This is a model of one of the famous 1928 Manly steam ferries of Sydney, the 'Dee Why'. The model was built between 1937 and 1938 by the most well-known maritime historian of his day, Geoffrey C. Ingleton, for the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet into Sydney Harbour. With her identical sistership the 'Curl Curl', the full-size vessels were the mainstay of the Circular Quay to Manly ferry service on Sydney Harbour from 1928 to the 1950s. In that time they carried literally millions of passengers. The vessels were built in Scotland to be a fast service to rival the proposed railway line to the Northern peninsula, which never eventuated.
The full-size 'Dee Why' and sister ship 'Curl Curl' were of 799 tons both built 1927-8 by Napier and Miller Ltd., Old Kirkpatrick, Glasgow, for the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Co. in Sydney. Both were built as fast, 17- knot (extreme speed 20 knot) ferries and had two unique off-centre stacked funnels, four-cylinder triple-expansion fully reversible marine steam engines, propellers at both ends, and glassed-in top decks. With a crew allowance of 13, they could carry to up to 1587 passengers, reduced to 1199 in rough weather.
The 'Dee Why' has an eventful passage on her delivery to Australia, via Algiers, Aden, and Columbo, taking 5 months and 10 days to complete the voyage. Although identical, 'Dee Why' was finished with a white stripe which came to a point at each end, while on 'Curl Curl' the point went the other way to form a 'swallow tail.
'Dee Why' was withdrawn from service in 1968 and was scuttled 3 and a half km north of Long Reef on Sydney's northern beaches on 25 May 1976. She settled on coarse sand about 41 metres down and had been stripped to the hull beforehand so as not to be a navigation hazard and to not attract divers hunting for souvenirs. 'Curl Curl' had gone off Collaroy Beach in 1968.
The maker of the model was Lieut-Cmdr Geoffrey C. Ingleton, generally recognised to be Australia's foremost maritime historian. During his career with the Hydrographic Office, he published his book "Charting a Continent", the authoritative reference for hydrographic surveying in Australia, planning the Australian chart series and compiling the Australian chart catalogue, and preparing the cartouche for the chart published to commemorate the Cook Bicentennial.
The ferry model was commissioned, together with models of the HMS Supply and Sirius (also in the Museum's collection), by the Australian Sesqui-Centenary Committee to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Port Jackson in 1788. The models were for display in a procession in Sydney entitled 'Australia's March to Nationhood' in 1938. In 1939 the ferry model was presented to the Museum.
Margaret Simpson, Curator