Tasmanian Seafarers' Memorial

HMAS Wallaroo (1943)

The plaque reads ...

HMAS WallarooHMAS Wallaroo
Corvette J222 escort & minesweeper
11.08.1943 collided at night off
W.A. coast with American Liberty ship
'Henry Gilbert Costin' with loss of 3
RAN servicemen including Tasmanian
Daris L.B. Cowen ACT/AB H1875
son of Albert & Ruth Cowen of Cygnet

HMAS Wallaroo was a Bathurst class corvette, pendant No. J222, built in Sydney, NSW, launched on February 18th 1942, commissioned on July 15th 1942.

Her war compliment was 85.

Wallaroo began duties on anti-submarine patrols between Adelaide, Geraldton and Fremantle in September 1942 and was also employed from time to time on escort and minesweeping duties in the Fremantle area.

She met an untimely end on the night of June 11, 1943, after colliding with the American Liberty Ship, 'Henry Gilbert Costin' off the coast of Western Australia. It was a particularly dark night, both vessels travelling without lights at the time – a normal wartime precaution. The American vessel suffered minor damage, and managed to make port with all hands. Wallaroo, however, was not so fortunate – three of her crew were killed in the collision and her commanding officer was injured. Survivors were picked up by HMAS 'Dubbo'.

The casualties were Act/Able seaman Daris L. B. Cowen RAN H1875 (Tas.), Act/Able seaman Joseph Clarke PM2278 (Vic.), and Motor Mechanic IV George Garity 25511 (NSW).

George Garity formerly worked in Queenstown and Hobart while Daris Cowen was the son of Albert and Ruth Cowen of Cygnet.

References: For Those In Peril … by Vic Cassels; The Mercury 5.7.1943