THE QUEENSLAND HUR- RICANE.
RETURN OF THE WARREGO TO
11 WHITE MEN AND 400 COLOURED
DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT £50,000.
The steamer Warrego, which was despatched to the scene of the recent hurricane for the pur- pose of rendering assistance to any of the ship- wrecked crews, has returned to Cooktown. She reports that the schooners Sagitta, Silvery Wave, and Admiral were totally wrecked, also the Meg Merrilies. The Tarwara was ashore, but was refloated. The Crest of the Wave was dis-
masted. The Olive and Aladdin stood the gale and are safe. It is estimated that the loss of life was 400. The whites drowned are E. J. Jefferson of Hull ; J. Nicholas, A. H. Outridge, R. B. Murray, H. Outridge, E. Atthow, of the Olive. The glass during the storm receded from 29-60 to 29-10 deg. The hurricane came at first from the south-east by east, changed during the storm from east, north, south-west, then to west, and finally died away in north-east. N. G. Vidged, of the Olive, is searching the beach from Flin- ders to Barron Point, and reports that the natives are burying the dead at Bathurst Bay, and there is a forest of sunken luggers' masts. The Silvery Wave went down at 5 o'clock on Sunday morning. One Malay stayed aboard. He came ashore on a plank. All the Sagitta's boats were lost. Thirteen porpoises were found 15ft. up the cliff at Flinders. The storm was raging on Saturday night and Sunday morning, extending from Howick's Group to Channel Rocks Lightship.
The local manager of the A.U.S.N. Com- pany received a telegram from the agent at Townsville as follows :—" Warrego, which arrived this morning, reports having searched the islands and reefs, and found that 87 boats, five schooners, and lightship, with about 400 lives, were lost during the late hurricane. The Warrego found 36 boats and three schooners anchored safely in Flinders Bay. Jefferson, who was reported to be drowned, was a managing partner of the Silvery Wave fleet.''
The following telegram has been received by the Under Secretary and Superintendent of Telegraphs from the officer in charge at Cooktown :— " The Warrego returned from the scene of the wrecks this morning. Authentic reports state that 14 white men and about 400 coloured men were drowned. Eighty luggers and six schooners were wrecked. The damage is estimated at £50,000. Channel Island lightship and four men were lost at Douglas Spit. A coloured man reached shore with two women after swimming four days. The beach is strewn with dead fish, snakes, and birds."
The following telegram from the Harbour Master at Cooktown was received about 5 o'clock this afternoon by the Postmaster, Captain Almond. The message appears to have been de- layed in transmission, as it was despatched at 10 o'clock in the morning. It runs as follows :— " I considered, after conferring with Bennett, officer on board the White Star, that the Warrego could accomplish no good going further north than Flinders Island, and instructed the captain of the Warrego to return to Cooktown, where he arrived at midnight. The White Star left Flinders Island for Cape Melville at 7 a.m. on Sunday. It was arranged to go from there to- wards the reef north-east from Piper Island and search north. This was not done, because we passed her at 6.30 on Sunday evening between Murdock and Lookout Point steaming south. It was useless searching south of Barrow Point. At 12.40 on Saturday sighted the steamer Victory.
Bade her stsy, and signalled ' Comr along- side.' On receiving the report of Pilot Coles, I instructed the captain to proceed south along the coast as far as Barrow Point, searching the beach. If any bodies were found the instructions were to bury them. If white bodies, to obtain full par- ticulars for indentification ; also instructions were given to give flour to the blacks for burying the dead, and then return if time permitted to Channel Rock and anchor for the night. Next morning to proceed to C Reef, off Flinder's Point, examine the lugger ashore on the reef, and also proceeed to King Island, looking for wreck- age, afterwards to proceed to Cooktown. Cap-
tain Porter (Crest of the Wave) reports he saw the lightship at 11 p.m. on Saturday at anchorage. The barometer was then 27in. The consensus of opinion is that the lightship foundered at her moorings. The water was too dirty to send a diver down. If not at her moorings, then she foundered at Bathurst Bay, but the opinion is she sank at her moorings. All hands were drowned. The captains of the pearling fleets say they never experienced such weather. I believe 360 to 400 coloured men are drowned, besides the following white men :— Captain Jefferson (Silvery Wave), Captain Murray (of the Sagitta), A. J. Outridge, H. Outridge, one man name unknown, Captain Powell (of the schooner North Wales), two men, Captain of the Channel Rock Light- ship, also H. Atthow, J. Nicholas (Silvery Wave). The following vessels are re- ported lost :— Schooners North Wales, Sagitta, Silvery Wave, Admiral, Waiwera, Meg Merilees, 45 luggers belonging to the fleet and 15 belong- ing to various owners, and about 20 swimming boats and the Channel Rock lightship. Fully 60 bodies have been buried, but only one white man (H. Outridge). I suggest a further search of the beach north of Barrow Point for the bodies for burial."