New life in the sun for a lady of the harbour

Published

One of Sydney’s oldest ferries will be given a new lease of life by the largest Aboriginal Maritime charity in Australia thanks to a $300,000 NSW Government grant.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the popular Lady Northcott will continue to grace Sydney Harbour in the years to come.

“This is really exciting news because we will see the beloved Lady Northcott back out on the Harbour, taking passengers on trips to promote Aboriginal history and cultural experiences,” Mr Constance said.

“Tribal Warrior is the nation’s largest Aboriginal Maritime charity, and they have a fantastic track record of mentoring and supporting many young Aboriginal people who have gone on to secure permanent positions in the maritime industry.

“Lady Northcott will not only be great for tourists and locals, but she will provide Aboriginal youth with specialised training programs while out on the water.

“So this is a fantastic outcome because it will generate career opportunities and maritime experience for so many young Aboriginal people, and it will also ensure a much-loved vessel will remain on Sydney Harbour for years to come.”

Tribal Warrior CEO Shane Phillips said Tribal Warrior and the community were extremely grateful for the opportunity to repurpose such an amazing old vessel.

“We are really excited about this initiative which will allow us to engage in Sydney Harbour tourism and explore other possible transport opportunities, while also helping to strengthen the maritime workforce at the same time,” Mr Phillips said.

The Lady Northcott and sister Lady Herron were retired after 40 years of service on Sydney Harbour in late 2017, with the arrival of the new Emerald Class fleet.

“Like anywhere else in the world, modernising and upgrading fleet is critical in keeping pace with demand but you do have to balance that with the strong attachment many people have for some of our older ferries,” Mr Constance said.

“This is why Transport for NSW ran an exhaustive campaign, which included speaking with heritage groups, exploring options to keep both vessels on the water in some capacity.

“Sadly, the feedback we have received so far is that the Lady Herron no longer meets contemporary standards to make a commercial operation viable,” Mr Constance said.

“We’d love to see her repurposed but if there are no interested parties stepping forward in the next few months, a planned disposal of the vessel would be the only option left available.

“While this would be unfortunate, the fact we have been able to secure the future of one of these magnificent vessels given their age and significant costs to maintain each year, is a great outcome for ferry lovers, the maritime industry and the wider community.”

Any organisation interested in repurposing the Lady Herron should contact ferries@transport.nsw.gov.au for further information.