S.S.Wollongbar, grounded...On Saturday afternoon, May 14th 1921, about 200 metres off shore and getting ready to depart at 5 pm, the S.S.Wollongbar was tied to the jetty at Byron Bay after loading a cargo of butter, bacon and bananas, it was low tide and there were strong wind and waves. Waiting to board the passengers and crew, the captain could feel the keel bumping on the seabed. He tried to head into deeper water but when the moorings were freed the Wollongbar was caught on a sandbar and it turned broadside to the waves. The wind and waves kept pushing the ship closer to land. The cargo was unloaded and furniture was saved off the ship. I used to sit on one of the beautiful swivel timber dining chairs when I was working in the office at Norco Co-operative Ltd.
THE FIRST JETTY AT MAIN BEACH WAS BUILT IN 1888. DAMAGED BADLY IN A CYCLONE. THE SECOND JETTY WAS BUILT IN 1929 (670 METRES LONG). IT ALSO WAS BADLY DAMAGED IN A CYCLONE. THE BIG CRANES AT THE END ARE STILL UNDER THE OCEAN IF YOU SNORKEL OVER THE AREA YOU CAN SEE THEM. THE GREEN FROG LOCOMOTIVE THAT PULLED THE WHALES IN IS STILL STORED IN A SHED AND KEPT IN GOOD ORDER.
MARY SHEPHERD OWNED THE JETTY STORE IN 1954 OR 55, BUBS McCOMBE TOOK OVER THE SHOP UNTIL 1959, IT WAS THEN SOLD TO LEN AND RUTH SUMMERS WHO SOLD LATER TO DEWYERS. THE STORE WAS LATER FIRE DAMAGED AND CEASED TRADING.... THE WHALES WOULD BE TAKEN BY RAIL PAST THE STORE... WHALING BARRACKS WERE OPPOSITE THE STORE TO HOUSE THE WORKERS FROM NORFOLK ISLAND... NEW JETTY ROAD WHICH RAN ALONG THE FRONT DISAPPEARD INTO THE SEA.