THE SS 'KOOMBANA' - AN AUSTRALIAN MARITIME TRAGEDY
157 passengers and crew lost as a result of a severe cyclone (Lua). Date: March 2012 - coincidentally and tragically only weeks before the ill fated maiden voyage of the 'Titanic' occurred.
But this is NOT the 'Titanic'. This is an AUSTRALIAN maritime tragedy. Yet it was almost completely obliterated because of that other tragedy, NOT Australian, which occurred a month later. The world went mad (and continues to do so, with movies etc etc etc) when the 'Titanic' sank - anyone and everyone the world over knew about it. But the 'Koombana' - huh? What's that? Not even 99.999999% of Australians knew about it.
How disgusting and tragic.
It is an essential part of Australia's history. Absolutely. How shamefully tragic that it was all but ignored and overlooked because of a similar tragedy that occurred a month later.
The 'Koombana' was built in Glasgow but was the pride of the now-defunct Adelaide Steamship Company. It was lost at sea, thanks to Cyclone Lua, taking all 157 passengers and crew and livestock, cargo etc with it. And tragically so little is known about it - and there appears to be an equal lack of interest about it. Many - most of the passengers were Australian. Fellow Australians with living Australian descendants.
A centenary display was held to mark the 100th anniversary of this fateful journey up at Port Hedland (where it occurred) and one more recently was held at the Fremantle Maritime Museum.
Excellent for both but still - ask 99.99999% about the 'Koombana' and the response will almost inevitably be: 'Huh? What are you talking about? Never heard of it.' Yet, ask about the 'Titanic' - 300% different reaction - everyone but everyone knows ALLLLL about the 'Titatic' - even down to the mechanics (for some) apparently. Thanks to movies, books etc etc etc that story is well known world wide. AND this is only correct - but why was the 'Koombana' so seemingly overlooked, even by Australians?
Bringing this tragedy to light and giving it the attention it so badly deserves is essential. For our history. For the education of Australians. For those people who lost loved ones - a sort of closure, if you like. One couple who lost at least one family member is hoping to do just this. Plans are underway to organise this - to do our darndest to bring this tragedy the exposure it deserves - hopefully the media will be able to assist with this.
And a book is also about to be written - in fact, this is actually also underway. A huge launch will be planned for this also.