South Steyne

Jan Hendrik
31st October 2005, 10:03
Built 1937 and launched April 1938 at Henry Robb Ltd, Leith, Scotland.
The engine came from Harland and Wolf.
The vessel was named after the Promenade behind Manly Beach.
She served as a ferry for 36 years on the Manly run but was removed from service in 1974 and several Owners were involved until 1999 and is since then been converted into a floating restaurant in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

The first photo was taken in 1999 just prior to the Olympic Games and you can see the funnels bearing the logo of those Games.
Second and third photo taken in July 2005. The ship was repositioned and is now berthed next to the Sydney Maritime Museum.

GRT 1,203 LOA: 67 metres, beam: 11 metres.
Engine: double ended, double screw steamship , 3,250 IHP triple expansian engine built by H and W Belfast.
One of the funnels is a dummy one as it contained a watertank……..

The full story incl. all technical details:

sydney heads
12th October 2007, 14:20
Ah yes, an Australian shipping icon. She brought the new NSW Governor of the day, to Sydney on her maiden voyage. Back in the sixties, during the summer months, she used to do a Sunday return day trip 20 miles north to Broken Bay, which I enjoyed half a dozen times. I am currently researching photos with the intention of modelling her.

13th October 2007, 22:35
A couple of snippets from The Times on the South Steyne:

TheTimes_02Apr1938_Launch_of_South_Steyne.png (
TheTimes_27Jun1938_Fastest_Ferry_In_The_Empire_Sou th_Steyne.png (


Jan Hendrik
14th October 2007, 11:11
Nice to see a reaction to my initial posting of exactly 2 years ago....
And Martin, thanks for those paper clippings of nearly 70 years ago.

16th October 2007, 13:51
I can't believe a steam ship of this size is being preserved with an operational steam engine and so well looked after!

If you want to check how ships are preserved in France when used for a restaurant, just check out the Nomadic. Everything inside the hull was stripped out beyond recognition. A real vandals' masterpiece. The most frequent alternative is the demolition though.

the link showed an excellent document that summarized concisely what is the true meaning of ship preservation. An impressive work carried down under. Congratulations and thank you for the efforts!

sydney heads
18th October 2007, 01:39
I agree vchiu. They have done a remarkable restoration. I was invited onboard while photographing her this week, and was stunned at how beautiful she looks. Note the open roofed engine room. Passengers within the lower deck could lean on the fence and watch the engine working. Although there was always the smell of hot grease, the rhythm of the engine's beat was almost melodic.

Mervyn Pritchard
5th September 2008, 18:20
This is an encouraging story for all those labouring to have SS Nomadic properly restored.

- Mervyn.

7th September 2008, 14:52
One of the reasons the South Steyne is so well preserved is that during the 1980s she was bought by a Melbourne syndicate, and with Victorian State government funding assistance was fitted out in all its glory as the State reception centre for the Queen. I suspect that without this "royal" injection of funds she would be in a poorer condition today. Anyway, as it happens, the syndicate in Melbourne later ran into some sort of financial difficulty, so she then returned to NSW waters - Newcastle from memory -later returning to Sydney. Some other SN member might have a better memory than me and be able to provide more detail. The irony though is that it was probably Victorian money that kept the South Steyne going so she could be preserved in Sydney. Cheers, JeffM

sydney heads
17th September 2008, 12:31
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think she also spent some time at Ballina on the NSW north coast, during that period in "no mans land".
Cheers John

3rd October 2008, 18:58
During the olympics in 2000, They kept steam up the whole time so she could sound her collection of whistles whenever Oz won a medal. That would be me with the torch. spc

4th October 2008, 15:00
Nice engine room shots.

Sister Eleff
4th October 2008, 21:01
During the olympics in 2000, They kept steam up the whole time so she could sound her collection of whistles whenever Oz won a medal.

I hadn't heard that before, what a nice touch.