Trove Tuesday - Samuel Mainwaring and the SS Yongala

What started to be a simple search on Trove has ended with possibly more questions than answers.

For many years I have known (or at least thought and was led to believe) that a member of our family, Samuel Mainwaring was aboard the Yongala when it sank of the Queensland coast during a cyclone in April 1911.


There are many news stories detailing the disappearance of the Yongala and all on board. With the benefits of searching via Trove I decided to see what else I could find out about Samuel Mainwaring and his voyage on the Yongala.

However, my research has left me a little confused.

My first find was a mention in The Zeehan and Dundas Herald. 

The Zeehan and Dundas Herald 1st April 1911
My second find was a story told by a Mr Owen Thomas who had boarded the Yongala with Mainwaring in Sydney but decided not to continue past Brisbane.

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 4 April 1911
He stated that the run from Sydney to Brisbane was one of the most enjoyable trips he had experienced.  The weather conditions could not have been more favourable, and the passengers were like a happy family.....One of the first men Mr Thomas met was Mr S Mainwaring, a well-known mining expert from Tasmania. He was journey north to Cairns in connection with a mining venture.

I now know why Samuel Mainwaring was aboard the Yongala. I always thought he was a long way from home.

The next mention of Sam begins to blur the picture. There appear to be two S Mainwarings.

Launceston Examiner, 3rd April 1911
The Sydney Morning Herald of 29th March states that Mr S Mainwaring was travelling on a single ticket to Cairns, and is described as a very old man. The Sam Mainwaring in our family was only 54 years old. This doesn't seem very old.

The final story is from The Brisbane Courier of 3rd April 1911.

Brisbane Courier, 3rd April 1991

At the moment this is all I can discover. I'm sure it was our Sam Mainwaring who died as family members first told me the story. However, it has got me thinking especially as Sam has been described as a  very old man.

The will of Peter Laurie Reid (Mainwaring's father-in-law) states:
I bequeath to my daughter Louisa Alice Mainwaring the wife of Samuel Mainwaring of Zeehan in Tasmania Labourer.....

This places Sam Mainwaring in Zeehan. So who was Mr Mancell's uncle? Or what happened to our Sam Mainwaring?


  1. Sharon, I have pleasure in nominating you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. You can find the details here:

  2. What a super nomination Jill :-) Happens that I've just completed my nominations for "Blog of the Year 2012 Award" and Sharon, I'm delighted to have nominated you. The info is on: Thanks very much for a Blog which provides loads of information and gives me much pleasure. Cheerio for now, Catherine. PS... the "Yongala" is "ringing a bell" and will be checking back through my notes shortly.

  3. I'm starting to believe the first result of good research is...more questions! I hope you can find some answers but I think there's always something else out there.


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