The ship's wheel was actually turned in the direction one wanted to turn. If one wanted to go port, one would turn the wheel port, though the instructions would be to 'starboard', hence the tiller. An excellent analysis of Titanic's steering can be found here TRMA Tech Feature of the Month - May 2005 Overall the effect would be, turn the wheel port, tiller moves starboard, pushing the rudder port, which turns the ship port.
Though these orders may seem confusing, it was well known and well understood by the seafaring people of Titanic's time. There was no other way of steering. (At least on British ships- I think I read somewhere that the French were doing the modern system sooner, but how soon I don't remember.) That's why it was kept the way it was to reduce confusion. Any thought that Murdoch and/or Hichens blundered Titanic's evasive maneuver by turning the ship, or its wheel, the wrong direction is completely false.
The Hawke incident.
Commander Blunt ordered hard-a-port, due to the fact the Hawke was swinging port into the starboard side of Olympic, and they wanted to swing starboard. Meanwhile the order on the Olympic was 'hard-a-port also, so they could swing Olympic's head starboard, and Olympic's stern port away from the Hawke.