Ferry to Tasmania: A Short History
The island state of Tasmania has been dependant on ferry services to the mainland almost from the time of first settlement. Over the past two centuries the size and number of the vessels employed on this vital trade has steadily increased. This book provides the first detailed account of the development of these services, from the very early days of paddle steamers right up to the introduction of Spirit of Tasmania III in January 2004. The story is told primarily through the ships, but there are also numerous personal reminiscences and experiences recounted, that bring the tale to life. Many of the ships became famous during their time operating to Tasmania, and are fondly remembered today. Among these names are such as Loongana, Nairana, Taroona, Prince of Tasmania and Empress of Australia, while the more recent vessels include Abel Tasman, Spirit of Tasmania and the Devil Cats, with their bright colours.
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Just a comment on the facts for the Australian National Line Passenger Ferry "Australian Trader". I was an Ordinary Seaman aboard the vessel when we hit the storm with a gale force reading of GF11. The highest rating being GF12. We were traveling to Hobart as the article says but it was in 1972. I was onboard during that storm that damaged the Gunnel/ Railing on the bow, took water and the shift of cargo in the vehicle deck. The ship took on a 20 degree list after trailers with sea containers broke loose of their lashings. The lashings were made of wire strops/slings tightened with bottle screws. We were ordered to tighten the lashings on those trailers earlier the morning we hit the storm, but with the huge sea swell the vehicles had snapped their restraints. We did shelter behind Deal Island and we went into Davenport, Tasmania, to take off passengers. The passengers were predominantly High School Kids and staff from Boort High School Victoria.
Another incident not reported was when we were ordered to move the passengers, mainly students, from the Portside passenger observation passageway. A moment after removing them, the forward timber storm door that gave access to the foredeck, was blown off its hinges with a direct hit from a wave and sent the door almost the full length of the passenger observation deck. That would have been tragic.
I was employed from April,1972- January,1973, where the paragraph with the vessels history states this incident as1974. Probably won't cause a great amount of humbug, or cause for concern, I just had to check my Seaman's Discharge to verify the date for my own interest.
Two Tasmanian Shipping Companies
Princess of Tasmania
Empress of Australia
Spirit of Tasmania
The Devil Cats