Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The age of steam lives again


The day dawned wet and miserable, as a major 'adverse weather event' swept across the south-east corner of our country inundating farms, villages and towns and sweeping all before it. All except the 45 hardy souls who were determined to relive the grand days of steam upon the harbour, in a journey aboard the sea-going steam tug, 'Waratah'.


Built at Cockatoo Island in 1902 as the 'Burunda', her role was to tow dredges between the major ports of the NSW coast. She was given a NSW name, 'Waratah', at the end of WW1 and in 1948, due to her age and condition, was restricted to the port of Newcastle.


In 1968 the government announced that she was uneconomical and was to be scrapped. The Sydney Heritage Fleet girded its loins for a battle. They bought her for 600 pounds.


After extensive restoration, involving a multitude of volunteer hours, the 'Waratah' steamed again in 1981 and in 1993 was granted permission to carry 49 passengers.

As we steamed from Roselle Bay up to the Concord Bridge, we were the centre of attention from other vessels and those walking the grey foreshores. With the peculiar stench of cinders and oil in my nostrils, I lived again the age of steam!



A member of the My World Tuesday community.

28 comments:

jabblog said...

£600 pounds seems a remarkably small sum for such a large vessel. It's good to see that she's 'working' again and freshly painted and polished. There's something magical about steam travel.

Kay L. Davies said...

Scrapped!! I hope we're learning now that the more we scrap, the worse off the planet its going to be. So glad this beautiful tug was saved from the tugboat graveyard.
Kay

Carla said...

So fabulously Australian. I love these old boats and what a treat to have had a ride. Carla

Steffe said...

Great to see all these photos of the 'Waratah'.

Mahon said...

what glare! All these colors are beautiful and your wonderful photos! Congratulations!
Bye Mahon !

Dindin MK said...

classics & colorful!
Congrats for its "reborn"....

Bill said...

That must have been a great experience. She looks a wll maintained old tug. Long live the Waratah.

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

I remember a few old steamers operating the Clyde in the late 60s - great to see one still puffing.

aka Penelope said...

Some of the best things in life are scrapped. But thankfully we sometimes come to our senses and preserve the precious pieces of our past. Thanks for sharing your journey. :))

Joan Elizabeth said...

What fun. I like tug boats, they are such sturdy busy little boats beside the lumbering ships they move about. Can smell the cinders and hear the horn from here.

Andrew said...

Was it very noisy?

caughtbymycamera said...

What a fantastic ship. It is so good top preserve these oldies. They are charming reminders of the past.

J Bar said...

Marvellous bit of maritime history. I'd really enjoy a trip like that. Thanks for sending the photo. I am having trouble opening it though.

Rinkly Rimes said...

Your wonderful photography brings out such arresting detail! Luckily we missed-out on Victoria's inundation.

Jack said...

An interesting ttale. The top photo is arresting.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

I love the look, feel and smell of those things.

Larry D said...

Wonderful photos and post!

Peter said...

Great work volunteers!

Randy said...

Great post. Love the photos too.

Ann said...

I like the hand with the oil can. How do you get to go out on these old boats, is it through the Maritime Museum?

Julie said...

I am a member of the National Maritime Museum who run the trips. Some of the trips are organised by NMM and some by WEA with whom I am learning French. I am also a member of Historic Houses Trust who do other trips - but not boaty ones. I did join the Powerhouse but it is not to my liking, so will stop that and try the National Trust for a year and see if they are on my wavelength.

Francisca said...

Ah, Julie, this is so great. What a wonderful boat ride this must have been. I love your hand photos and have started to pay more attention myself. Your mix of portraiture, long views and details are always perfectly balanced. And your topics are interesting.

Elaine coolowl said...

Nothing like the smell of burning coal and hot oil! Superb shots, Julie - as ever :-) Love the texts you've added to all of your photos - really brings out the history and the feeling for the people and places you have illustrated so well.

BraCom (Bram) said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful maritime photo

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

My Word Tuesday post

Seen on My World Tuesday

brattcat said...

Great story, beautifully told in text and image.

Shey said...

Fantastic series of photos. The colors are so vivid, wow! A fun read too. :)

Sar@h said...

Wonderful capture.
it's an old navy museum ?

Julie said...

Thank you for all your comments, Friends. They are appreciated.