23 May, 2024
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Queenscliff set for iconic return to Sydney Harbour


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Sydneysiders have been given their first look inside the refurbished Queenscliff ferry, with upgrades of the iconic vessel in the final stages.

The former Liberal National government hosted a retirement party to celebrate removing the Australian-made Queenscliff from service in October 2021. The former government planned to retain just one Freshwater-class ferry in service, running weekend services only. The second-generation Emerald-class ferries, ordered by the former government to replace the Freshwaters, have been plagued by operational issues, including cracked hulls and being unable to dock at low-tide.

Labor is now delivering on its long-term promise to return as many of the Freshwater-class vessels as possible to weekday and weekend services on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay route. The 40 years old beloved Queenscliff is currently docked at Cockatoo Island undergoing important restoration work, including upgrading engines and machinery. The upgrade has also refreshed passenger areas and will improve the experience for customers with a disability. The extensive refurbishment has involved expert navel engineers, electrical engineers, shipbuilders, painters, plumbers and more all working here in NSW.

The refurbishment includes:

• More than 650 square metres of new ceiling panels,
• More than 7kms of new cabling,
• More than 4,000 litres of paint
• More than 750 square meters of new flooring
• Every interior seat re-covered

The engine room is bigger than a basketball court and the main engine is 32 times more powerful than an average car. The Queenscliff is planned to return to the F1 Manly to Circular Quay route this summer and will join the Freshwater in ferrying passengers every day. The final works, reinstalling oil distribution boxes, require dry-docking the Queenscliff at Garden Island and is subject to the Australian Navy’s maintenance schedule.

Quotes attributable to NSW Premier Chris Minns:

“The previous Government’s plan to retire the Freshwater ferries was reckless.

“We’re reversing their decision and returning the iconic Freshwaters to Sydney Harbour.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Transport Jo Haylen:

“These vessels are beloved and reliable, and it is exciting we are in the final stretch in getting the Queenscliff back on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay route.

“They are not only a great option for everyday commuters and tourists looking for an iconic trip across the harbour but can also carry around 1,000 passengers per trip.

“We are standing by our election commitments with passengers set to be enjoying the upgraded ferry this summer.

“We know the Australian-made Freshwaters are steeped in NSW history and we are doing all we can to ensure they remain part of our iconic harbour scenery.”

Quotes attributable to A/Chief Operations Officer Mark Hutchings:

“A huge body of work has gone into refurbishing the Queenscliff to provide passengers with a better experience across the Sydney Harbour.

“It isn’t just new seats and fresh paint but a major upgrade to the engines and machinery of the vessel.

“We know the ferries are a popular choice for commuters during the hotter months and it is great that the Queenscliff will be back on the harbour in this summer.”

Chris Minns

Premier of New South Wales

Jo Haylen

Minister for Transport

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