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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
Please Note: All ssmaritime and my other related ssmaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues to write article on classic liners and cruise ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure!
MV Baragoola Page One
It may be unusual for ssMaritime to have a campaign to save an almost 93-year old ocean going Sydney to Manly ferry, the magnificent and historic MV Baragoola. However, having lived in Glebe for some time, being in central Sydney, I have spent a great deal of time on Sydney ferries in the “old days” on the fine old ferries MV South Steyne, which is now a superb restaurant in Sydney’s tourist district as well as the MV Baragoola. This fine vessel has been laid up for a very long time and the authorities certainly have not been of much assistance in earlier days in giving her a suitable/good and an accessible berth for the purpose she was purchased for! But you will learn more about that later down this page.
I sincerely trust that all Australian’s will respect and love our rich maritime history and will assist that the MV Baragoola is kept safe for our future generations. At the bottom of this page I have her owners history, but she has had a chequered past! I have placed a few ideas of what we can and should do with her, but right now, we need men and women with a vision to come forward with ideas and funds to restore this remarkable and historic vessel for our pleasure and that of our future generations!
Please note: I am grateful to a number sites including the
original “SavetheBaragoola.com” (no longer active), thus much of
the information that I reveal on this page has been gleaned from this wonderful
source. However, I have rewritten and added additional information myself and
that I have obtained elsewhere. Credits are shown where required.
However, I suggest that if you are interested in assisting this vital piece of
The SS Baragoola was the last of a series of six ferries that were designed by the
Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Co. Ltd., and she was built in
The Baragoola was launched on February14, 1922 by a Mrs Hunter McPherson and apparently Baragoola was the eighth Manly ferry built over a period of 35 years and the 41st vessel built by Mort’s Dock and Engineering Co. Ltd. She commenced her deep-sea trails on August 11, 1922.
The Baragoola seen just prior to her launching
Image from original Baragoola webpage
SS Baragoola being launched on February14, 1922
Please Note the “G” in BARAGOOLA tends to look like a “C” - also see the image below
Note: the “G” of BARAGOOLA looks more like a “C”. Although if you look very closely
you can see that it is meant to be a G at the bottom of what only appears to looks like C from a distance!
As soon as she had completed her fitting out and speed trials, at which she achieved a good 15 knots, she was delivered to her owners on August 31, 1922 and she commenced services.
Baragoola's original engines were three cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, supplied and built by Mort's. They deliver 1,300 horsepower and drove her at a maximum speed of 15 knots. The steam to drive her was supplied by two boilers. As built, she was (like her sisters), a coal burner. In the 1930's an attempt was made to trial her on burning “pulverised coal.” This had the unwanted effect of covering the ferry and her passengers in coal dust and was soon abandoned. For a short time in 1939 she was converted to burn tar but was reverted back to coal as tar became too expensive during World War 2.
Historic photo - Circa 1930
From the Author’s collection
In December of 1958 she was returned to Mort’s to be fitted with new engines that were originally destined for one of the older ferries. Just over two years later Baragoola returned to service being powered by four brand new English Electric seven cylinder diesel electric generators driving efficient electric motors at her bow and stern. At her trials she operated at a good 17.8 knots and would have a service speed of 16 knots.
As built Baragoola looked identical to her elder sisters having a closed in lower deck and completely open promenade deck. However, the Baragoola became the very first of the Manly ferry fleet to have her promenade deck enclosed in 1930/31. This refit also extended the crew accommodations behind the two wheelhouses.
She is being completed from her refit in 1931
Photo G.E. Crane
Later other changes would be made during a refit and although they were minor, the most notable would be the shortening of her original slim tall funnel to a shorter and thicker funnel following receiving her diesel-electric engines in 1961.
Passenger seating on Promenade Deck forward
Photographer unknown - *Please see photo notes at bottom of page
A fine Postcard of the MV Baragoola after her major refits
From the Author’s collection
Today MV Baragoola retains that same look, just as she has had for some 80 years. Baragoola was also the first Manly ferry to lose the distinctive bottle green colour scheme that had branded the fleet for nearly a century when, in 1974, she was painted in the blue and white of the PTC. The new colour scheme did not exactly improve her looks, being described by one observer as having the look of an Italian fishing fleet.
A postcard with a photo of her taken during her blue and white years
From the Author’s collection
Her lower passenger deck seen in her latter years
Sent in by Jonathan
*See photo notes at bottom of page
Baragoola’s No: 150182.
Built by: Mort’s Dock and Engineering Co. Ltd in Woolwich, NSW. Australia.
Launched: February 14, 1922.
Tonnage: 498 gross tons, 339 net tons.
Dimensions: Length 199.5ft - 60.45m.
Breadth: 34.Ift - 10.4m.
Draught: 12.2ft - 3.71m.
Engines original: Mort’s triple-expansion Steam. 1960 - Diesel electric.
Screws: Single - fore & aft.
Speed: Steamer: 14 Knots service/15 during trials –
Electric Motors: 16 knots service speed
Superstructure: Wood and steel.
