South Steyne (S.S.) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

South Steyne (S.S.)

Item details

Name of item: South Steyne (S.S.)
Other name/s: Manly Ferry, "SS South Steyne"
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Transport - Water
Category: Vessel - harbour & river
Location: Lat: -33.87079636246 Long: 151.199694557
Primary address: , Port Jackson, NSW
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Unincorporated Waterway
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan

Boundary:

The SHR curtilage boundary is limited to the item itself and does not include the land it is located on or the structure it is housed within. Moveable item.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 Port JacksonUnincorporated WaterwayAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The South Steyne was the best known of the Manly ferry line which played a major role in the suburbanisation of Sydney and in the development of its recreational patterns. It is a very high quality example of naval architecture and an outstanding example of the plating (having no flat plates) for which Henry Robb of Leith was famous. It is the finest example of the most significant Australian contribution to sea navigation technology - the development of high speed, double-ended operation in deep sea conditions. It has an intact operating example of propulsion by steam reciprocating engine. It epitomised the Manly ferry as part of Sydney's image and its popular urban culture; and remains, like the Harbour Bridge, a powerful piece of Sydney imagery. It is held in high esteem by the local community and remains in the collective memory of the nation. It provides a working example of the propulsion and auxilary functions of marine steam power. (Heritage Office 1992)
Date significance updated: 18 Feb 99
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Walter Leslie Dendy and John Ashcroft
Builder/Maker: Henry Robb Ltd
Construction years: 1937-1938
Physical description: South Steyne is a double-ended, double-screw steamship powered by a 3,250 IHP triple expansion steam engine (manufactured by Harland & Wolff, Belfast). It was the largest ferry to operate on Sydney Harbour, designed and constructed to ocean-going ship standards. 1203 gross tonnes, 67 metres in length and with a beam of 11 metres. It has a double-ended riveted steel hull, steel superstructure to sun deck level, steel bulwarks, teak decks and wheelhouses, 8 watertight bulk-heads, bar keel, double bottom under engine only. Two funnels (one dummy containing water tank). (Heritage Office 1992) (I Brady 1976)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good but with high level of maintenance required to retain this condition.
Date condition updated:12 Apr 00
Modifications and dates: 1937 - keel laid.
1 April 1938 - launched.
9 Sep 1938 - arrived Sydney, registered .
24 Oct 1938 - entered service.
1944 - collision with Manly wharf.
1953 - first ocean cruise.
1964 - alterations to passenger accomodation.
1972 - last ocean cruise.
Aug 1974 - withdrawn from service. Fire damaged.
1975 - sold out of service.
1988 - refit as restaurant/cruising vessel.
Further information: Location movable. Located Port Hunter when PCO was made; now Port Jackson.
Now an extremely rare item in international terms - largest surviving operating example of this significant maritime technology. Needs careful on-going management strategy, and ultimately probable state support or ownership.
Current use: Restaurant and function centre
Former use: public ferry

History

Historical notes: The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Co. Ltd. was the best known of the Sydney ferry operators and was famous for the large and comfortable steamers which it ran to the seaside suburb and resort of Manly. The ferry service played a significant role in opening up settlement in that region from the 1850s. Patronage was growing steadily in the 1930s and the need to increase fleet capacity and the need for faster vessels led the Port Jackson Co. to order a new ferry boat.

In December 1936 the General Manager of the Port Jackson Co., Walter Leslie Dendy went to Britain to study sea transportation, propulsion techniques and to order a new ferry. By March 1937, seven shipbuilders had submitted tenders. The contract was awarded to the Scottish shipbuilder Henry Robb Ltd. for a steam reciprocating ship. The engine was built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast. The keel of the vessel was laid at Robb's Leith Yard in October 1937 and launching took place in April 1938. The name of the vessel came from the promenade behind the ocean beach at Manly.

Pedder and Mylchreest Ltd. of London was entrusted the task of delivering the ship 12,000 miles to Sydney. Captain R. M. Beedie was the master for the sixty-four day voyage. During the voyage, the South Steyne performed well and found no difficulty in the monsoonal conditions.

The South Steyne arrived in Sydney on 9 September 1938 and for the next 36 years gave faithful service on the Manly ferry run. The ferry had a justified reputation as a fine sea-going boat. For some 20 years it also ran Sunday ocean cruises to Broken Bay, north of Sydney and followed the Boxing Day yacht races to sea. South Steyne was withdrawn from service in 1974 amid uncertainty about the future of the service. At that time it was the last steam ferry operating in Sydney. About a week after the last run a fire broke out in the fan engine room and severely damaged that area and the promenade deckhouse above.

