Manly Ferry MV Queenscliff ….
In the early 1980’s, the management of the Manly ferries was transferred from the Port Jackson Steamship Company to the NSW government. The transfer included ferries at the end of their life.
NSW Government commissioned four new large ferries to replace these ferries. The first of these ferries was the Freshwater, and so the class of ferries became known as the Freshwater class.
At Queenscliff Surf Club’s 1981 annual dinner, local MLA Alan Stewart announced that he has written to the Minister, suggesting naming one of these ferries the Queenscliff. Later that night, President and MC David Piper welcomed the suggestion and further added that perhaps the funnel of the new ferry could be painted red and blue. While the ferry was named the Queenscliff, the funnels were ultimately painted in standard colours.
The Queenscliff ferry was built at the Carrington shipyards in Newcastle, NSW, where it was launched and proceeded under its own power to its new home in Sydney Harbour. The MV Queenscliff was officially commissioned, and entered service on the Manly ferry route on 9 July 1983.
Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club was invited to attend the first journey and was represented by:
Pat and Trevor Horton, Dorothy and Peter Horton, Valerie and Barry Dolly, Dot and David Crowe, Billie and Dennis Heard, Pat and Terry Boardman and David Piper.
The ministerwas to perform the official commissioning at Manly, but the Ferry Skipper, Ron Hart,ws not comfortable travelling in the seas on the day and so alternate plans were quiuckly made.
MV Queenscliff went into immediate service and has travelled nearly three million kilometres, carying millions of people to and from Manly and Circular Quay.
In 2011 at the request of Queenscliff Surf Club members, local State Member, Mike Baird MLA, provided a plaque in memory of Saxon Bird onboard the ferry, that was unveiled by the Bird family.
This plaque will be removed from the ferry and will be relocated to Queenscliff SLSC’s newly renovated clubhouse.
The Final Journey
On Wednesday 13 October at 2:15pm, MV Queenscliff was scheduled for her last commercial trip from Manly to Circular Quay.
On board that trip, Queenscliff SLSC were well represented. Including Valerie Dolly who was on the inaugural trip 38 years previously. Because of Val being on both journeys, her and Queenscliff SLSC’s stories were part of the Channel 9 TV news and an article in the Sydney Morning Herald as well as a shot in the ABC’s nightly TV news report.
In the photo, at the same location as the 1983 photo, are Graham Lugsdin, Ken Prior, Barry Miles, Selma Stensland, Ian Johnston, Damien Daley, Val Dolly, Francee, Phoenix, Estelle and Steve Harrison, Mark Horton and Brian Dolly.
The group celebrated in typical style after the trip was complete.