McGowan, Frank (or J. Frank)

[Passenger list, "KOOMBANA" 37, compiled 04 June 1912, Adelaide Steamship Company. Broome Historical Society]

List of passengers known to have been bound for Derby.


From Port Hedland (Steerage)

McGowan J? Frank Mother, Mrs. Peter McGowan


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




Mr. J. McGowan.


["The Koombana", The West Australian, Saturday 30 March 1912, page 11]




Last night, however, the Adelaide Company received from their Port Hedland office a list of the passengers booked there to join the Koombana, which list does not include Mr. Davis's name. The names despatched by the Hedland office are as follow:--

For Broome: Joseph Johnson, Capt. Stuart, H. Brider, Hassan, a Japanese, aboriginal and Malay prisoners.

For Derby: J. McGowan.


["The Missing Koombana", Geraldton Guardian (WA), Saturday 30 March 1912, page 3]


The Adelaide S.S. Company has received from its Hedland office a list of the passengers booked there who joined the Koombana for Broome, as follows:- Joseph Johnson, Capt. Stuart, Brider[sic], Hassan, and Japanese, Aboriginal and Malay prisoners. For Derby: Mr. McGowan.

[Research file "s.s. Koombana", 1973-. Department of Maritime Archeology, Western Australian Museum, 189/73/1, Letter in reply, dated 01 May 1984, to Mrs Eileen Mahonen, regarding her uncle, Koombana passenger Frank McGowan]

reply by Scott Sledge to

Mrs Eileen Mahonen

[address withheld]

dated 1 May 1984

which discusses her Uncle Frank McGowan who went down on the Koombana

[Research file "s.s. Koombana", 1973-. Department of Maritime Archeology, Western Australian Museum, 189/73/1, Letter from Mrs Eileen Mahonen, 16 March 1984]

there is addtional info on the McGowan clan in her letter of 16/3/84

eg brothers Peter James Phillip Francis

sisters Bella Katie Maggie?

also mention of Dandaragan Gingin Toodyay Moora

[Personal communication, Bethwyn Brandis, granddaughter of Koombana passenger Fred Clinch, 25 May 2005]

Background: In March 2002 Mrs Brandis, granddaughter of Fred Clinch, sought to contact with other descendants of those lost on the Koombana. She placed an advertisement in The West Australian under the heading "Can you help?". She was very surprised at the response and has recorded the correspondence which followed. Amongst her correspondents:

Jim McGowan

[address withheld]

"Jim was 87 when he wrote to me. His uncle Frank McGowan was on the Koombana. He relied on any information I could pass on to him."

["Koombana's Passenger List", Broome Chronicle (WA), Saturday 30 March 1912]



For Derby.

Mrs. Sack and grandchild

Meesrs. Piper (2)

Mr W. Milne

Corporal Buttle

Mr. F. McGovern

Mr. R. Grome?

Mr. J. Craig

Dean Spark

Mr. Jenkins and daughter

Mr. Clinch

Mr. Thos. Forrest

Mr. Saunders

Mr. W. Cowen

[, Sunday, 05 June 2005]

Tried without success to find a Mahonen or Mahoney or Mahony anywhere. Nothing that leaps out; I will raise this with Jim McGowan if I can contact him.

[Jim McGowan, letter to Bethwyn Brandis, 19 March 2002, in response to published request for contact by descendants of those lost with Koombana]

hand-written letter from Jim McGowan, 87, of Duncraig

to Bethwyn Brandis;

letter undated but envelope postmarked 19 March 2002]


44 Poynter Drive

Duncraig South



B. Brandis

In answer to

your request regards

Koombana, Yes my Dads

Brother Frank McGowan

was a passenger & we have

always been interested on

any news of the ship, we

did hear a while ago that

they were going to put

a plaque at Port Hedland

with all the names, but

not being their I wouldent

Know if they had, I hope

that one day the Ship will be

found I am the last of his

Family still alive & I am 87

years now, It is always nice

to hear from someone else

with the same interest

in the ship as myself.

Yours Truly Jim McGowan

[Jim McGowan, letter to Bethwyn Brandis, 23 April 2002, continuing an exchange of information regarding Koombana]

second letter from Jim McGowan, 87, of Duncraig to Bethwyn Brandis of Mukinbudin;

letter undated but envelope postmarked 23 April 2002]

Dear Bethwyn

That was very

nice of you to take the Trouble

to send me the papers of 1912

made good reading & it has been

around the family, as a few years

ago we looked into our Family

tree & have got quite a lot

from when my people came out

to Australia on the Ship the

Minden in 1851 My grandmother

was six years of age & as she lost

her husband after she grew up

& got Married she lived with

our family from the time I started

school until she died in 1937

& I was 23, she had four Boys

Phill Peter Frank & Jim, in the

passenger list in thoes papers it

had J McGowan, But that was my Dad

it was Frank that went down

on the ship, have you got the full

passenger list & is there a

Frank McGowan there to, Thanks

again for the papers its a bit

more for our Family Tree &

as I had a paper with the ship

Koombana, I had one taken off

to send you in case you

havent got one, I thought it was

a good one of the ship. My wife

said if anytime you are

in Perth Drop in for a Cupa

would be nice to meet you

Bye for now

Jim & Flo

AB notes:

not J. McGowan; definitely Frank (but brother Jim may also have been in Hedland)

[Jim McGowan, letter to Bethwyn Brandis, 30 May 2002]

Dear Bethwyn,

Many thanks for

your beaut letter you told me

many things that we didn't know

like the ones that were on it

& the Lucky ones that missed

it Brings to mind that ones

life is all mapped out, as

about 1950 I was Booked on

the Plane Bungana to fly

to Melbourne for my firm

& at the last moment they

told me that the Book Keeper

would be going in my place

as he would like to take

his 14 year old Son as he

had just finished his TEE

& would be a nice surprise

for him, the plane came down

about York, all killed, so Luck

is a fortune.

When I was 17 year's

old I went to work on a Station

out of Port Hedland, it didn't work

out, so Back in Port Hedland

I had to go to the Police Station

to help me get in touch with

my Family, & when I told him

my name he asked me if I was

Related to a Frank McGowan

that was on the Koombana I said

I was & he got down a book that

had the news of the sinking

& this is what he told me,

It was only six hours out of port

they got a SoS but nothing more.

Anyway Thanks again for your Letter

Regards Jim & Flo