Shiels, Andy

[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 Geraldton (All Steerage Passengers)

Lewis, William Shearer. Wife and family reside at Geraldton.


Scougall, R. Shearer, refer Mayor of Cue.

Shields, A. Shearer, refer Mayor of Cue.

Clarke, James W. Shearer, refer Mayor of Cue.


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

Geraldton-Derby Shields A. took return half

["Murchison Passengers", The Murchison Times and Day Dawn Gazette (Cue, WA), Thursday 11 April 1912, page 3]




On Saturday we telegraphed to the representative of the Adelaide Steamship Company at Port Hedland as follows:--

"Were Messrs Clarke, Spencer, Shields, Scugall and Lewis, who booked at Geraldton for Derby, on board the s.s. Koombana when she left Hedland."

The Mayor (Mr. Hardwicke) telegraphed to the Adelaide Steamship Co. at Fremantle on Saturday, asking if Clarke, Spencer, Scugall and Shields had broken their voyage. In the evening he received this reply:--

"Four passengers mentioned booked for Derby and presumably were drowned, in the absence of any information to the contrary."

There still remained a hope while the answer to our telegram was to come. On Tuesday morning, however, the faint hope flickered out and died. The answer to our message came in the following terms:--

"The passengers you mentioned did not land at Hedland, and we are therefore unaware of their identity. We can only presume they are on board. (Signed) Adelaide Steamship Company, Port Hedland."

[Barker, Malcolm, 2001, The Truth Is So Precious, Success Print, Perth, Western Australia, page53]


When the Koombana reached Geraldton four shearers boarded for Derby. The first, William Lewis lived in Geraldton with his wife and children. The other three Mr James Clarke, Mr A Shields and Mr R Scougall had made an overland trip by train from the gold mining centre at Cue to catch the vessel.


[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.

["The Death Roll", Geraldton Express (WA), Wednesday 03 April 1912, page 3]




The six passengers who boarded the vessel here were Messrs Wm. Lewis, S. Spencer, R. Scougall, J. W. Clarke, A. Shields and Benjamin Smith.

Of these it is understood that Messrs. Lewis, Scougall, Clarke and Shields left here to go to Derby where they intended to engage in shearing work.


["The Sons of Martha - A Column For The Workers", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 21 April 1912, page 24]


Mr. L. T. Brown, secretary of the WA. Branch of the Australian Workers' Union, is gradually learning the names of the shearers who were on board the ill-fated Koombana. In addition to the names we have already published, he has since received definite information that Andy Shiels, --- Spence, Bill Lewis, R. Scougall, and --- Clark (all shearers) were amongst the passengers who left Geraldton on the Koombana. Bill Lewis had two friends with him, but it is not known definitely who they were.

From. the same source Mr. Brown has learnt that Syd. Sack, son of the publican at Derby, also joined the boat at Geraldton. This fact has not been previously notified, though the name of Mrs. Sack (Syd. Sack's mother) was published amongst the list of missing.


AB notes:

referred to here as Andy

[Wreck of the "Koombana" - photocopy of material relating to, Harbour and Lights Department, Western Australia, 1912, State Records Office of Western Australia. Series 1618, Cons. 5055, Item 001, see Koombana Relief Fund correspondence]

Mr. Hare.

The following enquiries have been addressed to us in regard to persons supposed to have been lost in the s.s. "KOOMBANA":-


(2) Mrs. E. Fairbanks, 1, Radnor Cottages, Upton,

Bexley Heath, Kent - enquiries as to her son-in-

law, Andy Shiels.

(Yuills say name appears on their official list)


["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.


I wonder if anyone knows where one could find records relating to the Adelaide Steamship Company.

I am trying to trace Andrew Shiels. He was the younger son of Archibald Shiels and Catherine Manson who arrived in Australia from Scotland in 1850.

His older brother and younger sister both moved to NSW.

I have traced the grand daughter of Andrew's older sister. She is the last living link to the Shiels family. She tells me that Andrew was a sailor. He supposedly went down on the S.S. Koombana on 20 March 1913 in a cyclone off Western Australia. I have looked at newspapers from the time and cannot find him in the ship's crew. It is not impossible that he may have been a passenger. Not all passengers were recorded.

How would I go about working out the truth of this family myth?

I have looked are various internets sites, but they are very general.


AB notes:

Denise's username: testa1960