MV North Head

The MV North Head (formerly SS Barrenjoey) was a ferry operated by the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company and its successors on the Manly service from 1913 until 1985.

History
Name:
  • MV North Head
  • formerly SS Barrenjoey
Namesake:
Operator:
Port of registry: Sydney
Route: Manly
Builder: Mort's Dock
Cost: £32,000
Yard number: 39
Launched: 8 May 1913
In service: 20 September 1913
Out of service: 12 December 1985
Identification: IMO number: 5256939
General characteristics
Tonnage: 499 tonnes
Decks: 2
Capacity: 1,262

The vessel was built as Barrenjoey, a steamer and one of the six "Binngarra" type Manly ferries. In 1951, she was converted to diesel-electric power, completely rebuilt and renamed North Head. She was removed from service in 1985 following the introduction of the Freshwater class ferries. She spent time in Hobart as a floating restaurant and in 2000 was taken to Cairns where she remains grounded and in deteriorating condition.

The name "Barrenjoey" was taken from the headland at the northern tip of Pittwater. "North Head" is the northern headland at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.

History

The vessel was built by Mort's Dock, Woolwich for the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company. Launched in 1913 as Barrenjoey, it was the fifth of six Binngarra type vessels that typfied the double-ended, double-screw Manly ferry. As built, she was nearly identical to Binngarra type ferries Balgowlah and Bellubera. As built, she was 500 tons, 64.0 m in length and with a capacity of 1,512 passengers. Her 112 horsepower triple expansion steam engines could push her at up to 15 knots.[1]

The name "Barrenjoey" was taken from the headland at the northern tip of Pittwater.

The cost and difficulty of replacing the steel-hulled Manly ferries saw them upgraded and modified rather than replaced. In the 1920s, Barrenjoey along with Bellubera, Balgowlah and Baragoola had officers' cabins attached to their wheelhouses.[1] In 1930, Barrenjoey had much of her upper deck enclosed,[2][3][4] and Balgowlah, Bellubera, and Baragoola also received enclosed upper decks between 1931 and 1932.[1]

In 1948, she was withdrawn for a complete rebuild by Mort's Dock which included the replacement of its steam engines with four seven-cylinder British Thomson-Houston diesel engines driving two English Electric electric engines. Her new engines generated 2000 bhp and could push her to 16 knots. She emerged on 7 May 1951 having been renamed North Head. Her tall single steam funnel was replaced with two short funnels. Her superstructure was completely rebuilt with a fully enclosed upper deck, wheelhouses further extended, and bows rebuilt to resemble the South Steyne (1938).[1] The cost of the rebuild and diesel conversion almost bankrupted the company, and upgrades to Bellubera and Baragoola in future years were much more modest in scope.

In 1964, it was sent to Melbourne for the Moomba Festival for six weeks. It returned to Melbourne in 1965 and 1967.[2][3][4] North Head was included in the sale of the Manly ferry business to Brambles in April 1972, and again to the Public Transport Commission in December 1974.[2][3]

With the Freshwater class ferries having settled down, North Head was withdrawn on 12 December 1985, 72 years after entering service. On 26 March 1987, North Head departed under its own steam for Hobart for use as a floating restaurant and convention centre. In 2000, it was sold and moved to Cairns to be used in the same manner. However, after the venture failed, the ship rotted in a Cairns dock until 2005, when it was sold on eBay to a landscape contractor, who dug a pit and put it in his front yard.

See also

Images on SimonFieldhouse.com showing her 1913, 1936 and 1951 configurations

References

  1. Prescott, AM (1984). Sydney Ferry Fleet. Magill South Australia: Ronald H Parsons. pp. 48, 59. ISBN 0909418306.
  2. SS Barrenjoey/MV North Head Ferries of Sydney
  3. Manly Ferries Balgowlah, Barrenjoey & Baragoola History Works December 2007
  4. Mead, Tom (1988). Manly Ferries of Sydney Harbour. Brookvale: Child & Associates. pp. 164–165. ISBN 0 86777 091 0.
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