Murarrie Yard Sale: Brisbane’s Old Wooden-Hull Ferries For Sale

Photo credit: Manheim Australia - Trucks & Machinery/Facebook

The last of Brisbane’s wooden-hull ferries, which had been berthed at Murarrie for years whilst awaiting permanent decommissioning, are now up for sale.

Read: $200-M Rivergate Superyacht Facility, Marina, And Shipyard Expansion In Murarrie Approved

In 2020, eight wooden ferries were pulled from river duty due to safety concerns, after issues were raised regarding their deteriorating condition.  Expressions of Interest have been accepted from interested parties for the these vessels which can be viewed at The Yard in Hemmant.

Auction house Manheim is taking charge of the sale of the eight Monohull ferries in behalf of Brisbane City Council.

The removal of the wooden monohull ferries from service was announced by Council in 2020, after inspection revealed a few concerns such as rotten wood. 

“The risk assessment reports found the structural integrity of all wooden-hulled vessels was compromised, with some having extensive deterioration and no longer considered safe,” Cr Adrian Schrinner said.

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Brisbane's ferries: CityHopper
CityHopper ferry Otter, launched in 1989 (Photo credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Kgbo/Wikimedia Commons)

No More Wooden Hulls

Although the original pledge by Council covered the restoration of the wooden-hull ferries, Brisbane $350-million flood damage bill has changed the course of things significantly.

The ongoing sale of the eight decommissioned wooden ferries means there will be no more ferries of that type for river use.

Only one ferry from the original cross-river fleet has been restored. This is the single steel-hulled ferry Kalparrin. Kalparrin is already back on river service, after clearing its safety inspection. It is currently plying the Bulimba-Teneriffe cross-river route.

Brisbane’s Ferries

Brisbane’s CityHoppers were introduced back in 1987, with the first unit built by renowned shipbuilding company Norman R Wright & Sons. These are powered by 134 kW (180 hp) Scania engines, have a maximum speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), and are operated by a crew of one. 

Some of the CityFerries, which were launched in the ‘80s, were built by Norman Park Boat Builders and had a capacity of 47 passengers. 

Brisbane's ferries
A CityFerry ferry boat at Eagle Street Pier (Photo credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Nick-D/Wikimedia Commons)

When Transdev ceased operations in November 2020, the next contract was awarded to RiverCity Ferries, who replaced the wooden vessels with five KittyCat units leased from Sydney.  

Three monohull ferries are set to re-enter service and will rejoin the five new KittyCats in the ferry fleet following restoration. This comes after Council pledged $4 million to restore the ferries and return them to the river.

“These ferries are part of modern Brisbane’s history and we want to see them continue to play a role in our city’s future,” Cr Schrinner said in an announcement.