Karrabee







Karrabee


Type :
Wooden screw steamer
Launched  :
1913
Builder :
Morrison & Sinclair Ltd
Balmain, NSW
Gross weight :
107 tons/109 tons after 1936
Dimensions :
107.50 x 25.50 x 8.60 (feet)
Passenger capacity :
653
Speed :
11 knots/9 knots after 1936/11 knots after 1958

Karabee was a near sister to Karingal.

When originally built, her steam engines had come from the scrapped Pheasant. She was the first of the K class boats to receive a diesel engine (in 1936) - this slowed her down. She was again re-engined in 1958 and this returned her to her previous speed.

To Karrabee goes the dubious distinction of being the catalyst for the retirement of Sydney's wooden inner harbour ferry fleet. On 22nd January 1984 she was participating in the Great Ferry Race on Sydney harbour (an event she had won three years prior). Karrabee had recently been returned to service after a refit and should have been fine for several more years to come. However, during the race she began taking on water and experienced steering problems. With the crowds of people gathered at her bow there were even moments when her hull was below water. Her captain returned her to Circular Quay and managed to get everyone off before she sank at her berth.

She was raised two days later and was then laid up while investigations into her sinking took place. Ultimately the blame was placed on the workmen who renovated her, they had not cleared rubbish that was gathered around the bilge pump inlet and this severely restricted the ability of the pumps to clear the water.

All the remaining wooden ferries were withdrawn from service and Karrabee was given to the company that bought Kameruka in June 1985. Kameruka sunk at her berth and was broken up.  Karrabee gained a new lease on life. She was towed to Gosford and converted into a floating restaurant in 1986.

Her condition deteriorated however and she settled into the mud at her wharf in 2003. In November of 2005 she was broken up in place. There is some evidence that her upper structure was relocated to Kulnura (on the Central Coast).

Karrabee was the last surviving wooden K class ferry and at 92 years old one of the oldest remaining harbour ferries.


Navigation