|Steel screw steamer
|Gross weight :
|64.00 x 10.00 x 3.75 (metres)
|Passenger capacity :
Balgowlah was the fourth of six similar sister ships built by Mort's
Dock between 1905 & 1922. In appearance she was identical to the
Bellubera built two years previously & the Barrenjoey built in
1913. In nearly forty years on the harbour, she made over 110,000
thousand trips to Manly covering more than 715,000 miles.
the last coal burning vessel in the Manly fleet & although she was
planned to be converted to diesel along with Barrenjoey &
Bellubera, this never happened. Ultimately her engines went to
Baragoola as at the time the Manly company had fallen on lean times
& the decision was made to withdraw Balgowlah from service.
Balgowlah's look remained fairly constant over her lifetime, the
major alteration being in the 1930's when (like the Bellubera) her top
deck was glassed in & the wheelhouses extended to provide better
Balgowlah was named after the area around North
Harbour, a name still used for the residential suburb in that area.
Although the Balgowlah was rated at 15 knots, she could do 16 knots
& often made the trip in 25 minutes compared with the current
Freshwater class that take 30 - 33 minutes, making her one of the
fastest Manly ferries.
Balgowlah had a fairly incident free life. The
first incident happened less than two weeks after she had been brought
into service on the 10/12/1912 when, as she left Circular Quay,
she tangled in the anchor chain of the collier Five Islands which
wrapped itself around her propeller. The propeller shaft was
turned manually by hand by the engineer & eventually the chain fell
off, no damage was done to Balgowlah. In November of 1913, she had a
minor brush with the ferry Kangaroo, which ironically would rescue
passengers from the Kanimbla after Balgowlah holed her fourteen years
later. The 25/04/1921 saw Balgowlah tangle with the Manuka (ex-Hobart)
& lost around two & a half metres of her sponson. On the
15/06/1927 Balgowlah collided with the inner harbour ferry Kanimbla at
Circular Quay, she tore a hole in the Kanimbla's port bow. Although a
frantic rescue effort ensued to save the sinking Kanimbla, Balgowlah
had only light damage to two of her steel plates above the waterline.
Two years later, Balgowlah had a similar accident with the collier
Birchgrove Park, this time damage was limited to Balgowlah's bow &
sponson, although again, it was fairly light. Her last run-in was on
26/01/1939 when she overshot the wharf at Circular Quay & grounded
in soft mud, it took 45 minutes & two tugs to pull her free.
was taken out of service on 27/02/1951 and remained laid up at the
Glebe yards of Stride's Shipbreakers until finally being broken up in
August of 1953.