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MV Baragoola.jpg
Baragoola at Balls Head
Name: Baragoola
Owner: 1922—1972: The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company Limited
1972-1974 Brambles Industries Limited
1974-1980 New South Wales Public Transport Commission
1980-1983 New South Wales Urban Transit Authority
1983-1987 Bob Hyde
1987-2008 David Ashton
2008-2010 Adrian Thompson
2010 onwards Baragoola Preservation Association Incorporated
Operator: 1922—1972: The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company Limited
1972-1974: Brambles Industries Limited
1974-1980: New South Wales Public Transport Commission
1980-1983: New South Wales Urban Transit Authority
Port of registry: 1922-1983: Sydney,  Australia
Route: 1922—1983: Circular Quay-Manly
Ordered: 1920
Builder: Mort's Dockyard and Engineering Company Limited, Balmain, New South Wales
Cost: Seventy two thousand pounds
Yard number: 41
Launched: 14 February 1922
Christened: 14 February 1922
Maiden voyage: 3 September 1922
In service: 1922
Out of service: 1983
Identification: O/N 150182
Fate: Retired
Status: Under preservation
General characteristics
Class & type: Binngarra class ferry
Tonnage: 498 GT
Displacement: 798 t DWT
Length: 60.92 m (199 ft 10 in)
Beam: 10.30 m (34 ft)
Draught: 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Decks: 2
Installed power: 4 × English Electric 7SKM diesels 600 bhp (450 kW) @ 600RPM
Speed: 16 kn (29.63 km/h) maximum speed
Capacity: 1523 passengers
Crew: 11 (as SS), 7 (as MV)

MV Baragoola is an under restoration Manly ferry owned by the Baragoola Preservation Association Incorporated and statically moored at Balls Head, Waverton. She was built in 1922 by Mort's Dockyard and Engineering Company Limited Balmain in New South Wales for The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company Limited as SS Baragoola.

Concept and construction[edit]

Baragoola was the sixth ship of the Binngarra class; she followed SS Binngarra, SS Burra Bra, SS Bellubera, SS Balgowlah and SS Barrenjoey (later MV North Head). All were built by Mort's Dockyard and Engineering Company Limited Balmain in New South Wales for The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company. The first five were constructed at Woolwich, New South Wales, Baragoola was built at Balmain.[1]

Internal layout[edit]

Typical of all Manly ferries constructed until 1938, Baragoola's public spaces are laid out to a specific format. On the lower deck, aft, there is a segregated Ladies Salon with toilets, a Main Cabin and forward is the Smoking Saloon (usually reserved for men) with toilets. This area also contains the original Mail Room and was the site of the Crew's Mess. The upper deck is completely open. The internal hull arrangement has two void spaces at either end, a hold immediately aft of the forward void, the engine room behind the hold connected to the control room and (second from the aft) a compartment that contains batteries, auxiliary diesel tank, fresh water tank and the Engineer's Quarters.

Service history[edit]

Baragoola entered service for the first time on 3 September 1922 [2] for the Manly company and operated on their Circular Quay to Manly route as well as regularly advertised cruises on Sydney Harbour.

Like her sisters, Bellubera and North Head, she was modified in the early 1930s with a closed upper deck, thus improving passenger amenities. She was also subject to an experiment at the same time where she was modified to run on pulverised coal; this was stopped when it was discovered that the vessel and passengers were being showered in coal dust. She was then the first of the fleet to be modified to burn bunker oil and coal tar; between 8 March and 3 August 1939 Baragoola was altered to an oil burner using tar under natural draught, like the three Scottish steamers. Propellers of improved design were also fitted at this time.[3] Other modifications included in 1948 the removal of her chain operated steering gear that were replaced with Brown Brothers (later known as Vickers) hydraulic equipment.

Withdrawn from service in 1958, she re-emerged in early 1961 after being stripped of her steam engines and equipped with four English Electric 7SKM diesel electric engines.

In 1974, she was one of two Manly ferries sold to the New South Wales government[4] and remained in service until 1983.

Her last day of service on the Manly run was on 8 January 1983. At the end of this day she was given a well attended official final trip, for which Baragoola was specially turned on departure from Manly Wharf, so she ran bow first to Circular Quay. (Normally Manly ferries operate with their bows (end with anchors) facing in the direction of Manly.) Her withdrawal from service was well publicised and she featured on the ABCTV Sydney news that evening.

