From the Archives, 1962: Ferry leaves its master behind, crashes

No one realised there was any hazard till seconds earlier than the Lady Ferguson hit the wall with a thud, hurling its passengers to the decks.

There had been screams of worry as lots of the passengers deserted ship by stepping off into the backyard of a block of flats in Waruda Street, Kirribilli.

The others stayed on board till they had been taken off on to the ferry Kameruka and brought on to Taronga Park wharf.

An aerial shot reveals injury precipitated to the ocean wall by the Lady Ferguson.Credit:Stuart MacGladrie

The police launch Nemesis, underneath the course of Sergeant F. G. Wellisch, arrived quickly after the crash to take off an injured child boy and his dad and mom.

A Central District ambulance met the launch on the police boatshed. It took the boy, Shane Maries, 16 months, to Sydney Hospital, the place he was handled for minor head accidents.

Five adults had been taken by Central District ambulances from Taronga Park wharf to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. All besides one, Mrs Ilona Folds, 51, of Charles Street, Erskineville, who had a spinal harm and shock, had been allowed to depart after therapy.

They had been: Mrs Sylvia Cook, 26, of Cuthill Road, Cobbitty, injured proper foot; Mrs Lesley Fabian, 20, of Mepunga Street, Concord West, injured proper ankle. Mrs Elsie Briers, 45, of Streeton Avenue, Mt. Pritchard, chest harm and shock. Mrs Rosa Tomininich, 33, of Glebe Street, Camperdown, leg harm.

Bow Embedded In Wall

Among those that noticed the accident was Mrs B. Korff, who has a flat on the fifth ground of the block of flats in Waruda Street.

The ferry embedded its bow within the sea wall instantly beneath Mrs Korft’s window. The distance between the constructing and wall is barely about three ft.

Mrs Korff mentioned she was trying from her window in direction of Circular Quay and seen the Lady Ferguson crossing the Harbour.

“It was such a beautiful day, and 1 was admiring the ferry as it came across,” she mentioned. “Naturally, I expected it to turn right as it usually does, but I soon realised it was coming too close.

“I was transfixed. I could not take my eyes off it and I knew it would hit the wall. It did, and it shook the building. It was like a mild earth tremor.

Mrs Lesley Fabian, husband Rodney Fabian and their sons Glenn and Neil at the Mater Hospital.

Mrs Lesley Fabian, husband Rodney Fabian and their sons Glenn and Neil at the Mater Hospital. Credit:BRUCE ADAMS

“Disgusted With Whole Affair”

“It took me a while to understand exactly what had happened. “There was confusion on the ferry and there seemed to be a large number of young children.

“Quite a lot of them were apparently disgusted with the whole affair, and left the ferry and walked away through the garden down below.” One the injured, Mrs Briers, was travelling along with her son Graham, 25, his spouse, Betty, 26, and their 18 month-old-son John.

“We had been planning to have a day’s outing at the zoo for weeks,” Mrs Briers mentioned. We had been up towards the entrance of the ferry, when everyone appeared to sense that one thing was unsuitable.

“Held Anything We Could Grab”

Max Cook, wife Sylvia, baby Carol and son Alan at the Mater Hospital.

Max Cook, spouse Sylvia, child Carol and son Alan on the Mater Hospital.Credit:Bruce Adams

“We all held on to anything we could grab and Graham clutched John. When the ferry hit, we were all thrown to the deck, and I think I broke a rib.”

Mr Max Cook, aged 26, and his spouse Sylvia, who was barely injured, had been additionally off for a day on the zoo with their kids Alan 4, and Carol, 10 months.

“We were outside up near the bow, when someone shouted that the ferry was going to crash into the sea wall, and we got inside as fast as we could,” Mr Cook mentioned.

“There was a terrific crashing noise, and people began to cry out and struggle to get outside. Sylvia hurt her leg in the scramble.”

The Lady Ferguson was free of the ocean wall by reversing the engine and slewing the vessel backward and forward.

Interviews By Harbour Official

Soon after the accident, the Assistant Harbour Master, Captain G. Harvey, was summoned from his house.

He interviewed Captain Kell and the 2 members of the ferry’s crew—an engineer and a deckhand. He additionally interviewed different officers and can submit a report back to the Harbour Master. Captain C. W. Livingstone.


After a preliminary inquiry by the Maritime Services Board, a Marine Board of Inquiry in all probability will probably be held.

A spokesman for Sydney Harbour Ferries Pty. Ltd. mentioned final evening he would make no touch upon the accident.

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