John Brown

John Brown was a Junior Apprentice at Walsh Bay in 1943, Serving on various Small Ships until Discharged in 1945 and then Serving with the Australian Navy for 21 years. Recently John recalled being sent from Brisbane on the S-140 Katoora to attempt tow on a Small Ships vessel that was aground in Byron Bay. When John arrived in Byron Bay the Tassie III had already sunk at the jetty.

A quick internet search reveals the vessel was S-77 Tassie MBL III, 120t steel motor ship now a popular site for scuba diving.  The Tassie III encountered rough weather and entered Byron Bay to anchor on 8th June 1945, carrying 80t of condemned ammunition. Overnight the ship dragged anchor and was beached. On 9th June she re-floated on the high tide and was washed against the old Byron Bay swimming pool. As the weather became rougher the ship collided with the jetty where the hull was breached. On the morning of 10th June the Tassie III was a wreck.

According to the Byron Bay Historical Society, it was approximately five weeks after the sinking that a local boy found a flare bomb that had been cargo on the Tassie III. He was in his backyard with eleven other children when they threw a match into the bomb container. The explosion killed him and injured all the other children, nine of whom were taken to Lismore Hospital.

John Brown                                                       Tassie MBL III wrecked at Byron Bay

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