USAT General MacArthur, 1942
Stratford Heritage Trail

Johnston's Timber Mill owned a number of small boats which were used for bringing timber down the coast from the Daintree. 

In 1942 Captain Alf Hansen designed a new boat, 102 feet long with a beam of 24 feet, made of local timber and capable of carrying 200 tons of timber from the Bloomfield River to the Barron. A slipway and floating dock were built here for the construction of the boat. 

Before the boat was completed the US military purchased it for the war effort. While the boat was on the slipway it was guarded by US Military Police and workers at the mill were required to carry security passes.

The boat was launched on 8 August 1942 as the United States Army Transport (USAT) General MacArthur. It was used by the Small Ships Section of the US Army Services of Supply. 

After the war the boat spent some time carrying timber in Tasmania as the MV Geo Bass before returning to Cairns in the 1950s. It was renamed the MV Melbidir and used as a Queensland Government patrol vessel based on Thursday Island. In 1973 the boat was donated to the Navy League of Australia as the TS Triton. The boat was decommissioned in 1991 and the hull is slowly rotting away on the banks of Admiralty Island in Cairns. 

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