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Historic boat returns home to Cockatoo Island / Wareamah

The return of an early 20th Century ferry to Cockatoo Island / Wareamah not only brings its story full circle but also provides the Harbour Trust with a timely opportunity to preserve Australia’s maritime heritage.

On Wednesday 24 April, the Harbour Trust took ownership of the Fitzroy ferry and relocated it Cockatoo Island from Pittwater, where it had been in private use for decades. Measuring 30 feet by 9 feet 8 inches (9.14 metres by 3 metres), the wooden vessel once played a vital role in the island’s maritime operations.

Designed by prominent naval architect David Carment and constructed by Cockatoo Island Dockyard apprentices using spotted gum, it was used to ferry dockyard workers to and from the island during the period from 1928 to 1963.

Upon the ferry’s retirement, it passed into private ownership and was renamed Burgundy Belle and, later, Fitzroy. From this time, it resided in Pittwater on Sydney Northern Beaches and underwent modifications.

Ahead of the Fitzroy’s centenary in 2028, the Harbour Trust plans to undertake restoration work on the vessel in the hope of providing visitors with insights into a bygone era of shipbuilding craftmanship.

Stay tuned for updates from the Harbour Trust as the Fitzroy sets sail on an exciting new chapter!

Learn more about the Fitzroy here.