Kara Kara

Kara Kara

Type :
Steel screw steamer
Launched  :
Builder :
J Crichton & Co Ltd
Saltney, England
Gross weight :
525 tons
Dimensions :
187.00 x 35.65 x 14.48 (feet)
Passenger capacity :
250 passengers, 50 vehicles
Speed :
13 knots

Kara Kara was one of three largest vehicular ferries on the harbour. Her sisters were the Koondooloo and Kalang. all three were broadly similar ships. Even though the Sydney Harbour Bridge was only a few years away from opening, vehicular traffic had increased to such a level that these vessels warranted construction. (The same happened with several passenger ferries of the time as well).

After the opening of the bridge none of these three new ferries were scrapped. Koondooloo and Kalang were converted into showboats and kara Kara was put to use by Sydney Ferries limited as a cargo carrier. She operated on this role between 1932 and 1941.

In 1941 she was sold to the Royal Australian Navy who converted her into a boom and gate vessel. She was sent to Darwin and equipped with a small machine gun to allow her to defend herself. She participated in battle during the Japanese attack on Darwin and claimed one hit on an enemy plane. Kara Kara lost two of her crew during the attack. Kara Kara came under heavy air attack at Darwin on 19 February 1942, when the Japanese Admiral Nagumo's carrier borne aircraft made the first enemy attack on the Australian mainland. She suffered several casualties, including two ratings killed by machine gun fire, and was lucky to escape serious damage.

On 8 December 1945 Kara Kara paid off into reserve at Darwin. After five years in reserve she departed Darwin on 6 December 1950, arriving at Sydney on 22 December 1950. Without further sea-going service she was transferred to un-maintained reserve at Waverton Depot on 30 December 1960 and was later used as a Reserve Amenities Ship at Sydney.

Kara Kara was sold out of the service to Marrickville Metals, Marrickville, NSW, for breaking up on 15 Feb 1972. After being stripped of useful material the hulk was handed back to the RAN for use as a target. On 31 January 1973 Kara Kara was sunk forty miles east of Jervis Bay after serving as a target for ships and aircraft.

She managed to out-survive her sisters by only a few months.