|Steel screw steamer
|NSW Government Dockyard
|Gross weight :
|182.60 x 63.10 x 11.70 (feet)
|Passenger capacity :
1922 was an important year in the history of Sydney's ferries. It was
the year that saw the beginning of the construction of the Sydney
Harbour Bridge that would, when completed 10 years later, lead almost
overnight to the near-evaporation of the world's largest ferry fleet.
However, the opening of the bridge was still in the future and trade to
Sydney's North Shore was increasing rapidly. Sydney Ferries Ltd needed
more and bigger boats to service the crowded Milsons Point to Circular
Quay route. During this period peak hour ferries were leaving either
side of the harbour at the rate of one fully loaded vessel every six
An order was placed for the construction of two very large steel
hulled high capacity ferries - Koompartoo and Kuttabul. These ferries
were the largest inner harbour ferry constructed and were wider than
the large Manly boats and nearly as long. They could, at peak load,
carry nearly 500 more passengers than the Manly vessels as well. To
date no other ferry on Sydney Harbour has beaten this record.
After the opening of the bridge, their sheer size was to become their
downfall. Heavy lift ships of their capacity were no longer needed.
Koompartoo continued in service carrying crowds of passengers to the
regular Head of the River rowing carnivals and following the sailing
boat races that were growing in poularity at the time. This was also
the period of the Great Depression and Koompartoo found a new
career as a concert boat, a role she filled between 1935 and 1941.
She was requistioned by the Commonwealth Government in 1941 and was
used until 1942 as a stores vessel by the Australian Army. She was
handed over to the Royal Australian Navy in 1942 and operated as a boom
vessel in Darwin the next year along with her running mate Kara Kara.
From 1943 to 1945 she was held in reserve at Darwin. She remained laid
up there after the war until 1950 when she was towed back to Sydney.
She then stayed mothballed in the reserve fleet until being sold in
stripped of her superstructure. Her hull was towed to Launceston in
1966 for use as a bauxite barge.
Her final fate is unknown.