Manly II
Manly II

Type :
Wooden screw steamer
Launched  :
Builder :
Young, Son & Fletcher
Balmain, NSW
Gross weight :
229 tons
Dimensions :
45.00 x 8.00 (metres)
Passenger capacity :
Speed :
14 knots

The second ship to carry the name Manly was the first true double ended ferry designed by the naval architect, Walter Reeks. She was the first vessel to incorporate the distinctive turtle-back bows that would distinguish later Manly ferries & the first to have a wheelhouse both fore & aft (in this case, either side of the funnel). Unlike her descendants, she was a wooden hulled vessel.

In another first, she was also the first Manly ferry to have an English triple expansion steam engine that would be the design used both in later Manly ferries & also in the harbour ferries.

From the beginning though, her size was against her as she could only handle 820 passengers & her engines caused a large amount of vibration. This was alleviated when the PJ&MSS Co took her over in 1907 & replaced her three bladed screws with four bladed ones.

On the night of Sunday, 30th June 1901 the Manly was caught in a gale which suddenly swept along the eastern coast of New South Wales & her 50 passengers were to have the ride of their lives. Just off South Head, with heavy rollers breaking over her, the engines stopped & would not start again. She was wallowing beam on to the waves. Letting out the anchor did not help, she kept on drifting towards North Head. Distress flares were sent up in the hope that the Brighton, travelling in the opposite direction would spot them. Less than 200 metres from the rocky shore, the anchor finally grabbed & jerked the ship to a stop, however, the anchor chain was under stress & in danger of breaking. Three quarters of an hour later, Brighton hove into view greeted by cheers from those on the Manly. Brighton managed to get a tow line onto Manly & led her into the quieter waters of North Harbour where the Manly's engines restarted (the intake valves had been clogged with seaweed). Brighton took her passengers on to Manly & returned to find the Manly grounded in the soft sand. A line was run from the Manly to the beach & the passengers were taken off four or five at a time through the heavy surf of Manly Cove. All agreed that it was the worst night any of them had ever spent.

Manly was eventually sold in 1924 for 8,000 pounds & broken up two years later.

Manly still holds the record for the fastest crossing between Sydney and  Manly for a convential vessel - 22 minutes.