THE 'SS KOOMBANA' - AN AUSTRALIAN MARITIME TRAGEDY
157 passengers and crew lost as a result of a severe cyclone (Lua). Date: March 1912. Sounds familiar? thoughts of the 'Titanic' are dredged up.
WRONG. This is NOT the 'Titanic'. But that tragedy occurred just weeks later and in doing so, completely obliterated any news/exposure of the former. The former being the 'SS Koombana' - a vessel which struck tragedy when sunk off the Western Australian cost, out of Port Hedland, in March of that same year.
History? You bet. Absolutely. This should be a very major part of Australia's history and education. But it is not, not that I am aware of, nor led to believe. Please correct me if I am wrong. As most Australians about the 'SS Koombana' and the response will invariably be: 'Huh? What are you talking about? What's that?' Yet ask about the 'Titanic' and the entire world and its dogs knows alllllll about it. News of that tragedy all but obliterated news of the Australian disaster.
The 'SS Koombana' was built in Glasgow but was very much the pride of the now defunct Adelaide Steamship Company. Carrying 157 passengers and crew (mainly Australian), livestock and cargo, it sank off the coast near Port Hedland, killing all aboard. From what I understand the wreck has never been found. There is so little known and sadly, appears to be an equal amount of interest.
This is tragic. So very tragic.
A centenary display was held to mark the 100th anniversary of this fateful story in Port Hedland and more recently, another was held at the Fremantle Maritime Museum. Both of which are to be applauded but still - NOTHING LIKE ENOUGH.
Bringing the details of this tragedy to light and giving it the attention is so badly deserves is essential. For our history. For those people who lost loved ones. For everyone.
One couple which lost family members is hoping to gain the exposure this tragedy needs and deserves, hopefully with media assistance. Plans are underway to organise this (any suggestions from any of the media would be VERY welcome) and a book is being written.
Please contact Lannah for any further information or if you are related to any of the deceased passengers PLEASE feel free to contact me. All information will be very very welcome. Or if you are an interested journalist or related to the media in any way......