50["The Koombana" (Editorial), The Northern Times (Carnarvon, WA), Saturday 06 April 1912, page 2]


With a little imagination we can picture the disaster: the rapidly incoming tide at Hedland Jetty, the crowding indications of an unusual weather disturbance, the anxious consultation of the captain and officers of the two Adelaide Company's steamers, the decision to face the storm in the open sea, the breezy assurances to troubled passengers, the good-byes to friends and earth; forging into the rising sea, hatches battoned down, and passengers cooped up amid protest and alarm, the burst and roar of the hurricane, the vessel dropping in troughs fearsomely deep, shaking herself free from the deluge upon her, and lifting and heaving upon hill-tops; the bridge carried away, the steamer at the mercy of the storm, a list, the roar of waters, and then the great darkness.


The fact that wireless communication had not been secured was ominous, but it was thought the storm soon completely ruined the overhead apparatus and that such available parts as the vessel carried were not sufficient to repair the damage. We understand that the Koombana could "speak" at night over a distance of 1500 miles, and if our information is correct there was no point to which she could have been blown by the hurricane where she would be out of touch with Fremantle.

On Monday week, our correspondent in Perth wired us that the Koombana was safe at Derby, but an urgent wire that came through to shipping agents next morning put a different complexion on matters, for it directed that the Una should be held here pending the Government's decision as to whether she should be sent out in search of the Koombana.


The presence on the boat of well-known North-Westers returning from their summer holidays caused a wave of general apprehension and deep regret in Carnarvon, and all news to hand from day to day was eagerly inquired for. We trust the even if the disaster is complete, some indication will be found to mark the resting place of the victims of the hurricane and the last anchorage of the palatial steamer whose presence was a compliment to our coast and a source of much comfort and satisfaction to passengers.

AB notes:

In all of the reference material, this last sentence is the only statement to the effect that finding the wrecksite would deliver comfort to the families of the missing. Given the modern preoccupation with symbolic 'closure', this is striking.