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Presented to MV LADY WAKEHURST by the Lord Mayor & Aldermen of the City of Hobart in appreciation of its Outstanding services during the period/ The Tasman Bridge was under repair 1975-1977

Date: 1976
Overall: 72 x 136 x 3 mm, 36.8 g
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Plaque
Object No: AX001152
Related Place:Tasmania,

User Terms

    A commemorative plaque from the Sydney ferry LADY WAKEHURST, engraved with a message of appreciation by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Hobart for ferry services provided while the Tasman Bridge was being rebuilt, 1975-77.
    SignificanceThe LADY WAKEHURST is well remembered by Sydney siders for its long service on the Manly ferry run. The plaque commemorates the ferry's assistance to the Tasmanian government after the Tasman Bridge disaster.
    HistoryThe Manly Ferry trip is an iconic part of people's experience and memories of Sydney Harbour. From the 1930s the much loved SOUTH STEYNE had worked the Manly ferry run. By the early 1970s it was the last steam ferry operating in Sydney.

    Due to the growing demand on the Manly Ferries and the age of the vessels in 1972 a NSW State Government transport committee suggested the construction of two or three new Manly Ferries. Two new vessels then being built for the Mosman and inner harbour routes were directed to be modified with higher bows and upstairs gangway gates so that they could be used on the Manly run if required.

    The LADY WAKEHURST and LADY NORTHCOTT were never intended as Manly ferries, however spent much of their time filling in on this run. It was ten years - December 1982 - before the first new Manly ferry built in 45 years, the FRESHWATER, arrived.

    The LADY WAKEHURST was named after Lady Margaret Loder Wakehurst (1899 - 1994), wife of Baron John De Vere Loder Wakehurst, Governor of New South Wales from 1937 to 1946. The ferry was constructed at Carrington Slipways, Tomago, Hunter River, near Newcastle, for the Public Transport Commission of New South Wales. LADY WAKEHURST was a double-ended steel passenger ferry of 366 gross tons and 143 ft in length and had two 4-stroke single-acting six-cylinder diesel engines built by Mirrlees Blackstone Ltd., Stamford, England that drove a single propeller at each end of the vessel. Top speed was 13 knots and it could carry up to 800 passengers.

    Although designed for the inner harbour service, principally Mosman, the LADY WAKEHURST went straight into relief duty on the Manly run, replacing BARAGOOLA and later NORTH HEAD while they were given a repaint and refit.

    On the evening of 5th January 1975 the city of Hobart was thrown into chaos when the bulk carrier LAKE ILLAWARRA collided with the Tasman Bridge. The carrier brought three spans down on the vessel - which sank within minutes – taking seven crew and five motorists whose cars plunged into the river.

    In one night, Hobart’s main cross-river transport was gone. There was no choice but to revert to a mode of transport that had served Hobart well for decades – ferries. Within hours of the city being divided, an emergency ferry service was organised, soon transporting up to 30,000 passengers a day. The former river steamers MELBA and CARTELA were brought out of retirement and the Tasmanian government brought LADY FERGUSON, KOSCIUSKO and LADY WAKEHURST from Sydney to assist. On 18th January LADY WAKEHURST left for Hobart under tow.

    LADY WAKEHURST is the only Manly ferry to do commuter work in another capital city. The ferry returned from Tasmania in November 1975 - again under tow - and was sent for an overhaul prior to returning to service.

    LADY WAKEHURST spent most of her time as a Manly ferry. This was a job for which the so-called 'Lady class' was never designed, but foresight in modifying the height of the bows to handle heavy weather and the provision of extra gangway exits enabled them to fill in satisfactorily. In 1984 the LADY WAKEHURST was given two small drawbridge gangways similar to those of the Freshwater class.

    In June 1978 the LADY WAKEHURST took a battering in rough seas and in 1982 was involved in an accident near Fort Denison. The ferry continued to serve Manly until 1984 when the arrival of the NARRABEEN (the third of the Freshwater-class ferries) released the LADY WAKEHURST for the work originally been built for - inner harbour runs.

    In 1990, the ferry underwent a major refit, and continued to work the inner Harbour until the late 1990s when it was decided by Sydney Ferries that the vessel was no longer seaworthy. It was sold to a New Zealand company was used to service the run from Auckland to Waihike Island as a cheaper alternative to the fast catamarans. It was also used as a charter boat during the America's Cup. Auckland's Waitemata Harbour had no other vessel capable of accommodating up to 700 passengers.

    In 2001 LADY WAKEHURST was sold to Sydneyside Cruises and left Auckland under its own steam. On arrival in Sydney Harbour the respected Manly ferry was given a welcome display by current Sydney Harbour Ferries and other vessels. LADY WAKEHURST is now berthed at Blackwattle Bay and refurbished for harbour cruises.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Presented to MV LADY WAKEHURST by the Lord Mayor & Aldermen of the City of Hobart in appreciation of its Outstanding services during the period/ The Tasman Bridge was under repair 1975-1977

    Web title: LADY WAKEHURST plaque

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