The South Steyne passed through a number of ownerships with intermittent conservation and restoration work being undertaken. In 1988 it was refitted as a cruising vessel/function centre and entered service in Melbourne, its first function was as 'Royal Yacht' for the Queen in April 1988. In 1991 it was sold to a Newcastle owner and was returned to NSW, initially to Newcastle, then to Sydney, where it is now moored in Darling Harbour. (Heritage Office 1992) (A. Prescott, R. Willson and P. Plowman 1990).

In April 2016 the SS South Steyne was relocated from its mooring to make way for Darling Harbour's $1b facelift. The ferry has been a floating restaurant moored in Darling Harbour for 20 years. She was stored at Berrys Bay in April 2016 so the Darling Harbour jetty could be demolished, said a Property NSW spokesperson. The vessel's owner, Brian McDermott, has been funding repairs and maintenance from the restaurant's takings, but his business is on hold until NSW Roads & Maritime Services find a new berth (Victora Ticha, 'Heritage Listed South Steyne waits for a berth to call home', SMH, 13/12/16, 9).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Tourist Industry-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Wharf and shipping history-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Maintaining the river boat network-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements administering the public ferry system-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a restaurant-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The South Steyne was the best known of the Manly ferry line which played a major role in the suburbanisation of Sydney and the development of its recreational patterns. It symbolises the progressive approach of the Board of the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company and, in particular, the creative ingenuity of the General Manager, Walter Leslie Dendy, who assisted design of the vessel and created much of the image for which the Manly ferry was famous in the twentieth century. It is associated with the development and culture of Manly and Warringah as a residential and recreational area. (Heritage Branch 1992)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It is a very high quality example of naval architecture and an outstanding example of the plating (having no flat plates) for which Henry Robb of Leith was famous. It is the finest example of the most significant Australian contribution to sea navigation technology - the development of high speed double-ended operation in deep sea conditions. It has an intact operating example of propulsion by steam reciprocating engine. (Heritage Branch 1992)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It epitomised the Manly ferry as part of Sydney's image and its popular urban culture; it remains, like the Harbour Bridge, a powerful piece of Sydney imagery. It has featured in Sydney poster-art for over 50 years. It is held in high esteem by the local community and remains in the collective memory of the nation. (Heritage Branch 1992)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
It provides a working example of the propulsion and auxiliary functions of marine steam power. (Heritage Branch 1992)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
It is one of three Manly ferries of the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company surviving afloat and the only one in operating condition and the only steam-powered example. It is rare evidence of the large ferry systems which stimulated the growth of suburban Sydney. It is uniquely Australian in concept and design. It has the largest and most powerful operating marine reciprocating steam engine surviving in the world today (including original Scotch boilers and auxiliaries), providing rare international evidence of the machinery that powered the Industrial Revolution at sea (Heritage Branch 1992)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
It is representative of twentieth-century Manly ferries and is the optimal development of the steam-propelled Manly ferry. (Heritage Branch 1992)
Integrity/Intactness: This vessel was built to very high standards of structural strength and is In excellent condition, though requiring a constant high level of maintenance to maintain that condition. Hull, machinery and exterior generally in original condition. The open shelters at the ends of the promenade deck were enclosed and the interiors were significantly altered in the 1980s. Both reversible at some expense. (Original detailed plans exist, held at vessel, at Heritage Office and other repositories.)
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Record converted from HIS events
Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):

(a) The maintenance of the vessel where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material and includes painting, provided that the final exterior colours are those used by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Co. Ltd during the period 1938-1974.
(b) The minor repair of the vessel where minor repair means the restoration or reconstruction of materials by patching, piercing-in, splicing and consolidating existing materials and including replacement of components where these have been damaged beyond reasonable repair or are missing and including exchange of identical components between parts of the vessel. The replacement should be of the same materials, form and design as the original it replaces and the number of components replaced should be substantially less than the total existing. Parts removed in replacement should be conserved, stored and properly registered in a register to be kept with the ship's logs. Replacement parts should be stamped, etched or embossed for further recognition with an identifying logo and date. A log (to be kept with the ship's logs) should be kept containing a full written and diagrammatic record of all repair work including painting. This record should explain why the work is necessary, evidence of the decision and method of repair and the dates of commencement and completion of the work.
* Conservation works in accordance with a Conservation Plan approved by the Heritage Council.
* The movement and operation of the vessel within the State waters of New South Wales and, for any period not exceeding three (3) months, within the State waters of any other Australian State and the Australian territorial waters.
* Display of any notice or advertisement on the vessel.
Aug 14 1992
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0075502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0075514 Aug 92 995835
National Trust of Australia register   31 May 76   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenA. Prescott, R. Willson and P. Plowman1990'South Steyne' in Australian Sea Heritage
TourismAttraction Homepage2007South Steyne (S.S.) View detail
WrittenBranch Managers Report to the Heritage Council by A. Prescott1992Former Manly Ferry South Steyne Proposed Permanent Conservation Order

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045049
File number: S90/04023


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