SS South Steyne

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Name: SS South Steyne
Owner: Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company
Route: Manly
Cost: ₤141,526[1]
Yard number: 267[2]
Launched: 1 April 1938
In service: 24 October 1938
Out of service: 1974
General characteristics
Type: double-ended, double-screw steamship ferry
Tonnage: 1,203 GT
Length: 70 m (230 ft)
Beam: 11 m (36 ft)
Installed power: 3,250 IHP triple expansion steam engine

SS South Steyne is a retired steam ferry. For 36 years, she operated on the Manly run on Sydney Harbour and is now a floating restaurant moored at Darling Harbour.


SS South Steyne was built by Henry Robb in Leith, Scotland for the Port Jackson & 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.[4]

The South Steyne was brought to Australia by Captain R M Beedie, an English Master who returned home after the voyage. Also on the voyage was Captain A. E. Rowlings, who acted as first officer who went to England to take delivery of the vessel on behalf of the owner, and Captain C Henderson, the second officer, who was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald to be a native of Manly.[5]

She was withdrawn from service as a commuter ferry in 1974 when the government took up the option to purchase for only Baragoola and North Head.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.[4]

Restoration work began in 1987 at Rileys Hill Dry Dock near Ballina and later in Melbourne.[4] 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.


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.[4] At 70 metres long she was the world's largest operational steam ferry.[6] 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.

She is powered by a 3,250 IHP triple expansion steam engine, manufactured by Harland and Wolff of Belfast.


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.[6]

Coordinates: 33°52′13.44″S 151°11′57.48″E / 33.8704000°S 151.1993000°E / -33.8704000; 151.1993000


  1. ^ Graeme Andrews (1994). Ferries of Sydney (3rd ed.). Sydney University Press. 
  2. ^ "Ship No 267". Leith Built Ships. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "South Steyne IMO: 5335151". Shipspotting. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "South Steyne". Heritage Branch, NSW Department of Planning. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "NEW FERRY FOR MANLY RUN.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 10 September 1938. p. 12. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Remember the South Steyne...". South Steyne. Retrieved 27 June 2010.