McDermott, T.

[SS "Koombana": list of crew as per copy of Articles at shipping office, Fremantle, Adelaide Steamship Company, April 1912. provided to the author by Jean Northover, City Beach, Western Australia]



T. McDermott, fireman 30 Liverpool


["Story of the Koombana", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 31 March 1912, page 12]


W. Clarke, J. Smith, J. Brown, C. Nortin, C. Anderson, G. Furlong, H. Offord, G. Olsen, A. C. de Montfort, T. O'Loghlan, T. McDermott, Thos. Taylor, A. Bryant, J. Downie and C. Peters, firemen;


["The Crew", The West Australian, Wednesday 03 April 1912, page 7]

The following is the complete crew which left with the vessel, according to the records in the Adelaide Co.'s office:--


W. Clarke, J. Smith, J. Brown, C. Norton, C. Anderson, G. Furlong, H. Offord, O. Olsen, *W. Fitzpatrick, A. C. de Montfort, T. O'Loghlin, T. McDermott, Thos. Taylor, A. Bryant, J. Downie, and C. Peters, firemen.


["The Koombana", The West Australian, Friday 12 April 1912, page 7]


The following official list of the names of the crew who signed on the s.s. Koombana's articles and who were supposed to have gone in the vessel is supplied by the Shipping Master of Fremantle (Captain T. W. Smith). The age, birthplace, and capacity of each member is given:--


T. McDermott, 30, Liverpool, fireman;


[Barker, Malcolm, 2001, The Truth Is So Precious, Success Print, Perth, Western Australia, page 43]


As stated above, on 29th November 1911, the replacement crew of 16 firemen signed on. Sadly, four of these, W Clarke, W Fitzpatrick, T McDermott and C Norlin were still aboard when it left Fremantle on 12th March 1912. Even more curiously, three firemen on that last voyage were none other than J Downie, H Offord and A Olson. These three were among the original 16 who declined to resume aboard the Koombana in protest against the presence of the the Chief Steward.


AB notes:

Downie, Offord and Olson were part of the Koombana Firemen's Strike of November 1911,

while Clarke, Fitzpatrick, McDermott and Norlin were part of the (union-sponsored) strike-breaking team.

["The Koombana Firemen", Geraldton Guardian (WA), Saturday 06 January 1912, page 1]

The Koombana Firemen.


In November, when the s.s. Koombana was in port at Fremantle, trouble arose amongst the ship's firemen over the provisions supplied to them, and as a result the vessel was delayed some days. It was not until a new crew for the stokehold had arrived from the East that the Koombana was able to resume her running in the Nor'-West mail service. A member of the crew, who came over from the East by direction of the Seamen's Union, to join the Koombana, has received the following communication from the secretary of the union (Mr. A. Cooper): In recognition of the great services that you and your shipmates, have rendered to the union at a critical period in its history, the executive council have decided to present to each of the men who left Melbourne and Adelaide and joined the Koombana at Fremantle with a gold medal of the union, and, further, whatever may be said to the contrary at Fremantle or elsewhere, your action, as well as that of the executive, has been endorsed by the Federation. We sincerely trust that you will use your best endeavors in order to make things work smoothly during the course of your engagement, and, if there are real grievances, make such complaints to our Fremantle agent (Mr. T. McShearer). Should he be unable to settle matters, your duty is to ask him to forward same to me, but, should he, through any misadventure, fail to do so, I will be pleased if you would communicate with me direct, giving fullest particulars, but it must be distinctly understood that there be no cessation of work until after the fullest inquiry." Daily News.

AB notes: Clarke, Fitzpatrick, Norlin and McDermott would have received this recognition.

[Barker, Malcolm, 2001, The Truth Is So Precious, Success Print, Perth, Western Australia, page 48]


The more poignant are surely those of the following "poor lost souls" for whom nobody would lay claims to their wages for their final voyage:

Name Age Place of Birth

C Norlin 32 Sweden

W Fitzpatrick 25 Cork, Ireland

O Olson 26 Goteborg, Sweden

T McDermott 30 Liverpool, England

G A Gee 25 Sydney, Australia

F W Cant 54 Cardiff, Wales

J Jones 27 Liverpool, England"

AB notes:

Wages never claimed, according to MB.