana's boats, with the company's crest on it, and a quantity of smaller wreckage. He also reported that he had come across a quantity of oily and greasy water, and had secured some of it which he would bring south for analysis. It is supposed that the oil might have come from the engine-room of the ill-fated steamer, and that it might indicate the locality of the disaster. The Bullarra has been ordered to proceed to Onslow, to meet the s.s. Moonta for coal. Thence she will come direct to Fremantle for repairs. She is due to reach the Port next Friday. Having discontinued her search, the only boat now out looking for traces of the Koombana ie the steamer Una, which was chartered by the Government.

The name of H. Hartel has to be added to the list of steerage passengers by the Koombana for Derby

Captain Ward, of the s.s. Moira, which arrived at Robb's Jetty early yesterday morning from the North-West, reported that he had seen no sign of any wreckage on his way down the coast.

48b[Wreck of the "Koombana" - photocopy of material relating to, Harbour and Lights Department, Western Australia, 1912, State Records Office of Western Australia. WAS1618 Consignment 5055 Item 001, Telegram, Dalziel, Broome Harbourmaster to Irvine, Chief Harbourmaster, Fremantle, Friday 05 April 1912]

5-APR 1912

Pt Hedland

Irvine Harbourmaster Ftle

Arrived last night searched from Broome to Rowley Shoals & into Hedland saw nothing spoke Moira 31st who reported nothing seen spoke Bullarra who reported picked up quantity of wreckage about sixty miles E.N.E. Bedout Portion of boats bow with Adelaide Coy's badge

Boat Bottom Boards Tanks [unclear] & portion of saloon panel

sighted Una cruising off Bedout

I am leaving here today for Broome will endeavor to fix Bedout Light



48c[Extracts, Court of Marine Inquiry, loss of s.s. "Koombana", Harbour & Lights Department, Western Australia, 25 April - 6 May, 1912. copy held by the author, Testimony of Harry Upjohn, master of s.s. "Bullarra"]





IN THE MATTER of an Inquiry into the circumstances attending the loss at sea between Port Hedland and Broome

whilst on a voyage from Fremantle to Derby via Ports of the S.S. "KOOMBANA" on or about the 20th March 1912.

April 25th 1912.

BEFORE: E. P. Dowley Esq. R.M. (presiding)

Captain F. L. Parkes ) Assessors.

Captain J. W. W. Yates )

THE CROWN PROSECUTOR (Mr. F. PARKER) appeared to represent the Chief Harbor Master, Captain C. J. Irvine.

MR. MOSS K.C. appeared to represent the Adelaide Steamship Company.

[Upjohn testimony p1]




After the blow was over and you had effected temporary repairs,

did you engage in searching for the Koombana? What area did you

search? -

(Chart put in and area shown).

[Upjohn testimony p6]

What wreckage did you pick up? - An awning spar, portion

of motor launch, a panel from the ceiling of the smoking

room or musicroom, some covers of the lifeboats tanks and

a door.

(Wreckage produced).

You examined that carefully? - Yes.

Did you form any opinion as to what had caused the wreckage? -

The force of the wind and sea.

The panel is forced right out with the screws adhering? - Yes.

Have you formed any opinion? Does the Court desire to hear

any opinion? -

MR. DOWLEY. It may be given.


PROSECUTOR. Have you any doubt as to this being the wreckage of the

"Koombana"? - There is not the slightest doubt. The piece

from the motor launch has the Company's crest on it.

You know the door? - Yes, it belonged to the cabin on port side on the promenade deck.

What door is it? - It is a stateroom door.

During this blow, did the wind shift any of your boats at all? -

Yes. The lee boats. One of the boats had a hole bumped in it.

Were any other boats effected by the wind? - They were

strained and damaged, and chafed in the chocks.

Did you lose any boats? - No.

Were all the boats damaged? - Yes. They were all lashed down.


[Upjohn testimony p9]


MR. MOSS. When you were searching for the wreckage of the "Koombana" did

you notice any oily substance floating on the surface? - Yes.

Please tell the Court? - It was in latitude 19.11 and 119.25 E.

What distance would that be off Bedout Island? - About 27 or 28

miles - I cannot say which.

Did you take any samples of this oily substance? - Yes. Two or

three dozen bottles.

What depth was there at this place? - 30 or 35 fathoms.

Did you see any trace of the vessel in that depth? There would be

nothing to indicate that the Koombana or any other vessel would be

there? - It was getting dark and it looked like the outline of a

vessel. The Chief Officer said "It must be one of her decks," I

said "No, the decks would not look like that." I could see no more.

The engines were stopped and we drifted for about 4 miles.

What was the stuff in the bottles? - Oily, greasy water.

Have you any idea as to how that came there? - It looked as if

it came from a wreck.

[Upjohn testimony p10]

[MR. MOSS, continued]

There would be stuff on the ship to make this? - Yes.

Where are those bottles? - At the Company's office.

We will produce these if desired.

MR. DOWLEY. You saw this at dusk? - Yes.

MR. MOSS. When you went out from Broome to make this search, was it a

careful search in every way? - Yes.

Did you land anyone on Bedout Island? - Yes, the Chief Officer

and a party.

You searched with every care in the vicinity where you found

this wreckage? - Yes.

Was there any wreckage about then? - Yes, an awning spar and

one of the doors.

What difference in distance did you find any other pieces? -

There was a difference of as much as 20 miles.