Supposed Foundering s.s. Yongala
Considerable Wreckage Found
Eight Days Overdue.
"Manager Adelaide Steamship Com- pany states that markings on bags of pollard and bran found Bowling Green are identical with that shipped lower hold Yongala Brisbane."
Such was the mysterious 25-word message received by us on Tuesday evening, and many were the cogita- tions and opinions of those who read the wire in Mr. Park's window. It was known the Yongala travelled to and from the north alternating with her sister ship, the Grantala, and that severe cyclonic weather has been ex-
perienced in the north, and those who
knew the vessel, and they were many,
anticipated the steamer had met with a mishap. A commercial traveller, at present in town, stated that he travelled from Sydney to Brisbane in the Yongala a couple of months ago, and pronounced her to be one of the best vessels he had ever travelled in; he scouted the idea of any serious mis- hap to the vessel unless she had been blown ashore among the numerous small islands between Bowen and Cairns. The Yongala had travelled the coast for eight years, since she was built in 1903 as a matter of fact, and was very well-known by those who travel. She was a general favorite, aad tied with the Cooma and Warrego for the Northern trade.
The solution of the message heading this article came with Monday's Rock- hampton papers, which came to hand on Tuesday night. It appeared the Yongala left Mackay on Thursday at 1.40 p.m. for Townsville, but had not arrived there on Sunday morning. The Cooma and Taiynan arrived at Townsville, but neither saw the Yon-
gala. The Tarooola and Ouraka went
out in search.
Mr. E. B. Wareham, Brisbane manager of the Company, stated there was considerable anxiety regarding the vessel, more especially in view of cyclonic weather conditions which have been prevailing in the north dur- ing the past few days. Captain W. Knight was in command. There were 36 saloon, and 31 second saloon pas- sengers when the vessel left Brisbane,
and a crew of 70.
Bowen advised at 3.20 p.m.:—"The master of the Cooma reports: 'Dent Island advises Yongala passed north 6 p.m. Thursday." At 5.25 p.m. Bowen further advised that the captain of the Wodonga reported that he had seen no signs of the Yongala.
Such information naturally created considerable alarm. Townsville is only seven hours sail from Bowen, and Cape Bowling Green is about two thirds of the distance between the two stopping places, and vessels going to and fro pass comparatively close. Dent Island is at the entrance to Whit- sunday Passage, about midway between Mackay and Bowen.
The latest news on Sunday night stated that the searching vessels Ouraka and Tarcoola had failed to discover any trace of the Yongala. One of them went through the Passage and the other outside. They met at Dent Island, at the mouth of the Passage, having failed to pick up any trace of the missing vessel. The light house keeper at Dent Island said the Yongala went through the Passage.
Captain Sharland, of the Aramac, reported that shortly after leaving Flat- top on Friday night, conditions were so thick that he had to anchor for two hours. He saw no trace of the
Yongala, but was not too fearful of any serious calamity. He may have passed within 20 yards of the Yongala and not seen her. The chief officer of the Cooma entertained fears for the safety of the vessel. Captain Dawson, of the Taiynan, reported he anchored 12 hours off Repulse Island. It was the worst night (Thursday) he had spent on the Australian coast. He kept a lookout on the run to Townsville, but saw nothing of the Yongala.
Such was the position of affairs up to a late hour on Sunday night. Mon- day's telegrams stated "no news to- day of the Yongala." Relatives and others interested crowded round the boards at the post office and shipping offices all day, and pathetic scenes
were of frequent occurrence.
The Tarcoola and Ouraka have
searched all islands and reefs between
Dent Island and Townsville, while the
tugs from Mackay and Townsville
examined all the bays and creeks be- tween townsville and Mackay without result. The Grantala arrived at Brisbane on Monday afternoon. Captain Sim had
a trying trip from Cairns, during which she took shelter from the
hurricane which had apparently dealt so seriously with her twin vessel. It
was usual for the northward and south-
ward bound boats to pass each other at night between Townsville and Bowen. The Grantala and Yongala would have passed on Thursday night, the night of the storm specially forecasted in our last week's telegrams; but on this occasion nothing was seen of the lights of the Yongala. This was not surprising in view of the dirtiness of the weather, the night being the worst the Captain had experienced in the locality. He had taken his own boat back to shelter in Bowling Green Bay, and anchored there for ten hours until the storm abated.
