Sydney Queen





Sydney Queen

Type :
Wooden screw steamer
Launched  :
1938 (rebuilt from vehicular ferry)
Builder :
Sydney Ferries Ltd
Balmain, NSW
Gross weight :
525 tons
Dimensions :
187.00 x 35.65 x 14.58 (feet)
Passenger capacity :
2153
Speed :
13 knots

For Kalang's earlier history, see this entry.

After the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932, Sydney Ferries Ltd was left with a fleet of now useless vehicular ferries. Three of these were less than 10 years old - Kalang, Koondooloo &  Kooroongaba.

All three vessels went into service as high capacity cargo carrying vessels, although Kooroongaba was sold almost immediately for use in Newcastle as a car ferry.

Kalang & Koondooloo were kept and eventually laid up - the bridge also destroyed the need for cargo vessels on the harbour.

In  1937 with the Great Depression nearly over and more Sydney-siders discovering that their harbour was a great recreational destination, Koondooloo was converted into the first purpose built showboat. She was an instant success and the following year Kalang was converted into an even bigger showboat.

Kalang remained in her new role until 1942 when she was taken over by the government for use in New Guinea as a stores & repair vessel. She was returned to her owners in 1946 and the following year re-emerged as a showboat once again. This time she remained in service until 1958.

In that year she was sold to the Harbour Lighterage & Tug company. Two years later, in 1960, she was renamed to the Sydney Queen. The group of businessmen who bought her converted her from coal to oil fired and painted her white. The effect was to make her appear larger than she really was.

Instead of the bands and big name performers that had been her staple fare under her previous owners, she was reduced to operating cheap dance cruises. In an effort to keep her going there were even regular strip shows. By 1963 she was laid up again.

For the next few years her owners attempted a variety of plans, none of which succeeded. These plans included anchoring her at Milsons Point as a floating restaurant, turning her into a hotel & operating her outside the Heads as a floating casino.

She was sold to Phillipine interests in 1972 and was part of the disastrous tow that saw her beached and abandoned at South West Rocks on 11th of January, 1972.


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