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Sydney Harbour : showboat souvenir and harbour guide

Date: 1937-1958
Display dimensions: 180 x 490 x 18 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Booklet
Object No: 00000006
Related Place:Sydney,

User Terms

    Souvenir booklet and harbour guide from Sydney Ferries Limited showboat KALANG.
    SignificanceThe vessel was built in 1926 as the steam car ferry SS KALANG for the cross harbour run on Port Jackson. She was later was converted to a showboat after the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.
    History"By the early 1920's vehicular traffic across the harbour had increased to such an extent that Sydney Ferries Limited decided to order three big car ferries. These were KOONDOOLOO, KALANG and KOOROONGABBA. The three vessels were broadly similar and all bar KOOROONGABBA were built in England and traveled to Australia under their own steam.
    When the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932, Sydney Ferries Ltd was left with a fleet of now useless vehicular ferries including the three big ferries that were less than ten years old.
    All three vessels went into service as high capacity cargo carrying vessels, although KOOROONGABBA was sold almost immediately for use in Newcastle as a car ferry.
    KALANG and KOONDOOLOO were kept and eventually laid up - the bridge also destroyed the need for cargo vessels on the harbour.
    In 1937 with the Great Depression nearly over and more Sydneysiders discovering that their harbour was a great recreational destination, KOONDOOLOO was converted into the first purpose built showboat. She was an instant success and the following year KALANG was converted into an even bigger showboat.
    KALANG remained in her new role until 1942 when she was taken over by the government for use in New Guinea as a stores and repair vessel. She was returned to her owners in 1946 and the following year re-emerged as a showboat once again. This time she remained in service until 1958.
    In that year she was transferred to the Harbour Lighterage and Tug company (the profitable arm of what remained of Sydney Ferries Ltd). Two years later, in 1960, she was renamed to the SYDNEY QUEEN. The group of businessmen who bought her converted her from coal to oil fired and painted her white. The effect was to make her appear larger than she really was.
    Instead of the bands and big name performers that had been her staple fare under her previous owners, she was reduced to operating cheap dance cruises. In an effort to keep her going there were even regular strip shows and by 1963 she was laid up again.
    For the next few years her owners attempted a variety of plans, none of which succeeded. These plans included anchoring her at Milsons Point as a floating restaurant, turning her into a hotel and operating her outside the Heads as a floating casino.
    From 1963 until 1971 she was left, basically abandoned in Snails Bay to the whims of vandals and the elements. Various plans were proposed for her : re-use as a ferry in Hong Kong, a floating restaurant, a casino and even being broken up. She was finally sold to a group in the Philippines who planned on using her in Manilla as a ferry and a showboat.
    She was sold along with her running mates KOONDOOLOO and KOOROONGABBA. Included in the sale was the Newcastle car ferry LUGERENA. The four set off on their long journey behind the tug POLARIS - everyone predicted disaster and they were right.
    Shortly past Newcastle KOOROONGABBA sank and the other three were causing trouble as well. POLARIS took the three remaining ferries into Trial Bay at South West Rocks to attempt repairs. Unfortunately all three ferries went ashore in quick succession; POLARIS attempted to pull them back out again, however as one came out, another would go back in. Polaris eventually abandoned her charges and all three ferries remain at rest where they landed on January 12th 1972. KALANG was later burnt out deliberately to prevent vandalism.
    The remains of all three vessels can still be partially seen today.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Sydney Harbour : showboat souvenir and harbour guide

    Assigned title: Souvenir booklet and harbour guide for Sydney Ferries Limited showboat KALANG

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