Captain Mackay, Portmaster, pointed out, that after passing Dent Island, there were numerous safe places of shelter to which the Yongala could have been steamed to weather the storm; but if that had been done news would have been received from her
long before now. Apparently the captain headed for the wider water beyond the Passage, and was over- powered by the extreme force of the hurricane. The storm was of quite exceptional violence, as was shown by the fact of the Taiynan having two of her boats blown away while shelter- ing in a passage a mile wide between the mainland and the island. The hurricane took a course inland, and was then diverted with increased force down the coast, where the Yongala would have met it at its worst. The
Yongala would be outside Whitsunday Passage an hour after she passed Dent
An old sea captain referred to the wreck of the Gothenberg in 1875. The vessel, he said, was coming down the coast after having taken an Ade- laide judge round to the Northern Territory. After passing Cape Cleve- land she met with conditions very similar to those prevailing in the last few days. The set-off from a flooded river tarried the Gothenberg on to one of the reefs to the east. There she became a total wreck, many persons being drowned. Mention was also made of a nasty rock not far off Bowen harbor that the Yongala might have
The Yongala was well down towards her loadline, having altogether 1800 tons of dead weight below her decks.
Captain Hall, of the Wodonga, said that if the Yongala had gone aground anywhere she must have been seen.
Telegrams in Rockhampton papers up to early Wednesday gives but little hope for the safety of the vessel. In the afternoon of Tuesday wreckage was floating about Cleveland Bay, in the vicinity of the city baths and strand. A number of oil drums, coal baskets, &c., have been discovered. Mr. Wareham says that the finding of bags of bran and pollard, which came from No. 3 hold, a most secure part of the vessel, causes the gravest fears regard- ing the vessel.
The idea that the Yongala had turned turtle is generally scouted because the Yongala was always regarded in Port Adelaide as a stable vessel.
Mr. Harris Ing, surveyor to the Marine Board, who was in the sister ship, the Grantala, for six years, in- formed a reporter that he was never in a better vessel in his life, and this seems to be the universal opinion of
these who have travelled in her.
Mr. Wareham says that Captain Mackenzie, of the Innamincka, and Captain Sim, of the Grantala, are now under the impression that, as the cargo is being washed ashore at Cape Bowling Green, the probability is that the Yongala must have been carried out of her course and struck one of the reefs north of Flinders Passage. Mr. Wareham has therefore issued instruc-
tions for the Tarcoola to proceed to search the Barrier Reef from Flinders
Passage to Cairns. The Tarcoola was engaged on Tuesday in searching the Barrier Reef between Bowen and Cape Upstart in order to see if there are any
sign of life or wreckage.
The tug Alert, which was sent out
by the Government, returned to Towns- ville in the evening, having found float- ing near the Keeper Reef two cases of
kerosene, which were shipped by the Yongala for Lucinda Point; a life buoy, and two small gratings, with no
mark; two pillows, marked A. S. Coy.; one basket of mails; pieces of a cabin trunk; a piece of cabin fitting, with a silver handle; one case of oil for Cairns; and a door, with glass bear- ing the word "festina," and inscribed "1900." It is supposed that the last named is part of the music-room room door, which bore the Company's motto -Festina lente, which means "Hasten slowly."
The news of the discovery of cargo and fittings has caused the greatest consternation, and newspaper offices and the Company's shipping offices throughout the States are kept busy replying to personal enquiries, 'phone and telegraphic messages.
A telegram from Ayr reports that a man named Yawpenden, one of a party of three living at the anabranch of the Burdekin River, came over to Ayr and reported that they heard a whistle and an explosion on Friday afternoon. The sound came from between Cape Up- start and Cape Bowling Green. They
were not aware of the wreck till this afternoon (Saturday).
There is some comment on the ab-
sence of wireless telegraphy on the coastal boats, as it is believed in some quarters that had the Yongala and other coastal vessels been so equipped the vessel and 120 people aboard would probably have been saved.
The Tarcoola and Ouraka were en- gaged on Tuesday and Wednesday searching the Barrier reefs and the coastline as far as Cairns, assisted by several launches and police boats, and in reply to a message from this office advice was received at 6 p.m. that there was nothing new to report. The
Tarcoola and Ouraka were still search- ing.
Among the passengers were Mrs. Murray, wife of a solicitor at Cairns, who was returning home from a trip south with her family of two boys and two girls, and probably another sister just out from Scotland. Mrs. Murray was a sister-in-law to Mrs. Berrie, of the Post and Telegraph Dept., Bar- caldine ; Mr. J. O'Brien, traveller for Brisbane firm, was another passenger. Mr. O'Brien was in Barcaldine a fort-
night ago. He intended going across
to Winton from Longreach en route to the Towers, but finding the road im- passable returned to Rockhampton and boarded the Yongala for Towns- ville. Another passenger was Mr. M. Rooney, a well-known Townsville timber merchant, has already been twice wrecked. His wife and daughter were also on board.
The Yongala is a steel screw steamer of 3664 tons register, and is one of the largest ships in the coastal trade. She was built in 1903 by the firm of Arm- strong, Whitworth & Co. Ltd., New- castle. Her dimensions are:—Length,
350ft.; breadth, 45ft.; depth, 27ft. She was on a voyage from Melbourne to Cairns, having left Brisbane on Tues- day afternoon, 21st ult. She was due
to arrive at Townsville at daylight on Friday morning, March 24th.