Passenger capacity: 1512 passengers
A Black and white study of this popular ship
Postcard from the Author’s collection
Baragoola’s Promenade Deck
Sydney Ferries publicity photo
Baragoola has mostly an uneventful life during her service on the
On December 24, 1926 she collided with the SS
Kosciusko just off Kirribilli Point. The
Baragoola sustained little damage; however the Kosciusko suffered extensive damage. Later, during the enquiry,
The French Messageries Maritimes passenger cargo liner, SS Ville d’ Amiens
From the Author’s collection
I have been
told that the Baragoola holds the dubious
“record” of hitting the strangest object in the harbour when on
August 28, 1934 when she hit a whale. The ferry sliced into the whale &
almost came to a halt due to the impact, no damage to the Baragoola, but the same could sadly
not be said of that poor whale. After the collision near the Heads, the whale
swam off towards Flagstaff Point, trailing a wake of blood in its path. After
being spotted following an erratic path, observers lost sight of the whale
until three days later, when the carcass surfaced near Old Mans Hat. It was
towed out to sea, but by evening had drifted to within a kilometre of
In addition to the above, Baragoola on two occasions managed to overshoot her berth at Circular Quay during her career. Both times saw her collide with the footpath but fortunately, little to no damage was done, but this has proved to be a perennial pastime for ferries. In days past the ferry was simply backed (or pulled) out and went about its business, whilst these days if this occurs, a full accident and safety investigation is held!
In 1973 the Sydney Opera House was opened and a week later the Baragoola was nearly lost. She had just come from being refitted and she began taking on water faster than it could be pumped out. She limped into Circular Quay and quickly unloaded her passengers and she was rushed off to the Balmain ferry workshops. Only the attentions of the local fire brigade prevented her from sinking. As it turned out, one of the Baragoola's two pumps were not working and the bilge pump could not cope with the amount of water that she was taking on after springing a leak. The pumps were repaired and the split hull plates were patched up. Like most aging ferries, the Baragoola had over a dozen patches by the time she was taken out of service; however in contrast her sister the North Head had none.
The MV Baragoola is seen passing Sydney Heads on a really bad stormy sea day!
seen here returning on her last voyage to
An old Press photo
On June 23, 1972 all ferry services to Manly
were suspended due to extreme rough weather. Wind gusts of up to 100 km/h were
recorded and wave heights measured 12 metres inside the Heads, which these
ferries have to pass to and from Manly.
Ferries returning on their last voyages during this extreme weather suffered
extensive damage, with the Baragoola having seats torn out, whilst 10
metres of the
During her career there were even three people who attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the Baragoola, sadly one succeeded, the other two were rescued.
She is seen here passing the Sydney Opera House towards the end of her Blue days
Postcard from the author’s collection
MV Baragoola operated her final service from Circular Quay to Manly on January 8, 1983. Being such as popular vessel there was a huge number of passengers on this her final voyage. There were so many, that there were even people standing on the roof of the promenade deck. For this being her last official voyage, a pennant bearing the name “Baragoola” streamed from her front mast and she carried on her rear mast the house flag of the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company. No other Manly ferry has ever received a send-off as grand as she did. As was traditional with the Port Jackson Company vessels, she operated bow first to Manly.
Prior to her retirement in 1983 plans were
already afoot to preserve the Baragoola. As early as 1980 there was a group of
Manly businessmen who had shown interest to acquire her and use her as a
floating museum moored at Manly. However, as usual the Manly Chamber of
Commerce opposed the plan believing that she would be an eyesore, the very
vessel that served the Many community so faithfully for some 61 years and a
beautiful vessel, especially once she had been refitted and restored. Just look
at the superb South Steyne at
In March 1983 an offer of $100,000 was made for the ferry by a Fairlight man who wanted to turn her into a floating restaurant. This time Manly Council blocked the attempt as they did not want something as large as the Baragoola permanently moored in Manly Cove where, they claimed, “it could obstruct the possible rebuilding of the harbour pool and be in the way of ferries and water taxi operations.”
By late 1983 she was tied up at
The photographer of these three images is unknown
*Please see photo notes at bottom of the page
The Lower Deck
Finally in 1988 she was sold to David
Ashton (Waterview Wharf Pty Ltd) and moved to
On January 17, 2003 she was moved to the Balls Head Coal Loader. Mr Ashton stated in an interview that he has abandoned his plans for her, blaming the bureaucrats and damage to the hull during the wharf’s demolition in 2003.
“People ask me every day what's happening with it,” he said. “I haven't been across there in two years. It upsets me too much. I haven't got the strength any more. I will just leave it there.” Sydney Morning Herald June 23, 2006.
Thankfully the Baragoola is heritage listed; the following quote is from the heritage report that can be found here.
“M.V. Baragoola provides rare evidence
of the large ferry system which stimulated the growth of suburban
Since May 2010 the Baragoola has been under the ownership of the “Baragoola Preservation Association” and they are actively raising funds to restore this superb vessel to her original condition.
Therefore I hereby ask to join the “Save the Baragoola Campaign.” Therefore please go to Page Two Now!
I suggest that if you are interested in assisting in saving and restoring this vital piece of maritime/ferry history that you visit www.baragoola.com.au for full information and I thank you for supporting this important work!
Two fine film clips:
Also view the following YouTube items: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZHi9xCvHdY - A five minute slide presentation of her history.
Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MvQPv4VSbI&feature=related - 3.21 minute film of Baragoola laid up in
MV Baragoola at Circular Quay and P&O’s SS Oriana at the Passenger Terminal
A postcard from the author’s collection
Please visit “Save the Baragoola” Page Two Now!
Then, visit www.baragoola.com.au for full information
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.
This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!
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