From ‘Tassie’ to Tin Can Bay – What an Australian!

Michael ‘Tas’ Hollaway OAM

Michael ‘Tas’ Hollaway OAM

‘Tas’ enters my Secretary’s office with a big grin on his face and says, “Remembrance Day this time eh?”. I nod my head and we sit down together to discuss last year’s Remembrance Day Order of Service and our strategy for this year’s ceremony at Tin Can Bay Memorial Park on 11 November.

Tas has been responsible for planning and Master of Ceremonies for all of Tin Can Bay RSL’s commemorative services since 1998 but has decided it is time to hand over the task to new blood and I am the man. I hadn’t realized what an honour that was until now.

Michael Hollaway was born and raised in Launceston, Tasmania. He joined the Australian Army in 1958 at the age of 17 and was allocated to the Royal Australian Engineers. Michael soon became known as ‘Tassie’ or ‘Tas’ to his mates as he progressed in his career in the army.

He did his basic Engineering training in Casula, Sydney and then over the next few years served overseas in New Guinea, Malaysia, and Thailand. In 1967 he did the bomb disposal course back at the School of Military Engineering and that kicked off a new phase in his military life.

He was posted back to New Guinea where he was responsible for disposing of thousands of World War 2 bombs. Often locals would come up to him and tell him about the ‘big fella bombs’ that they’d found.

In 1977 he was recognized for his outstanding service and was awarded with the Order of Australia Medal OAM by Queen Elizabeth II in Canberra.

In 1978 he was posted to Chattenden in Kent, UK for an initial 6-month exchange position on project ‘Long Look’, and then had the posting extended to three years lecturing on bomb disposal at Chattenden’s Army School of Engineering.

Tas completed his army career as Warrant Officer Class 1, Regimental Sergeant Major, at 2/3 Field Engineering Regiment at Enoggera. He retired from the Regular Army in 1985, before eventually moving to Tin Can Bay.

He joined Tin Can Bay RSL with his good mate Noel Bonell. He was Secretary for a period and took on the job of running the RSL’s commemorative services in 1998 and continued that role until now, 25 years of doing a great job.

When asked about the role Tas said, “I was available and happy to do the job. I think it’s really important that small towns like Tin Can Bay continue to hold commemorative services and recognize the contributions made to Australia by our armed forces personnel.”

Well we certainly recognize you ‘Tassie’ Holloway. Thank you for your service!

Ross Carruthers

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