Baragoola (aboriginal for Flood Tide) was regarded as the most popular Manly ferry, this was shown by the large number of people who turned out for her farewell trip in 1983 when she was so loaded that passengers were on the top wheelhouse deck. Apart from Barrenjoey/North Head and Bellubera, no other Manly ferry had a longer career, outlasting the Scottish steamers Curl Curl, Dee Why and South Steyne.[5]

Motive power[edit]

As a steamer, Baragoola was powered by a three cylinder triple expansion steam engine with characteristics of 18", 28", 47.5" and 27" cylinders developing 1,300 ihp (970 kW). She had two marine horizontal multitubular (navy type) boilers. She was fitted with electro hydraulic steering equipment after World War 2 which replaced her earlier chain steering.[6]

After conversion to diesel her motive power was four English Electric 7SKM diesels generating 600 bhp (450 kW) at 600RPM.[5] These engines are the only remaining operational ones of their type, having only ever been installed in three Manly ferries.

Collisions in service[edit]

Baragoola had was involved with a number of collisions while in service. The first occurred on Christmas Eve 1926 off Kirribilli Point when she collided with the Kosciusko—an inner harbour ferry later to go to Hobart after the collapse of the Derwent River bridge. The Kosciusko's master was held at fault and reprimanded by the Marine Court.[7]

On 12 September 1927 Baragoola ran down a lifeboat from the French steamer Ville D'Amiens, five people were thrown out of the lifeboat, one of whom was later hospitalised.[8] The people were rescued by two fishing trawlers in the vicinity and the lifeboat was severely damaged. On 28 August 1934 Baragoola struck and killed a whale. The event garnered media interest when the disposal of the corpse took nine days and multiple attempts.[9]


Following her withdrawal, she was sold to Bob Hyde for use as a floating university, an enterprise that never took off and following which she was laid up at Rozelle Bay until 1988 when she was again sold, this time to David Ashton of Waterview Wharf.[10] In late 2003 she was ejected from Waterview Wharf and relocated to the Coal Loader at Waverton.

In 2009, following a period of animosity from NSW Maritime, Mr Ashton offered the vessel for sale by auction and she passed into ownership of Adrian Thompson, who considered scrapping the vessel.[11]


In March 2010, Baragoola was sold to the Baragoola Preservation Association Incorporated, a not for profit organisation who have undertaken the task of restoring the Manly veteran. Restoration to an operating condition is proceeding as of 2011.[12]

The restoration has not been without incident when a training activity by the Australian Army, utilising Black Hawk helicopters caused damage to the vessel's upper works on 1 December 2010. The Army was conducting a training exercise involving the ex Commonwealth Lighthouse tender Cape Don moored next to Baragoola.[13]

Baragoola is moored at the old Coal Loader facility at Balls Head Bay in Waverton.

Historical significance[edit]

Baragoola provides rare evidence of the large ferry system which stimulated the growth of suburban Sydney, the development of its recreational patterns and the formation of its popular urban culture. It is a surviving example of a characteristic twentieth century Manly steamer demonstrating the evolution of technology for fast double-ended navigation in deep-sea conditions. Her fabric demonstrates the changing nature of service over the period, 1922-1983 and the machinery technology is unique in the Australian shipping industry. Baragoola is an extremely rare surviving example of ship construction by Mort's Dock & Engineering Co. Ltd.[5]

The vessel is listed on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels (HV000409).Baragoola's ARHV entry



  1. ^ "Balgowlah, Barrenjoey and Baragoola (co-authored with Ross Willson). The Log, vol. 12, no. 3 (new series) (August 1979), pp. 78-85". Historyworks. August 1979. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  2. ^ "Ferries of Sydney". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  3. ^ "Balgowlah, Barrenjoey and Baragoola (co-authored with Ross Willson). The Log, vol. 12, no. 3 (new series) (August 1979), pp. 78-85". Historyworks. August 1979. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  4. ^ "Hansard 13 November 1974". New South Wales state government. 1974-11-13. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  5. ^ a b c "Baragoola Article". Lance Lyon. 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  6. ^ "The Manly Ferry". A.M. Prescott. Retrieved 2011-06-25. 
  7. ^ "Marine Court". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 February 1927. p. 6. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  8. ^ "Ferry Boat and Skiff Collide in Sydney Harbour". Sydney Morning Herald. 13 September 1927. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  9. ^ "Collision with whale adventure in Sydney Harbour". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 August 1934. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  10. ^ Mead, Tom (1988). Manly Ferries of Sydney Harbour. Sydney Child & Associates. ISBN 978-0-86777-091-9. 
  11. ^ "Baragoola - Triumph & Tragedy". David Ashton. 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  12. ^ "Baragoola Restoration Steams Ahead". Manly Daily. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  13. ^ "Black Hawk down draught - veteran ferry cops a blast". The Daily Advertiser. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 

External links[edit]