In my early years I grew up in bulldog territory in Belmore.
My grandmother lived in in Harbord, now Freshwater.
We would travel by red rattler to the Quay then via the beautiful Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company ferries, the seven miles to Manly.
My memories of those glorious ferries, South Steyne, Bellubera, Dee Why, Curl Curl, North Head and Baragoola are wonderful ones.
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I remember the roaming musicians and lolly sellers.
As a small child, the peace and tranquility of the ladies lounge.
A different era and mind set.
There are now only two of the original Manly ferries remaining in Sydney.
The 1200 tonne South Steyne, which sits forlornly at Woolwich awaiting her fate, you can buy her for three million dollars.
She is still in fairly good nick and the Baragoola.
I spotted the smaller Baragoola on my recent Balmain ferry ride after returning the test Range Rover to Jaguar/Landrover.
She sits moored, looking very poorly at Balls Head.
Baragoola was built at Mort’s Dock 96 years ago.
She served Sydney for 61 years until withdrawn in 1983.
Baragoola weighs 498 tonne, is 61 metres long and carried 1523 passengers.
Originally a steam ferry she was converted to diesel electric in the late 1950s and is driven by four English Electric 7SKM diesels.
There remains in place a group called the Baragoola Preservation Society with an aim to restore the ferry.
A small group of volunteers work tirelessly on restoring this part of Sydney’s history.
You may wish to help, check out their Facebook page.
From a distance Baragoola looks very sad and derelict indeed and needs a lot of TLC.
This vessel and South Steyne are an integral part of Sydney’s maritime history.
Surely something can be done to help preserve part of our history?
Her like will never return.
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