|Wooden screw steamer
|Morrison & Sinclair Ltd
|Gross weight :
|107 tons/109 tons after 1936
|107.50 x 25.50 x 8.60 (feet)
|Passenger capacity :
|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All the remaining wooden ferries were withdrawn from service and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
Karrabee was the last surviving wooden K class ferry and at 92 years
old one of the oldest remaining harbour ferries.