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Canada Bay and the Second World War

This year marks the 75th anniversary of several significant events of the Second World War.

The impact of the Second World War on the local community in Canada Bay is, in many ways, a reflection of the experience of Australia at that time. It was an ‘all-in’ war, placing extraordinary demands on everyone. Parts of the local area became training grounds for Australian and American soldiers, while local industries were geared to war production, producing everything from ships (and the paint to paint them with) to ration packs for soldiers. It was a time of long hours and hard work. The war affected the lives of every man, woman and child in the community.

To coincide with Australian Heritage Festival, the Local Studies Librarian will be speaking on the involvement of industries and people of our area during the Second World War at the City of Canada Bay Museum, 1 Bent Street, Concord on Saturday, 6 May at 1.30pm for 2pm start.

The photograph shows the launch of a ship at Brays Bay built by Tulloch during the Second World War.

The story behind the sculpture

Brays Bay sculpture (Small)

The sculpture by Nola Farman at Brays Bay Reserve commemorates Commonwealth Ship Building Yard no. 4 which operated there during the Second World War.

As the war intensified in the Pacific there was a need for small vessels to operate in the waters to the north of Australia. The government established the Small Craft Directorate of the Department of Munitions to construct small shallow-draft ships, known as ‘lighters’. Several companies around Australia were involved in their construction. At Rhodes the Tulloch plant established shipbuilding facilities at Brays Bay. Tulloch concentrated on fabricating the bow, first mid-ship section and steel superstructure, while the stern and rear mid-ship sections were constructed by Waddingtons at Granville.

The exact number that were built and launched at Brays Bay is unclear but there were at least 13 and possibly as many as 24 vessels built according to David Jehan in his recently published book on Tulloch.

In addition to the sculpture, the site of the slipway is still visible and some of the names of the ships are recorded along it. The Australian War Memorial holds a fascinating series of drawings of the Tulloch operations at Brays Bay by R. Emerson Curtis.