|Steel screw steamer
|Napier & Miller
Old Kirkpatrick, Scotland
|Gross weight :
|67.00 x 11.00 (metres)
|Passenger capacity :
Curl Curl was the second of two identical ferries (the other being Dee
Why) built in Scotland in 1928 for the PJ&MSS Co.
She was the fastest ferry on the harbour, able to do the Manly run in
22 minutes, equal to the record set in 1912 by the Manly. However,
unlike the Manly, she consistently ran at this speed.
Curl Curl, her sister Dee Why and later the South Steyne, all steamed
out from Scotland under their own power - the first ferries to do so
since the Brighton in 1883. Since the introduction of the Baragoola,
ferry traffic had been growing to such an extent that the Manly company
needed to aquire faster & larger ships. The cost to build them in
Australia was too high, so the company looked to Scotland for their new
First of the two new ships to arrive in Sydney was the Curl Curl on the
25th of November, 1928 after a voyage of more than 20 weeks. Dee Why
followed soon after on the 1st of November. During the trip of the two
ferries, they encountered heavy weather in the Bay of Biscay. Curl Curl
suffered the only damage - a broken window. The twins stayed at Aden
for 10 days & Port Said for 5 days due to a broken steam pipe on
Curl Curl. A further two month delay was due to both ferries
waiting for the pass of the Monsoon season.
Curl Curl's arrival was unexpected, she had shaved 5 days off
travelling down the Queensland coast. Dee Why's arrival a few days
later was in the middle of the
night & because the harbour pilot refused to board her over her
wide sponsons, she had to follow the pilot into the Heads & moor at
Dee Why had problems on the journey to Australia caused by troublesome
crew. The captain put the troublemakers off in Aden & hired a
stowaway found on board in their place.
Curl Curl had her share of tussles on the harbour - the first occurred
on the 28th of April, 1929 when she collided with the launch Nimrod
outside Circular Quay. Fortunately, the master of the ferry had seen
the launch in time & had ordered full astern. The ferry was
going astern when the Nimrod struck. Fortunately no-one was injured.
On the 30th of April, 1930, Curl Curl & the harbour ferry Kiandra
came to blows in almost the same spot. Curl Curl smashed through the
wooden hull of the Kiandra and created a massive hole. Both masters
realised that if the Curl Curl withdrew, the Kiandra would immediately
sink, so Curl Curl's captain kept the bow of his ship locked fast into
the smaller ferry. Locked into this awkward embrace, the two ferries
limped together to the P&O dock where a pair of tugs took over the
job. Curl Curl suffered a few bent plates.
In February of 1932 Curl Curl cut through the fence protecting the
harbour pool at Manly. Divers were sent down to clear a rope that had
wrapped round the propeller & she resumed her journey.
31st of March 1936 saw the Curl Curl grounded on rocks at Bradleys Head
due to a thick fog. For more than an hour she was stranded before being
located, the 50 passengers were offloaded to a launch & three tugs
pulled her off the rocks. There was damage to a rudder & some bent
plates, a week later, she was back in service.
In 1953, Curl Curl smashed into the wharf at Manly, causing herself
extensive damage & destroying the offices of the local tourist
board. Damage was done to the wharf as well, in some places
metres of wall was destroyed.
Curl Curl was retired out of service in 1960, a victim of the expensive
fuel she required compared to the cheaper-running diesel powered
vessels. Sold to Stride's, she was stripped of anything valuable &
left to rust until, on the 13th of August1969, she was towed out to sea
& scuttled near the Heads.