From Ocean Steamers Wharf for the Indian Ocean crossing to Durban, South Africa.
That Wednesday, in a ghostly drizzle as the tug guided the SS Waratah from the wharf, no-one on board would have had the slightest notion of the impending doom that awaited them much further into their voyage.
Winter had come to the Southern Hemisphere, storms at sea were now commonplace for shipping in these lower latitudes and much heavy weather was expected. It had already been noted by some passengers that soon after leaving Adelaide the weather had become rough, as forecast, and it seemed that the Waratah rolled in a very disagreeable way, remaining for a long time on her side before recovering. While she was recovering and the deck became horizontal, she often gave a decided jerk.
As the voyage continued, an underlying unease grew amongst some passengers regarding the Waratah’s design, with her high promenade deck, instability due to the design and slow righting movements of the ship.
However, none of the passengers would ever have imagined that this ship would vanish so completely without trace on that fateful night of 27 July 1909………
Acknowledgement to Susanne-Jo Leff Patterson