also our special restoration diary page.
|Steel motor vessel
|New South Wales State Dockyard
|Gross weight :
|36.18 x 8.85 (metres)
|Passenger capacity :
In 1968 the NSW state government embarked on a ferry building program.
The existing fleet of inner harbour ferries were ageing and near to
being retired. The first of seven new Lady class vessesls was
introduced to begin the replacement program. Lady Cutler was the first
of the new design. She would be followed by two identical sisters (Lady
Woodward and Lady McKell), two bigger sisters (Lady Wakehurst and Lady
Northcott) and two smaller twin funnel sisters (Lady Street and Lady
Herron). The last of the class was introduced in 1979.
Lady Cutler was laid down in March of 1968 and was in passenger service
seven months later beginning her first passenger run on the 8th of
October. Her design (and that of her sisters) was quite different to
the earlier harbour ferries but clearly derived from the typical double
ended ferries that had been in use for most of the century.
Having learnt from the mistake of the Kooleen (1956), she was built
with outside seating and two decks. Kooleen was completely enclosed and
unpopular with the travelling public (conversely she was popular with
her masters due to the high bridge giving an unrestricted view).
When introduced, she was painted in the new blue and white colours in
use on the state buses and trains. With the inevitable rust streaks and
green slime they looked awful and modifications in the colour scheme
were made to offset these discolourations. As built, Lady Cutler and
her sisters had an almost austere and severe look - the seating was
hard plastic and designed to be vandal resistant. The warmer wooden
interiors of the older ferries were gone.
By 1992 Lady Cutler had been withdrawn from service. She had been laid
up at Rozelle Bay with engine & hull problems since the previous
year. She was later sold to Melbourne concerns who planned to operate
her on Port Phillip Bay as cruise vessel (similar to the Lady McKell
(now Victoria Star)). However, by late 2004 she was in poor condition,
boarded up and down at one end due to the removal of one engine.
In May 2007 the new owners have advised that she is to be returned to
service as a cruising vessel and efforts to renovate her are underway.
She is due to travel to Portland shortly (under her own power) for
slipping. She has received the masts, anchor & anchor chain from
the now scrapped Lady Street. The current owners (since 1998 Shannon
Harper) plan to restore her to
her original blue & white colours.