Australians Aboard The Titanic

Video highlights from Save The Titanic With Bob Ballard

What happened to them when the ship sank?

At 2.20am on 15 April 1912, the “unsinkable ship” disappeared beneath the waves, taking 1,500 souls with her. Six of those on board were Australians, four crew and two passengers.

This is what happened to them when disaster struck.

Evelyn Marsden

Hometown:  Adelaide, South Australia
Age:   28
Occupation: Nurse/stewardess (crew)

Evelyn, who worked in first class, escaped on lifeboat #16. She was invaluable to the people sharing her lifeboat – Evelyn was a nurse and experienced rower.

After the disaster, she settled in Sydney and passed away in 1938. The daughter of Evelyn’s niece says she never fully recovered from that fateful night.

Evelyn Marsden

Evelyn Marsden [Image: South Australian Maritime Museum]

Leonard White

Hometown:  Sydney, New South Wales
Age:   31
Occupation: Saloon steward (crew)

Leonard, who worked as a saloon steward, had previously worked on the ship Osterley and was living in Southampton, England, before boarding the Titanic.

He died when the ship sunk and his body has never been found.

Arthur McCrae

Hometown:  Adelaide, South Australia
Age:   32
Occupation: Mining engineer (passenger)

After attending Sydney Grammar School and Sydney University, Arthur worked at mines in West Africa and Siberia. He was travelling to Canada to visit friends when he boarded the Titanic.

His body was recovered and buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Arthur McCrae

Arthur McCrae [Image: Sydney University]

Donald Campbell

Hometown:  Melbourne, Victoria
Age:   25
Occupation: clerk (crew)

Donald worked as a third-class crew member in victualling (food provision), but little else is known about his background. He died in the sinking, and his body was never recovered.

Alfred Nichols

Hometown:  Melbourne, Victoria
Age:   42
Occupation: Boatswain (crew)

Little is known about Alfred’s life before boarding the Titanic, though he had previously worked on its sister ship Olympic. Like Donald, he died in the sinking, and his body was never recovered.

Alfred Nichols

Alfred Nichols [Image: Titanic Encyclopaedia]

Charles Dahl

Hometown:  Finnick, Norway (emigrated to Adelaide in 1892)
Age:   45
Occupation: Joiner (passenger)

In 1912, Charles had planned to return to Norway but changed his mind and booked passage on the Titanic, planning to visit his mother and siblings in North Dakota.

Charles escaped on lifeboat #15 but later claimed that the people in the crowded boat tried to throw him overboard.

After recuperating in a New York hospital, Charles finally got to visit his family in North Dakota. He died in 1933 while visiting Norway and was buried there.

A Tragedy of Titanic Proportions

As the R.M.S. Titanic chugged through the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, it’s over 2,200 passengers unaware of the looming danger. 

Less than a week earlier, the luxury steamship – at the time the largest man-made moving object in the world – left Southampton, England, for New York City. Travellers had expected a posh and comfortable ride.

But the Titanic’s design also had major flaws. For instance, some believe that many of the bolts that held the ship together were weak. The bottom of the boat was also not built to withstand major flooding. And the steam ship carried just 20 lifeboats – only enough to hold about half of the passengers.

Four days after setting sail, the Titanic struck an iceberg that tore a 90 metre gash into the ship’s hull. As it flooded, passengers began a frenzied evacuation into the lifeboats.  Only about 700 would survive. And the ship, which took three years to build, would sink in less than three hours. Though scientists and historians believe that the design flaws were the major factors that led to the disaster, they continue to study the famous steamship for answers. So more than a hundred years after the Titanic tragedy, its story remains afloat.

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