Shark net inquiry

posted in: InfoRequests 13


John Austin-Williams has written in with a query about his dad Bob Mara. He wrote:

My dad, Robert “Bob” Mara, was involved with the shark nets in Durban in the early 1960s. He ran the Durban Shark Meshing boat Sea Hound.

His brother, Joe Mara, wrote A FISHERMAN’S TALE: Fifty Years of Angling Along the Natal Coast Edited by Dave Rorke published by Angler Publications May 1986. 92 Pages. I am just hoping to find out more about the subject and if anyone is still alive that Remembers Bob Mara (he died in July 1967 aged 54) and his brother Joe Mara. (not sure when Joe died).

Any help/leads will be appreciated please.


The Sea Hound in about 1964.


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13 Responses

  1. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi John,

    A very small reference to your Dads boat on the link below. Maybe if you research The Natal Sharks Board sites you may pick up more

    Look at chapter 6.

    A further link to Joe Mara, about writing his book.

  2. Mike
    | Reply

    Sorry the 2nd link is as follows:

  3. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi John,
    I have seen that book at fleamarket book sales so know of it. However many years ago it was shown to me if I remember correctly by one Harold Roseaveare (spelling?) who worked in the Durban Corporation Telephone Dept. Not sure if Harold is alive today but I have vague recollections that he, also a fisherman, was friends with your Dad and had something to do with the book. Hope I am remembering correctly. I do not have the book.

  4. Allan Jackson
    | Reply

    Hi Guys
    Harold (I don’t know how to spell it either) Roseveare was a renowned local fisherman and I’m sure he has passed away. His would be an interesting story too. Allan.

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi John,
    You asked for any info re your Dad and his brother Joe. I did not know either of them but with that unusual surname I looked them up in my 1965 Durban Directory. Three Maras are listed. J Mara living in 301 Queen Anne. which was a block of flats in Erskine Terrace near Addington School on the beachfront. Then there are two R.V. Mara’s, one living at 2 Elsmay Court. When I looked up to find out where Elsmay Court is, No 2 is given as Mrs S Mara. The small block of flats is in Heather Road, Umbilo. The other R.V. Mara is listed at 259 Gale Street. Gale Street in the 60s was still residential properties mixed with some light industrial properties now creeping in. The info may not shoot the lights out, but if you did not know this you can add it to what you have.

  6. TonyLouchAfrica
    | Reply

    Hi John
    I knew your dad quite well in the early 1960s. He was married to my granny Emily. They lived in a block of flats on umbilo road,where I stayed with him my gran and their daughter Collen who was six month older than me. They moved to Madeline road, Greyville?or Florida area.I would visit them often.
    Not sure if you will find this amusing or not, but he sailed out of Dbn Harbour one morning, something went amiss and the boat ran aground at snake park. The joke was, the only boat to sail out of Dbn Harbour and return via Smith street.

  7. John Austin-Williams
    | Reply

    Hello Tony,

    Thanks for the posting – Love the depart by sea arrive by land! (hehe just up my street type of humour!)

    Will chat further via e-mail.

    Thanks too to the other folk who have responded – much appreciated – book is on order.


  8. Sean Robert Mara
    | Reply

    Hi Guys
    My name is Sean Robert Mara I am Bob Mara’s other son, I remember growing up in umbilo rd /Gale St, He lived with my Mother Shirley Booth, Till he died, They never got married but produced my sister Lesley and myself, we spent many a day on the boat and have pics somewhere, I will have to find them. Uncle Joe lived on Addington beach in a block of flats not sure of the name. He did not have any children of his own, I currently live in Auckland New Zealand, so would love to hear from anyone about Bob and Joe.

  9. Peter Samuel Aston
    | Reply

    I remember Bob uncle Bob he was very kind to younger brother and me
    My dad boat ( Bess ) used to park a boat away from Sea Hound we were under ten back then uncle Bob uncle Joe were quiet close friends
    Uncle Bob would call Robert And Myself to show us the dead sharks he had pulled out hooked in the nets
    Sea Hound had a boat house for removing the nets for fixing in the roof of the boat house
    Were plenty shark jaws
    Uncle Bob gave me enough Teeth that I drilled and sold for pocket money
    There were plenty times Uncle Bob took old car bodies out to sea he was dumping them around the salmon ground off the Bluff
    Remember many days walking the lenght of the nets that were laid out for fixing
    One of the guys that removed and used to fix the nets
    Lost his hand Shark bit it off and he had a claw hand
    He used to tease the other children that came close to the property fence
    It was amazing to sit and watch the guy with his claw work steching the nets
    There were plenty cats around the shark net building they had plenty shark meat to eat
    The Sea Hound was a very stable boat
    When I was out with dad at times I often watched them pulling and checking the net s those were good days Durban had a lot of excellent skippers
    My late Dad was known as Tiger mentioned a few times in the Book
    Fisherman’s tale

  10. John Austin-Williams "Jaws"
    | Reply

    What lovely info, thank you Peter. My son found a copy of “A FISHERMAN’S TALE” in September last year, fascinating read! Cheers, Jaws

  11. Brad
    | Reply

    I read The Fisherman’s Tale as a teenager and am looking for a copy for my teenage son to read who has grown up in Durban. Any suggestions? Thank you

  12. John Austin-Williams
    | Reply

    Hi Brad, Jaws here, Joe was my Uncle. Please send me an e-mail to Merry Xmas. Jaws.

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