SS South Steyne
|Name:||SS South Steyne|
|Owner:||Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company|
|Route:||Circular Quay – Manly, Sydney|
|Builder:||Harland and Wolff, Belfast|
|Launched:||1 April 1938|
|In service:||24 October 1938|
|Out of service:||1974|
|Identification:||IMO number: 5335151
|Type:||double-ended, double-screw steamship ferry|
|Tonnage:||1,203 GT (gross tonnage)|
|Length:||70 m (230 ft)|
|Beam:||11 m (36 ft)|
|Installed power:||3,250 IHP triple expansion steam engine|
SS South Steyne was built by Henry Robb in Leith, Scotland for the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company. Launched on 1 April 1938, she set off on 7 July, to steam the 22,000 kilometres to Australia, where she arrived on 19 September.
She was withdrawn from service as a commuter ferry in 1974 when the government took up the option to purchase for only Baragoola and North Head. On 25 August 1974, 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.
Restoration work began in 1987 at Rileys Hill Dry Dock near Ballina and later in Melbourne. She became a floating restaurant, first in Melbourne and then in Newcastle. After five years, she returned to Sydney as the 2000 Olympic Information Centre at Darling Harbour. She is once again a floating restaurant, next to Pyrmont Bridge, offering panoramic waterfront views of the Sydney skyline.
SS South Steyne at its Harbourside berth in Darling Harbour
South Steyne is a double-ended, double-screw steamship constructed to ocean-going standards. The hull is riveted steel, with a bar keel, 8 watertight bulkheads and a double bottom under the engine only. At 70 metres long she was the world's largest operational steam ferry. The steel superstructure rises to sun deck level, with teak decks and wheelhouses. One of her two funnels is a dummy, containing a water tank.
South Steyne was the largest ferry to operate on Sydney Harbour. As a Manly ferry from 1938, she crossed between Circular Quay and Manly over 100,000 times over her 36 years, carrying well in excess of 92 million passengers. On Sundays, from 1953 until 1973, she gave short ocean cruises to Broken Bay.