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THE STEAMER

KOOMBANA.

GOOD AND BAD /oRTUNE.

The loss of the Koombana brings to light*; many instances where trifling incidents and a chance change of plans have proved mat- ters of life or death. There is a ship'* steward now living at Fremantle (says the '/Age") who was given employment on tlie ill-fated Waratah just before that vessel sailed from Melbourne on her last voyage. At the last moment something occurred to

prevent him joining the ship. Rather / more than twelve months ago he was in ' search of work in Queensland, and obtained a place on the Yongala. Owing to a domestic event he did not make tlie fateful voyage. A few months ago he reached Fre- mantle, ¿and was negotiating for employ- ment on the Koombana, when a more lucrative position was offered to him in a Fremantle hotel, and fortunately for him- self he accepted it.

Mrv Norman Jamieson, chief officer o£ the Koombana, who was a Williamstown, resident, was formerly chief officer of the« Yongala. He changed to the Grantala im- mediately before the Yongala sailed on her ill-fated voyage. From the Grantala he transferred to the Koombana, and twelve months to the day on exactly the opposite coast of Australia to where the Yongala/ foundered, he apparently lost his1 life.

Mr. Gunn, until recently second engi- neer of the Koombana, may congratulais himself on a luck escape. Desiring a tem- porary change, he arranged a transfer with Mr. A. Wassel!/ of the Echunga, a cargo steamer trading between Fremantle and tlie eastern States;. The transfer was made before the Koombana'» laRt voyage, and Mr. WasscD's name is in the list of missing.

Fate also was kind to a fireman. Mr. M. Barrett, who may thank his own indul- gence in sti-ong'drink for saving him from ii_ watery grave. He appeared before the Fremantle court on March 12 on a charge of drunkenness. Ifc was discharged with a caution. To use his own words, the com- pany-"sacked" bim, and he consequent!"! missed the trip on the Koombana. Sonu; of his belongings, he has stated, were on

the vessel.

Five of thejdeck hands on the Koombana

were until recently members of the Fro Mantle Lumpers' Union. A sixth signed on just before the vessel soiled on her las-fc voyage. He, however, had a disagreement with the second officer, and left the boas just as elie waa casting off her moorings. He is thankful for that disagreement now. '

Two inspectors of the Agricultural De- partment of Western Australia were luckv enough to just niiss the voyage. They had arranged to leave for the north-wes> by tin; Koombana, when the department decidcil to make an enquiry into the necessity 'fov, their proposed visit, and the cost of it. A? a'result the trip was cancelled.

It is stated that one of the passenger«! for Broome carried with him £2,500 in e.-ish. It was. his intention to make exten- sive cash- purchases in the north-west.

THE WRECKAGE IDENTIFIED.

The "West Australian"' of April 3 writes!. -"For 15 months Captain Clark was chief officer of-the Koombana, und left in June, 1910. to take up his present position with the Harbor Trust. On being acquainted with the report by Captain Townley of the Gorgon of the finding of a panelled door 25 miles west by north of Bedout Island, he ,said he could positively identify the wreckage as having belonged to the Koom- bana. In his opinion this would be eithe» the door leading from the chief steward's room or from one of the pantries, or from

an entrance co the scullery leading to the ' cattle deck from the main saloon entrance-. Then: particular doors were dark on the outside and painted white on the inside Tlie studs referred to in the telegram wen; used throughout the ship to prevent door-, from slamming (being coverctd with rubbet for that purpose). From the description he had no hesitation in s.ivir.ff that the wreckage belonged to the ill-fated steamer.

Regarding the position in which the wreckage waa found. Captain Clark stated that it was evident the vessel had come

*> grief some considerable dietanr"» to tin» westward, and that the wreckage had beca borne landwards bv the set iii of the tide, which al «mrs follows on a severe blow in the Nor'-West. Although he had never, experienced a cyclone in the Koombana, he had gone through some very severe blows, and undoubtedly she was the finest little sea-boat he bad ever sailed in."

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