Pemulwuy arrives in Sydney Harbour

The fourth of Sydney’s fleet of six new Inner Harbour ferries is named after Aboriginal man Pemulwuy.

Born in 1760, Pemulwuy was a member of the Bidjigal clan who were the original inhabitants of Toongabbie and Parramatta areas. Living near Botany Bay, he would hunt meat and provide it to the early colonists in exchange for other goods.

However, he soon became a leader amongst his people against European settlement.

In December 1790, Pemulwuy attacked and killed Governor Phillip’s game shooter, John McIntyre. Some believe that this was payback for acts committed against the indigenous people.

It was the start of a 12-year rebellion against the Europeans. During this time the legend of Pemulwuy continued to grow as he constantly evaded capture by the military.

In January 1795, Pemulwuy boldly ventured into the Sydney settlement to take part in the Erah ba-diang initiation ceremony at Farm Cove in which boys became men, but was not detained. Two years later, he led 100 men on a raid of a government farm at Toongabbie.

Pemulwuy was shot, wounded and captured, but soon escaped which gave rise to the belief that he was immune to the British bullets.

Eventually, Pemulwuy proved mortal and died on 2 June 1802 after being shot by British sailor, Henry Hacking.

The Pemulwuy now joins the Catherine Hamlin, Fred Hollows and Victor Chang in Sydney’s ferry fleet with the remaining two vessels scheduled for delivery later this year.

Like the other new Inner Harbour ferries, the Pemulwuy has capacity for 400 passengers, state of the art real-time journey information, wireless internet connectivity, two wide walk-around decks, storage areas for bikes and luggage.

It also has improved access for less mobile customers, including 12 wheelchair spaces and an accessible toilet.

The Pemulwuy arrived in Sydney Harbour last week and has completed its local sea trials.

The vessel will be back out on the water over the coming weeks as it completes its commissioning and crew training.