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.

2 January 2017

On this day 1980.


The first attempt to bring the Lady Denman Ferry back to where she was built on the banks of Currambene Creek Huskisson nearly ended in disaster.  After being towed by tugs out through Sydney Heads into the open sea, The minehunter HMAS Snipe took over the tow and headed for Huskisson.   They ran headlong into a southerly buster and HMAS Snipe, fearing the Lady Denman might sink turned back to Sydney and docked the Lady Denman at Garden Island.

The Navy later said the ferry was too unseaworthy to be towed to Huskisson, and unless the ship was repaired the Navy would not consider a second attempt.

During the aborted tow the Lady Denman suffered damage to her side and bow bulwark.

This put the volunteers from Huskisson into a financial bind as they did not have the funds to carry out the repairs and the Lady Denmans future looked very uncertain.

[245-HMAS-Snipe-alongside-LD-1980--a%255B2%255D.jpg]This dramatic photo shows the Snipe and the Denman during the towing operations in ever increasing seas off Sydeny Harbour..
imageHMAS Snipe.

Many thought the chance of getting this iconic Sydney Ferry back to Huskisson was slim to none,  but withing days a $30.000 public appeal was launched to raise the necessary funds to carry out the repairs and bring the Lady home.

That was 37 years ago since the appeal,  and 105 years ago since the Lady Denman Ferry was built, and today you can visit the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and walk her decks and marvel at this beautiful example of timber ship building and admire the determination of all the volunteers who were involved in her rescue and ultimate preservation for future generations..


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