MV Lady Cutler

MV Lady Cutler was a Lady-class ferry on Sydney Harbour services for 22 years. Decommissioned in 1991, she has since been refurbished and now operates tours on Port Phillip, Melbourne.

Lady Cutler
Name: Lady Cutler
Port of registry:
  • 1968-1998: Sydney
  • 1998-present: Melbourne[4]
Route: Sydney Harbour ferry
Builder: State Dockyard, Newcastle
Yard number: 80
Laid down: 1 March 1968[1]
Launched: 10 August 1968[1]
Commissioned: re-commissioned 13 January 2008 by Lady Joan Cutler
In service: 1968[4]
General characteristics
Type: double-ended ferry, later excursion vessel
Tonnage: 404 GRT
Length: 38.66 m (126.8 ft)[1][4]
Beam: 9.3 m (31 ft)[1]
Depth: 2.1 m
Installed power: MWM turbo diesel 8 cylinders 510bhp

Design and construction

MV Lady Cutler was the first of the Lady Class ferries built between 1968 and 1969 for the Sydney Harbour Transport Board to operate in Sydney Harbour.[5] She was of double-ended design with a capacity for 590 passengers.[6] With a length of 38.66 m (126.8 ft) and beam of 9.3 m (31 ft), her tonnage is 404 GRT.[1] Lady Cutler is powered by an 8-cylinder MWM turbo diesel producing 510bhp and driving a single propeller at each end.[7]

The ferry was launched on 10 August 1968 at the State Dockyard, Newcastle and named after Lady Helen Cutler, wife of the 32nd Governor of New South Wales, Roden Cutler.[1][3]


Lady Cutler entered service on 8 October 1968 and was soon followed by sister ships, Lady Woodward and Lady McKell.[6] For over twenty years she served the various routes within Sydney Harbour, but in 1991 she suffered engine and hull problems and was laid up in Rozelle Bay until offered for sale the following year.[6]

She was sold to Hong Kong interests in 1996, along with her sister ships, but the deal fell through.[3] In 1998 she was sold to Ron Morrison and then to Shannon Harper, leaving Port Jackson for Melbourne.[3] In Melbourne, much of the steelwork on her hull and superstructure was replaced. Work was sporadic and stopped in 2004, awaiting more venture capital to bring her back into survey as a cruise ship operating in Port Phillip and the Port of Melbourne.

Jeff Gordon bought the vessel in 2007, providing the funds to complete the project.[3] The deck steelwork was replaced and her steering and engine controls were reinstated. In June 2007 Lady Cutler sailed to Portland, where she was slipped and her hull surveyed. On the return voyage she encountered gale-force winds and large seas in the Bass Strait. Her engine broke down and she was towed to her berth.[3] She completed her refurbishment in Melbourne in December 2007 and the following month was recommissioned by Lady Joan Cutler, Sir Roden Cutler's 2nd wife. Lady Cutler entered service as a tourist and party boat, branded as Melbourne Showboat.[3]

See also


  1. "Lady Cutler". Miramar Ship Index. Wellington, NZ: R B Haworth. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  2. "Lady Cutler". Maritime Connector. Rijeka, Croatia. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  3. "Lady Cutler". Melbourne Showboat. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  4. "List of registered Ships". Australian Maritime Safety Authority. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  5. Fifty Years of Sydney's Public Ferries Afloat Magazine May 2009
  6. "Lady Cutler". Ferries of Sydney. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  7. "Lady Cutler". Sea-web (subscription required). IHS Global Ltd. Retrieved 8 April 2015.

Lady Cutler official home page

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