The Koombana Cottage

When the Port Hedland Historical Society (PHHS) purchased the building, now Dalgety House Museum, the transfer included 4 lots of land, one of which held the workers’ cottage. Over time the building deteriorated and it was suggested that it be demolished.

Arnold Carter had other ideas and had discussions with the Manager of Freo Cranes regarding the removal of same. After much discussion, it was agreed to relocate the building to the rear of Dalgety House Museum located on the same block.

After lengthy deliberations and Council approval, the big lift involving 4 supercranes had the building successfully relocated on the stubs and wooden trusses. It was amazing the co-ordination and planning that enabled this building’s relocation completely intact. Crane organization was incredible with the precision that enabled this transfer. Thus, we have a building that was perfect for the Loss of the Koombana exhibition and subsequently accepted for display by the WA Museum with funding support from the Port Hedland Port Authority. Many thanks to all who were involved in making this project possible. It would be impossible to name them all. The Port Hedland Historical Society would, however, acknowledge Cervan Marine, Stan Martin, Werner Kemmries and management of Freo Cranes.

The Loss of the SS Koombana Exhibition

Pride of the Adelaide Steamship Company passenger fleet, SS Koombana was 3 years old when it disappeared in 1912 and weighed 3,700 tons. It was built especially for the northwest trade capable of transporting passengers and animals. For several days prior to the disaster, the port had experienced sizzling hot days and nights and was making ready for the arrival of 2 ships: the SS Koombana and SS Bullara. Divers from the pearling luggers had warned their masters of a change in weather and conditions of the ocean below the surface of the water which was very muddy. A cock-eye blew up on the evening before both ships were due to sail. With all passengers on board, Captain Allen decided to take the SS Koombana to sea for its Broome destination departing at 11:00 am on 20 March 1912. The ship had a light load and very little ballast which enabled her to clear the sandbar at the entrance of the port of Port Hedland harbour. The last sighting of the SS Koombana was on the horizon riding on a very heavy sea for over 2 hours. On the SS Koombana’s non arrival in Broome, it was listed as a missing vessel, this then alerted a search. The site where the wreckage is believed to lie, still has not been identified despite determined efforts to locate same. Full story to be found at Dalgety House Museum.

The Loss of the Koombana Exhibition was funded by the Port Hedland Port Authority. It was designed and prepared by the WA Museum. The exhibition can be found at The Koombana Cottage which is located at the rear of the Dalgety House Museum.

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