Stuart, Captain Charles Browne

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

Hedland-Broome Stuart Captain [blank]

[Passenger list, "KOOMBANA" 37, compiled 12 April 1912, Adelaide Steamship Company. provided to the author by the late Malcolm Barker]

List of passengers known to have been bound for Broome.

From Port Hedland


Captain Stuart, Pearler. Wife and 6 children, South Brisbane.

Charles Brown


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



Captain Stuart.


["Koombana Foundered", The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 06 April 1912, pages 5, 6, 8]


The Passenger List.



Capt. Stuart, H. Briden (from Hedland), J. Davis (pearl buyer), G. Simpson, G. Simpson, G. Harper, J. Davis (from Hedland, manager for Sibe Gorman, Broome), Miss S. Skamp, Miss G. Skamp, Mrs S. Pigott, Rev. W. Main, Mrs Gillam, Miss Gillam, J. Murphy, J. J. Johnson, (from Hedland), John Evans, W. Smith (formerly baker in Hedland), G. Bailey, A. Rouble, 1 aboriginal, 1 Malay, and 5 Chinese and 4 Japanese from Hedland.

The numbered 77, most of whom were well-known on this coast.

["No News of the Koombana", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), March 31, 1912]

"The Port Hedland Bookings

The following are the names of those passengers who booked at Port Hedland by the Koombana for Broome and Derby:-

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

For Derby: J. McGowan."

[Barker, Malcolm, 2001, The Truth Is So Precious, Success Print, Perth, Western Australia, page59]


The first two oncoming passengers for Broome, Joseph Johnson and Captain Charles Stuart were, as pearlers, always sensitive to the weather and in particular their brother pearlers at that moment heading into Hedland Harbour. As experienced navigators they knew that passage to Broome meant heading North to round Bedout Island some 70 miles north before heading east. This course could take them directly into a cyclone with virtually no room to manoeuvre. They would certainly have been among the first to discuss the weather prospects with Captain Allen.


["Loss of the Koombana", The Brisbane Courier (Qld.), Wednesday 10 April 1912, page 5]



Mr. J. H. Cormack, of Merton-street, South Brisbane, who was formerly identified with the pearlshelling industry on the north-west coast of Western Australia, yesterday received the following telegram from Broome --"About three luggers lost. Koombana went down with all hands. Captain Stuart, A. Davis, J. Johnson drowned. Total number lives lost coast not known yet." Mr. Cormack yesterday called on Mrs. Stuart and family, and ascertained that they had received a telegram confirming the sad news ot the death of Captain Stuart. Captain Charles Brown Stuart, who was a passenger on the Koombana, from Port Hedland to Broome, was well known in Queensland, and leaves a widow and family of eight, who reside in Clarence-street, South Brisbane. Some 28 years ago Captain Stuart came to Queensland in command of the sailing ship Bell, from Adelaide, and was engaged in trading between Melbourne and Mackay for a number of years. Then he became interested in dugong fishing in Mackay waters with Captain Findlay. About 20 years ago he took command of the steamer Dicky in the conveyance of steel sleepers for the Normanton-Croydon railway, Messrs. Brydon, Jones, and Co., of Brisbane, at that time having several vessels engaged in the contract. Some three years afterwards he was engaged in trading on the Brisbane River, and then he went to Thursday Island, to take charge of one of Mr. James Clark's pearling schooners, where he remained same three years Subsequently, he was in chsrge of the steamer Colac, and went to Western Australia about five years ago to take the outside management of Messrs. Newman and Co's pearling fleet. On that company relinquishing business he engaged in pearling on his own account, and had been following this pursuit during the last three years. At the time of the Koombana disaster he was returning from a business trip to Port Hedland. He was a native of Sunderland and was 56 years of age at the time of his death. He was a thoroughly capable seaman and navigator, and will be remembered by many on the Queensland coast. The late Mr Abraham Davis visited Brisbane several times, and was a brother-in-law of Mr Mark Rubin, who is perhaps the largest pearl merchant doing business in Australia. Mr. Davis controlled the Australian business, which embraced interests in pearling, pastoral, and other concerns. He was a shrewd business man, and was well known In Melbourne.

["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.

["title?", The Murchison Times and Day Dawn Gazette (Cue, WA), Thursday 04 April 1912, page 3]


Broome, Tuesday. Captain Stewart, a passenger on the Koombana, and E.H. Hunter, each lost a lugger in the storm.

Several luggers were lost here and others were dismantled beyond Hedland and Balla Balla.


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


For Broome.


Capt. Stewart


["Port Paragraphs", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 31 March 1912, page 15]

Port Paragraphs

By "The Pagan."


Many of those who are on the boat which has been reported missing are well known in this town. Charlie Stanley, one of the able-bodied seamen, used to be employed on the wharf and at one time was in the U.S.A. Navy. Charlie was a well-known figure at the Port, and so was Charlie Walker, a South Fremantle identity, who acted as the ship's butcher. Another of those who missed the boat was a son of Charlie May, a well-known jeweller. May, jun., decided that he had had enough of the sea, and went on the land instead. Captain Pearson, who is also on the boat, wherever she is, was for years a sea captain, and his face was as familiar to us Portonians as the town clock.


["Two Brisbane Passengers", The West Australian, Wednesday 10 April 1912, page 7]


Brisbane, April 9.

Captain Charles Brown Stuart, who was a passenger by the Koombana from Port Hedland to Broome, leaves a widow and eight children at South Brisbane. Captain Stuart was at one time interested in the dugong fishery at Mackay Waters with Captain Findlay, and subsequently went to Thursday Island in charge of one of Mr. James Clarke's pearling schooners. He was engaged in pearling on his own account and was returning from a business trip to Port Hedland, when he took passage in the Koombana.

["In Memoriam", The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), Saturday 21 March 1914, page 18]

STUART.--In sad but loving memory of Captain Charles' Browne Stuart, who was lost on the S.S. Koombana.

Peace, perfect peace.

Out in the deep, far, far away,

No one knows where our loved one lies.

-Inserted by his sorrowing father, brothers, and sisters.