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Emerald Star

Vessel Number: HV000325
Date: 1943
Vessel Dimensions: 18.9 m x 17.27 m x 5.09 m x 1.89 m, 37.4 tonnes (62 ft x 56.66 ft x 16.7 ft x 6.2 ft, 36.8 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
EMERALD STAR was a well known small ferry, part of the Hegarty Fleet which was prominent on Sydney Harbour working the shorter inner-harbour routes for decades from the 1930s. Without doing anything of note during its long period as a ferry it became a fixture on the Harbour for over 60 years as a trusted workhorse.
DescriptionThe hull was built on the Central Coast of New South Wales when the keel was laid in 1939. It was going to be a fishing trawler, but during the wartime period the project was abandoned. Stan Hegarty purchased the unfinished hull and had his foreman Charlie Shannon and shipwright Bill Taylor commute to Brooklyn and finish the hull to a point where it could be towed to Sydney. The hull was then launched and towed by the Hegarty ferry SUNRISE STAR where it was finished off by A G Williams at Drummoyne, a firm better known for their private motor cruisers. It was finally completed in 1943. The ferry's register papers show that from 1944 it was jointly owned by Beatrice and Leonard Hegarty, then later N D Hegarty and Son Pty Ltd. A subsequent entry shows it was mortgaged to the Commercial Bank of Australia from 1954 to at least 1960.

The vessel is carvel planked and just over 18 metres long overall. Its first service was Lavender Bay to Circular Quay No 2 wharf, but it also serviced other inner Harbour wharves. During World War II EMERALD STAR carried troops between ship and shore on Sydney Harbour and ran a service to the military bases as well. After the war the ferry worked for many years with Hegarty’s maintaining regular commuter services to inner Harbour wharves. However it is almost exclusively associated in the minds of Sydney Harbour ferry commuters with the service from Lavender Bay to Circular Quay.

It was originally powered by a 33 Kw (45 hp) Atlas Diesel engine which gave it a speed of 7.8 knots. In 1955 this was replaced and the new air-cooled engine is thought to be the first of this type fitted to any vessel in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1965 it was stolen and ended up being smashed into a barge under the north pylon of the Harbour Bridge. Amongst some of the events it has been involved in include the arrival of the training ship DEWARUTJI, the concurrent visit of the Cunard liners QUEEN ELIZABETH II and QUEEN VICTORIA and the 2009 Festival of Sydney, Cockatoo Island Spectacular.

EMERALD STAR ceased working as a ferry in 2003 and began working as a charter vessel under the ownership of the McLoughlin family. In 2007 it was purchased by the current owner who gave the ferry a major overhaul in 2008. It is powered by a Grey Marine Diesel and can now do 12 knots top speed.

In 2009 it retained its original layout and appearance as a single deck ferry with a raised wheelhouse and gangways located next to the wheelhouse. Apart from essential repairs during its long working life the structure remains as original. EMERALD STAR remains popular with the public, chartered for parties and weddings, including one ceremony for a former regular passenger.

Prepared with assistance from the Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats compiled by Mori Flapan;
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:open/foredeck
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Hull shape:other
ship:ships:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: NSW 17457

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