"At Cape Town, when going alongside the wharf a boat on
the port side was taken on board, and it
took 14 men to do it, because the davits
were so stiff. The same thing occurred
when taking a starboard boat on board
alongside the wharf at Port Adelaide.
These were the only two boats moved
while he was on board."
This paragraph is highly significant.
Assuming of course that the report is accurate and true, we can move beyond the superficial fact that the Waratah had enough lifeboats for crew and passengers, to the issue of mobilising the lifeboats in a crisis situation.
If the davits were as stiff as reported, requiring 14 men per boat, even if there were enough time to launch lifeboats during the last moments of the Waratah, it is suggested that the crew may not have been able to 'release' them from stiff davits, for launching.
It may also be one of the reasons why no lifeboats were discovered adrift or ashore - they were virtually 'glued' to the Waratah judging by the account of 14 men required to 'fit' one lifeboat.
"The other witnesses were
Messrs. W. G. F Batchelor,
R. N S Baker,
C. W. Swan (Customs officers),
William A.Wills (master of the tug Wato),
J. Espling (friend of a passenger on the homeward voyage),
William G. Hay (son of Mrs.Hay, a passenger),
S. R. C. Allen (clerk of Messrs. George Wills & Co.),
A. Fisher (assistant manager of A. Stevedorin Company),
J. McArthur (stevedore),
R. A. Londrini Smith (superintendent Mercantile Marine),
F. G. Cornish (wharf manager, Ocean Steamers' wharf),
A. P. Field (superintendent and timekeeper S.A. Stevedoring Company),
E. Jones (father of Miss Jones, a passenger), and
Mrs. AL. Butcher (a passenger from London)"
"On arrival of the Waratah from London,
via South Africa, on June 8, 1909, the steamer
had on board 209 passengers, including
the following for Adelaide:-
From London -
Mr. and Mrs. J. Jardine,
Mr. Andrew Rodger,
Mr. and Mrs L. Browne,
Mr E Macleod,
Mr. Albert E. Wright,
Miss. Holt and infant,
Mr. H. T. Browne and
Mr. R C H. Dawes.
From Cape Town-
Mr. C A Oldham.
On her return from the
eastern States, on her homeward voyage,
she had 67 passengers, including the following
Mr. and Mrs. B. Oslear,
Mr. W. R. Jamieson,
Mr. J. Marshall.
On her departure for London, via South Africa, she had
75 passengers, including the following:
From Adelaide for Durban -
Mrs. H.Cawood and
Messrs. H. Morgan,
James McNaught, and
For Cape Town-
Colonel Browne, and
Miss Lees and maid.
Miss H. Hay,
Mrs. Waters and infant, and
Mr K. Lowenthal."
"The following members of the crew left
the vessel when she arrived from Melbourne
on her homeward trip:-
Mary Anderson (stewardess) and
W. Merry (general servant).
The following were shipped:
F. H. Eenson,
H. Taylor, and
W. McKiervan (trimmers),
H. Barr (carpenter's mate),
E. Sterne (general servant), and
James Costello (A.B.)"