Type :
Steel motor vessel
Launched  :
Builder :
NSW State Dockyard
Newcastle, NSW
Gross weight :
67 tons
Dimensions :
74.5 x 19.55 x 7.95 (feet)
Passenger capacity :
Speed :
9 knots

Kooleen was designed to be a prototype for a new group of fifteen vessels.

 By the time the order for her was placed in 1954, the remains of the Sydney Ferries fleet were aging and in need of replacement. Kooleen was of a type never before seen on the harbour - fully enclosed with a high all-round view bridge. She was popular (because of the bridge) with her masters but not with her passengers - Sydneysiders like the opportunity to be outside on their ferries. Uncomfortable tram-like seating didn't help the overall passenger experience either.

On her trials she had a noticeable tendency to drive her bows underwater, this resulted in two caps being placed on her bows, a modification that remained to the end of her life.

The ferry was initially designed to be operated by only two crewmen. However, the Maritime Union claimed that this was too dangerous as the master also needed to be responsible for the engines - ultimately the ferry was crewed by three.

She was replated in 1981 &  remained in service until May 1985 when she was finally retired. For a while she was used as a spare boat & finally sold off in 1986.

In her later life she continued on as a houseboat. All was not to be well with the old ferry however; she sank several times. NSW Maritime eventually sold her in 2003 to Atlantis Divers who had plans to sink her as a dive vessel. However this was not to eventuate; tied up at Berry's Bay the company began work to clean her up in preperation, but once again she rolled over and sank. The company went out of business and a new buyer was sought. By this time it was deemed that she was too far gone to be re-used or repaired. She was broken up on site in July of 2006.