Curranulla Maiden Voyage 1939
Celebrations are planned for the Grand Old Lady of the Port Hacking the Curranulla who after more than 600,000 trips has a special birthday this month.
It is a tale of two suburbs and the Grand Old Lady who has so faithfully served them. Cronulla and Bundeena are inextricably linked, yet cut off from one another by the Port Hacking River. They are sister cities only for the tireless service of the classic wooden ferries plying the waters between them. Since 1915, the Cronulla Ferry Service has created a unique bond between Cronulla and Bundeena; one that has transcended the isolation of natural boundaries.
This May, their flagship, the 56′ MV Curranulla, celebrates her 80th year. commissioned May 12, 1939 in Balmain, she is the oldest ferry in Australia operating to a timetable. According to owner Carl Rogan, she has done an incredible equivalent of 30 trips around the equator. But make no mistake, The Grand Old Lady of the Hacking, has no interest in retirement. The people that know her best say she is perfectly suited to Port Hacking’s combination of shoal conditions and wave frequencies. Watching her crest solid swell in a howling nor’easter, only to matter-of-factly tie up at Bundeena wharf and welcome aboard her passengers; this becomes an undeniable truth.
Curranulla at Audley Wharf 1948The ferries are a vital and distinctive public transport link with Sydney’s southern metro area. Without the Cronulla Ferry Service, Bundeena would not exist as it is today. Until the 1950’s no road ran to Bundeena and the ferries were its lifeline. To this day, commuters and school kids begin their days and are welcomed home by the ferry and crew. On weekend days, over 1000 tourists will step aboard the Curranulla to cross the Hacking and experience the beauty of Royal National Park.
Although the ferry’s role has changed over the years, the commitment and importance of the time honoured ship has never waned. The citizens of Bundeena have taken the Curranulla and crew into their hearts and few lives have gone untouched by this classic vessel.
On Monday 13th May a 80th birthday party will be held on the Curranulla 4:30pm to 7:00pm services where drinks, nibbles and cake will be on offer to celebrate the occasion.