Ship?s history unearthed

Barry Harland who inspired the research into HMAS Bangalow
Barry Harland who inspired the research into HMAS Bangalow

Members of the Bangalow RSL Sub-Branch have been sleuthing the history of a ship with the town's name and have put together its story.

The trail was followed by Sub-Branch member Barry Harland who joined the navy in 1943 when he was 17. He served on mine sweepers until his discharge after World War 2.

The SS Bangalow was a 645 ton, coal burning vessel built in 1939 for the North Coast Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., the main shipping line running between Sydney and the far north coast from the 1870s until the 1950s.

It was requisitioned for war service on June 23 1941, becoming HMAS Bangalow, and laid anti-submarine loops in Sydney, Darwin and Port Moresby.

Later it transferred to the hydrographic section and became a lighthouse repair ship, steaming between Port Moresby and Manus, Rabaul and Madang and Sydney.

At the end of the war she was returned to civilian ownership, and sold to a Hong Kong shipping company in 1955.

She was re-named Cambray Breeze in 1957 and then Lucky Chen in 1959.

Mr Harland has a cap and tally (cap name band) which will be added to the Sub-Branch collection of memorabilia which will be on display when ANZAC Day comes around again.

- Robyn Gray

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