Lady-class ferry

The Lady class is a class of ferry that were operated by Harbour City Ferries and its predecessors on Sydney Harbour.

Lady class
Lady Northcott at Circular Quay in July 2013
Class overview
Completed: 7
Active: 4
General characteristics


In late 1967, the Sydney Harbour Transport Board placed an order for three ferries with the State Dockyard, Newcastle. Continuing the tradition of naming ferries after the wives of the Governors of New South Wales, Lady Cutler was launched on 10 August 1968 and arrived in Sydney on 19 September 1968.[1][2][3]

It was followed in 1970 by Lady Woodward and Lady McKell.[4] These two differed from Lady Cutler in having reverse sloped wheelhouses.[1]

In 1974/75, two enlarged versions were built by Carrington Slipways, Lady Wakehurst and Lady Northcott. These were followed in 1979 by Lady Street and Lady Herron that were built at the State Dockyard.[1][3][5][6]

Following a fire that gutted the South Steyne in August 1974, the Lady Wakehurst and Lady Northcott were pressed into on the Manly service after having their bows built up to contend with the rougher conditions while crossing Sydney Heads and extra gangway openings cut into the upper deck. Following the Tasman Bridge disaster, Lady Wakehurst was sent to Hobart in January 1975 to operate services on the River Derwent, not returning until November 1977.[3][6][7]

In the 1990s, the first three were withdrawn and placed in store at Rozelle Bay. A deal to sell them to Hong Kong fell through. Today, Lady Cutler and Lady McKell operate as cruise vessels on Port Phillip, the latter having had one wheelhouse removed and renamed Victoria Star.[2][8] Lady Woodward was sold to Tasmania and converted for use as a salmon farm tender vessel. In 2010, it was sold to Tin Can Bay for use as a houseboat.[9]

Lady Wakehurst was sold to Auckland in 1997, before returning to Sydney in 2001. It briefly returned to the Manly run in 2006 when chartered by Sydney Ferries. It moved to the Solomon Islands in 2011.[7] Lady Street was withdrawn in October 2002.[10] and was sold in December 2004 to be broken up

Lady Northcott and Lady Herron were removed from service in October 2017.[11]


NameMMSIDate launchedNamesakeStatus
Lady Cutler50333480010 August 1968Helen CutlerActive, Port Phillip[12]
Lady Woodward702781319 October 1970Eric WoodwardHouseboat, Tin Can Bay
Lady McKell702912219 October 1970William McKellRenamed Victoria Star, active Port Phillip[13]
Lady Wakehurst73434496 July 1974John WakehurstActive, Solomon Islands
Lady Northcott50360200026 September 1974John NorthcottWithdrawn October 2017, Harbour City Ferries[14]
Lady Street78108068 May 1979Laurence StreetWithdrawn October 2002[10][15].
Lady Herron50360100023 August 1979Leslie HerronWithdrawn October 2017, Harbour City Ferries[16]

See also


  1. Fifty Years of Sydney's Public Ferries Afloat Magazine May 2009
  2. History Lady Cutler
  3. Andrews, Graeme (1975). The Ferries of Sydney. Terry Hills: AH & AW Reed. pp. 58, 59, 65, 66. ISBN 0 589 07172 6.
  4. History Victoria Star
  5. Sydney Ferries Fleet Facts Archived 2015-04-12 at the Wayback Machine Transport for NSW
  6. Mead, Tom (1988). Manly Ferries. Brookvale: Child & Associates. pp. 166–167. ISBN 0 86777 091 0.
  7. Squat new ferry Lady Wakehurst kept the Manly service afloat Manly Daily 31 October 2014
  8. Home Victoria Star Cruises
  9. Introducing the Bay's new Lady Fraser Coast Chronicle 24 December 2010
  10. Lady's not for returning: budget worries cuts ferry fleet Sydney Morning Herald 17 September 2003
  11. O'Sullivan, Matt (24 October 2017). "Fate of Sydney's last ladies of the harbour finally sealed". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  12. Lady Cutler Ferries of Sydney
  13. Lady McKell Ferries of Sydney
  14. Lady Northcott Ferries of Sydney
  15. "Lady Street names her namesake" Sydney Morning Herald 9 May 1979
  16. Lady Herron Ferries of Sydney

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