HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

4 January 2016

Another steamer built at Jervis Bay.

The Lady Scott

Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), Wednesday 9 July 1913



1913 - The Lady Scott being built on the slips at Currambene Creek Jervis Bay.
The vessel has been built by Mr Joseph Dent of Huskisson, from designs by Mr. Walter Reeks of Sydney, and is for the Balmain New Ferry Company, Ltd.


The tall sailing vessels and ocean crossing steamers had long since left the bay.  The promised prosperity which was to come from building the wool road,  by which weiry, hard working bullocky’s,  driving large teams of bullocks, carrying huge loads of wool from the highlands to the bay to be loaded onto waiting sailing ships and ocean going steamers had long since passed by.

The bay had fallen silent for many years
,  Fishing was popular but industry was virtually non existant, the only local industry to employ people were the shipbuilding yards and the  few timber mills supplying lumber.

One of those yards run by the Dent family, had been skillfully hand crafting timber boats from locally sourced timber,  vessels of all kinds slid from the slip-ways located along Currambene Creek destined for locations all over the south pacific.

At a time when Huskisson,  had a population under 200,  two beautifully hand crafted timber Ferries were built by Joseph Dent, during the construction he employed around 10 men.


Joe Dent and his shipbilding crew.


Joseph Dent at the timber mill.

The centre piece of the JB Maritime Museum,  the Lady Denman built in 1911 - 1979,  and her sister ferry, the Lady Scott  built in 1913 - 1969, were destined for Sydney Harbour.

Both vessels survive,  but the Lady Denman is the only one to have stayed in her original condition, and operate as a double ender until her withdrawal from service.

The Sydney Morning Herald - Thursday 6 November 1913

Like all ferries operating on Sydney Harbour she had her fair share of incidents.

It is not often that a ferry steamer leaves a wharf as quickly as the Lady Scott got away from Greenwich this morning:  but a few seconds after, the vessel had shifted the big steamer Bright Wings crashed Into the wharf.
The Lady Scott tied up at the Greenwich Wharf about 8.10.  Just as the Bright Wings came out of Woolwich dock a short distance away.  The latter vessel swung round as she left the dock, and headed direct for the ferry steamer, which was crowded with passengers.  A large number of people were streamlng ashore, when the master, seeing the danger, ordered the lines to be thrown off,  and at the same time telegraphed to the engineer for full speed. The deck hands had no tlme to get the lines off the wharf-piles, and they merely freed them from the ship, and let them drop Into the water. The two gangways barely escaped a similar fate, being secured just as they were toppling overboard. The Lady Scott got away from the wharf like a startled bird, with her engines going at top pressure.  There was one anxious moment, as the bows of the Brlght Wings towered astern, but the ferry steamer just escaped.  A few seconds later, and the big steamer had struck the wharf.  She did little damage,  however,  had the Lady Scott not moved she would have undoubtedly suffered.

FERRY STEAMER ' DISABLED' 1925 - As a result of the sudden breakage of her propellar shaft the ferry steamer Lady Scott was disabled off Balls Head last night,  and drifted half an hour before assistance was forth-coming.  There was a good deal of excitement among the women passengers.

MISHAP TO FERRY STEAMER. 1931  - While the ferry Lady Scott, with a number of workmen on board, was berthing at Longnose Point early this morning, she crashed into the timbers and developed a leak. The inrush of water was not discovered until the ferry was on her way to the next wharf, which, however, she reached in safety. She was then tahon to Balmain dock, for repair.

FERRY STEAMERS COLLIDE. 1943  - The ferry steamers. Lady Scott and Lady Fergurson, collided at Circular Quay today and considerable damage was done to the latter. The passengers, however, realised that a collision was imminent and rushed from that side of the vessel, none being injured.

FERRY AGROUND. 1952,  — The Sydney ferry, Lady Scott, overshot Cremorne wharf and ran aground this afternoon. There were about 40 people on board, mostly children, at the time of the accident, but no one was hurt. The ferry broke a propeller shaft when she hit the rocks.  

The Lady Scott has undergone many changes.  She was one of the surviving ferries that saw the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1930's,  she was converted to diesel in 1937 and remained in service until 1969.

Burnt to the water line. After being withdrawn from service she was moored at Road Island until 1972.  In November of 1972 she caught fire and burnt to the water line.

John-Ward-Sydney-Ferries-ferry-Lady-Scott-on-fire-in-Iron-Cove-off-shore-at-Drummoyne,-Sydney,-New-South-Wales,-AustraliaPhoto, John Ward  - Lady Scott on fire in Iron Cove, off shore at Drummoyne, Sydney, New South Wales

418 John Cadman

John Cadman cruises bought her hull and rebuilt her as the John Cadman I.

1992 she was renamed the “Harbour Queen”, and still operates on Sydney Harbour under that name today, but only as a single ended vessel.


She can be recognised by her distinctive hull.
I wonder how many people who travel on her today realise just how much history her old hull has seen.?



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