Quinlan, Thomas A.

[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 Fremantle [saloon]




Quinlan, J. or T. * Shearer, aged 21. Mother residing at Fitzgerald

Street, Northam

Quinlan, R. * Shearer aged 25. Brother of above.


* Signifies that persone indicated had been reported by relative

or friends as having travelled and presumably booked on board.

[Passenger list, "KOOMBANA" 37, compiled 02 April 1912, Adelaide Steamship Company. Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University, 0186/N46/634]

Fremantle-Derby Quinland Thos Aged 21 Shearer ) Mother living at

Quinland Richard Aged 25 do ) Northam.

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




Mr. D. McSwain.

Mr. W. J. McKibbin.

Mr. W. E. Vile.


Mr. T. Quinland.

Mr. R. Quinland.


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



Now that it appears more than probable that the Koombana no longer exists, the personality of the passengers who most likely have shared her untimely fate will be of interest. Amongst them are several well-known people, and it is quite possible that some of them may have left the ship at an intermediate port.


Some anxiety was felt at Northam as to the fate of two brothers, Richard and Thomas Quinlan, who were believed to have booked through to Derby, where they were engaged to start shearing, but in all probability they left the ship at Carnarvon. Mrs. J. Hill, of the Leake Estate, Northam, is a sister of the Quinlans.

[Research file "s.s. Koombana", 1973-. Department of Maritime Archeology, Western Australian Museum, 189/73/4]

Jack Soreson - The Shearers' Bard of W.A. (1907-1949)

The Gun of Glindavor[?] and other Ballads - Perth 1932

Soreson dedicated "The Lost Shearing Team" to the shearers who sailed from Port Hedland

on the Koombana in 1912. He tells of the team setting off from Port Hedland for Derby

from where they would set off overland for Liveringa Station.

["Action by Australian Workers's Union", The West Australian, Thursday 30 May 1912, page 8]


Among those who lost their lives on the Koombana were a number of men--about 20 in all, so far as can be officially ascertained--who were proceeding to the shearing sheds in the North-West. These men were members of the Australian Workers' Union, and their mates on the Upper Liveringa Station have subscribed and forwarded to the head office of the Union in Perth the sum of 50 15s. 6d. to be distributed among the widows and orphans of their late comrades. The secretary of the union (Mr. T. L. Brown) has obtained authority from the headquarters of the Union in the Eastern States to forward subscription lists throughout the shearing sheds in this State in order to augment the amount already donated.

[Pauline Halfweeg, descendant of Koombana passengers Richard and Thomas Quinlan, letter to Bethwyn Brandis, 20 March 2002]

Hand-written letter from Pauline Halfweeg, 83, of Mosman Park to Bethwyn Brandis, 20 March 2002

20th : 3 : 02

[address withheld]

Dear Sir or Madam,

I read your bit

on "Koombana" Im not 100 percent sure

I have the right Ship I was under

the impression she went down

in April I'm probably misstaken

with the Titanic or something,

I am 83 1/2 years old so have forgotten

lots of things

My Father was John William Quinlan

I remember him telling me he had

two Brothers who went down

with the "Koombana" one was

named Tom I have no idea of

the second name of of the brother

Tom Quinlan, This is probably not the

information you were after, thought

I would answer anyway

My name Pauline M Halfweeg

(nee Quinlan)

P.S. The brothers were

headed north for a

shearing job

or contract

[Pauline Halfweeg, letter to Bethwyn Brandis, 06 April 2002]

A second letter from Pauline Halfweeg to Bethwyn Brandis,

letter undated but envelope postmarked 6 April 2002

[address withheld]

Dear Bethwyn,

What a nice pretty

sounding name you have.

A bit long in answering you I

have lots of excuses I won't go in to

It just seems difficult to get ones self

organised, however I hope you are

keeping well, Thank you so much for

sending me the 1912 News sheets I

really found it hard to believe what

I was seeing My son Terry became

very interested & took your address

I think he was hoping to send you

copies of photoes he took at the

"Koombana" memorial site his jobs

takes him to the Pt Hedland Karatha

areas 11 days on the job 8 or 9 at home

in Rossmoyne he shows a lot of

interest in things of the past,

regarding both sides of his family.


Did you get an answer from a

Dossie Brindley, Hazel Doherty, or

Peter Quinlan If they are still alive

& kicking they are cousins of mine

family of Jim Quinlan (long gone)

brother of my late father John William

Quinlan I didnt even meet any of them

more than a few times & the years

so quickly pass I havent any idea

where they are. Dossie & Hazel if

still around could have been from

the Claremont area.


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

[Hand-written from Bethwyn Brandis to the author, 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:

Paulene Halfweeg

[address withheld]

Terry Halfweeg

[address withheld]

Terry sent me photos of the memorial at Port Hedland. His mother would be 86 now. His two great uncles Tom and R. Quinlan were on the Koombana."

[Personal communication, Valerie Moir, descendant of Koombana passenger Richard and Thomas Quinlan, 31 July 2006]

Val Moir telephoned the WA Maritime Museum seeking information,

following the Batavia Lecture of Friday 28 July 2006 (which she missed).

She is the grand-daughter of Elizabeth Maria Quinlan, sister of Thomas and Richard.

Elizabeth Maria Quinlan's mother was Elizabeth Thompson.

Val does not know of the existence of any photographs of the boys lost.

I have agreed to send what little information I have to:

V A Moir

[address and telephone number withheld]

[Personal communication, Valerie Moir, descendant of Koombana passenger Richard and Thomas Quinlan, 07 August 2006]

A second telephone conversation with Valerie Moir, Monday 07 August 2006

Val advises that the family name is spelt "Quinlan" on an old marriage certificate.