My photos this week were mostly taken around the Derwent River in Hobart. Some I took especially for this challenge while a couple of the others come from my files.
It’s been starting to feel more like spring just lately. It’s still cold in the mornings and at night and the mist sometimes doesn’t lift till mid morning but when it does the sky is blue and the sun feels warm. Daffodils are threatening to bust out all over the place and even our old moss-covered, raggedy nectarine trees have survived another year and are showing tiny buds. I’m not being lulled into a false sense of security, spring in Tasmania can be unpredictable and I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of the bad weather but it is nice to see the sun again.
When I went to Hobart last Friday it was such a beautiful morning that I was tempted to take photos out the window of the bus just to show you how lovely everything looked. I never, ever get tired of the views of the river and the countryside on the 60km ride to Hobart. I feel lucky because tourists would pay a lot of money to tour such a lovely area and I get to see it all the time.
I had some time in Hobart and stopped to take some photos of St David’s Anglican Cathedral and some other buildings in the city. Later I tried to photograph some of the scenery on the way to Oatlands on the Redline Coach but that was more difficult. I was sitting behind the driver and with the coach at highway speeds I didn’t get many pictures I was happy with so I apologise for the quality of these. I included them to try to give you the sense of how much I enjoyed the journey more than anything else. I’ll have to have another go next time I go up there on a fine afternoon. My camera is a Nikon Coolpix L120. I didn’t realise until today that it was possible to buy a polarizing filter for this camera. I didn’t realise you could get them for point and shoot digital compacts. I’ll definitely need to get one before summer (and cricket) really begins.
The Huon River seems to be becoming a home for retired ferries at present. As well as the Cartela which will be setting off for her new berth in Franklin next Sunday two other former Hobart ferries are at moorings nearby.
Below is the Jeremiah Ryan, otherwise known as Incat Hull -001. The Jeremiah Ryan was the first catamaran ferry built by Robert Clifford, the forerunner of the many that he has built at Incat since then. She was built after the collapse of the Tasman Bridge in 1975 left Hobart with a transport crisis.
Most recently she was used for tourist trips on the Derwent but after the collapse of Captain Fell’s Historic Ferries she went out of service and is currently for sale. For some years prior to 2007 when Captain Fell bought her she was used on the Maria Island ferry run. By the looks of her she will need some work. I think it would be a nice thing to see her preserved, perhaps at Incat as the first of her kind.
I haven’t been able to find out very much about Lady Jane’s past. I know that she was formerly called the Commodore and I remember her by that name doing cruises to the Cadbury factory when we first came to Tasmania and that she is made of Ferro cement. Poor Lady Jane hasn’t been welcome anywhere for the past few months. When she first came to the Huon she berthed at the Port Huon Wharf for a while, then she disappeared and reappeared hidden behind Franklin Marine at Franklin which the local council was keen for her to depart from. Now she is moored just outside of Huonville. I see men aboard her often when we pass by and wonder what her fate will be. I hope it won’t be the scrap yard.
I hope that both of these old boats find good homes, maybe here in the Huon. There is a lot of waterfront activity at Franklin now with the Living Boat Trust, Wooden Boat School and Cartela Restoration all resident there.
One of the most well known sights on the Hobart waterfront is the historic ferry the MV Cartela. When I was working in Hobart I would see her most days at her mooring on Brooke Street Pier. Although I’d been on cruises on the Derwent on some of the smaller and more modern ferries Cartela was no longer making regular cruises by the time I first saw her. She was used for private charters such as weddings and New Year parties. In September of 2011 when I heard that there were to be cruises for the public over one weekend my sister and I made a point of going.
Sadly since then Cartela has not cruised the Derwent due to her deteriorating condition but there are plans to restore her to operating condition over the next four years. But before I tell you about that here is a bit of background information. The following two excerpt are from the Cartela website, http://www.cartelasteamship.com.au.
Cartela was built for Huon, Channel & Peninsula Steamship Co. Ltd. by well-known Battery Point shipbuilders Purdon & Featherstone in 1912. She was designed to service all the communities along the estuary of the River Derwent, D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Tasman Peninsula at a time when the best, and sometimes only access, was by sea. A vessel like Cartela was often a remote community’s main point of contact with the rest of the world and the river steamer’s whistle was a signal for locals to meet the vessel at the wharf. [GW Cox, p. 1]
There are still older people in the Huon Valley who can remember seeing the Cartela tied up at Port Huon Wharf.
River ferries like Cartela were integral to the economies of isolated rural communities along the south-east Tasmanian coast, carrying passengers and general freight, and fruit, timber and butter and eggs for sale at the Hobart markets. Cartela was also used to break the 1919 maritime strike, transporting 4000 apple cases from Port Huon to Port Melbourne and returning with a load of general merchandise. [G W Cox, p. 58] Her role as a cargo vessel only ended in the 1950s when trucks began to take over from the ketches and river ferries.
During World War One the Cartela was requisitioned by the navy as an Examination Vessel (EV) to help protect the port of Hobart. She was commanded by three naval reserve lieutenants with a crew of mixed civilians and naval cadets. At the end of this post I’ve included an article from our local newspaper, “The Huon Valley News” which tell more about Cartela’s war service. According to the article the job of the EV’s was to steam out to any approaching vessel and enquire if it was a “Friend or Foe?” I can’t imagine what she was supposed to do if there had actually been an unfriendly vessel.
After she was released from her war duties in 1916 Cartela returned to her regular job of carrying freight and passengers. She participated in the popular although unofficial river ferry races on the Derwent River between 1919 and 1931 when the river steamers vied for the title of “Cock of the Derwent”.
The Cartela was bought by ferry operators Roche Brothers in 1951 and converted from steam to diesel. By this time Hobart’s eastern and western shores had been connected by a bridge and with better road access and higher car ownership there was not as much work for her or her sister ships. Cartela became more of a tourist vessel.
In 1975 the Tasman Bridge collapsed after one of its pylons was hit by freighter the Lake Illawarra. Twelve people died in the tragedy and the Hobart metropolitan area was effectively cut in half. Cartela was one of many ferries called in to transport passengers across the Derwent while the bridge was being repaired. It was not until 1977 that she was released from those duties and became a tourist vessel once again.
In 2009 the Roche brothers donated the Cartela to a not for profit organisation called Steamship Cartela Ltd. It is intended that she will be fully restored and that her original steam engine will be re-installed. The whole project will cost about four million dollars and take about four years. On June 26th Cartela left her berth at Brooke Street Pier for the last time to journey to Franklin on the Huon River which will be her home during the restoration.
I spotted Cartela at Port Huon Wharf the next day, she had been unable to complete the journey to Franklin as the facilities at her new berth were not quite ready. As I write this post she is still at Port Huon but I hope to have photos of her at Franklin very soon.
I have included a lot of links to articles with more detailed information about the Cartela and the restoration project that I found while writing this post. The official website http://www.steamshipcartela.com.au has more as well as a great description of the Derwent River steamer races, engineering details and a lot of great photos. Check it out. If you are an Australian resident and want to donate the project it is tax deductible. I am not affiliated with the project in any way. I just think it will be a great thing to see this grand old lady get a new lease of life. She is the last of the Hobart river steamers.
After being de-commissioned by the US Navy HSV2 Swift returned to Hobart. She is seen below at Incat where she was built. I thought that it would be nice to show naval personnel who may have served on her where she came from.