It's off the bitumen and onto the water today.
I have always loved the Manly ferry.
My Mum used to take our family from Belmore to my Nan's home in Harbord (now called Freshwater) just about every Sunday, via Red Rattler train, Manly Ferry then double decker bus.
I particularly loved the tall funnelled steamers Dee Why and Curl Curl, or the queen of the ferries, the mighty 1200-tonne South Steyne. Her engine room was semi-exposed and you could peer down in wonder at her steam engine.
In those days you had roaming musicians and lolly sellers on the ferries as you travelled the 35 minutes and seven miles from Sydney to Manly.
There was a particular cabin for 'Ladies only'.
If you were lucky you got rough weather as you crossed the heads.
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The end is near for the traditional Many ferry.
The Freshwater class that started service in 1982 are soon to be withdrawn and replaced by much smaller craft.
As a tribute to their long service, I thought I'd look at the Freshwater class Manly ferry.
Steelwork for class leader Freshwater was laid down at the State Dockyard on October 31, 1980.
Strike actions delayed completion until June 1982.
MV Freshwater is the lead ship of the four Freshwater class ferries.
It is named after Freshwater Beach on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
It was launched on March 27, 1982 by Olivia Cox and commissioned by her husband, then-Minister for Transport, Peter Cox, on December 18, 1982.
Sisters Queenscliff, Narrabeen and Collaroy followed, costing between $8.5 million and $12 million each.
The ferries weigh 1140 tons (loaded), are 70.4m in length and carry a maximum 1100 passengers (pre-COVID).
Traditional Manly Ferries have been serving Sydney for about 170 years.
Their demise will see the sad end to an era.
Grab a ride on history while you still can.
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