At 8.00 pm on the 26th of July 110 years ago the the crack liner of the Blue Anchor Line Waratah departed from her berth at A shed in Durban bound for Cape Town. The ship never made it and was lost in a storm of exceptional violence somewhere along her course line, the exact spot where she disappeared has never been established. We in Australia have always paid tribute to the lost souls as each year passes by and they will never be forgotten by us.
Remembrance is a golden chain
Death tries to break all in vain;
To have, to love, and then to part
is the sorrow of one's heart
the years might wipe out many things,
But they wipe out never
The memories of those happy people
When they were altogether.
We in Australia will never forget.
Curious readers have asked me about the origin of the pencil sketch of the above ss Waratah being buried under a high wave.When the Waratah was on her last Voyage home she was in Sydney at the same time as the P&O ship Ortona under the command of Captain Collins. From there they both sailed for Melbourne and where berthed next to each other once again. It was these occasions that both the officers of each ship had a meal and drinks together.
It was in Melbourne that the officers of the Waratah told the the officers of the Ortona that they would be unloading their full cargo of mutton carcasses in Durban as the agents had informed the owners that they could get a better price than in London due to the glut of lamb and mutton from other countries such as New Zealand and South America. The Waratah would then proceed to Cape Town and take in a load of Maize to make up the tonnage. There must have been some discussion between the ships officers and those of the Ortona as to the stability of the Waratah. One officer of the Ortona who later told the the press in New Zealand that the truth of this matter would come out at an Inquiry, of course it never did like so many other incidents kept out of the public eye. The pencil drawing was made by a former officer of the Ortona and was his version of what happened to the Waratah.