Search the Register
Advanced Search


Vessel Number: HV000373
Date: 1927
Vessel Dimensions: 16.65 m x 3.96 m x 1.65 m (54.63 ft x 12.99 ft x 5.41 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
LITHGOW is a small ferry built in 1927 on Brisbane Water on the New South Wales Central Coast. LITHGOW is one of a number of small commercial craft built in the Central Coast region by Gordon Beattie for local operation. After a varied working life as a ferry with 20 years service around Gosford and then 60 years service on Sydney Harbour, LITHGOW is one of the few Central Coast-built ferries still surviving.
DescriptionLITHGOW, originally named KIN-GRO, was the fourth vessel in the fleet owned by the Kincumber Growers' Co-op Co. Ltd. This Co-op had been formed in 1921 by growers in the rural Kincumber district of Brisbane Water. Needing a service to carry their own produce, a co-operative ferry service commenced in 1921, carrying produce at first, and passengers from 1924 onwards. The Co-op's fourth ferry was launched in 1927 from Gordon Beattie's yard at Palermo, adjacent to St Hubert's Island on Brisbane Waters. Beattie was one of the established boatbuilders in the area.

LITHGOW remained in service with the Co-op working from two wharves in Kincumber Creek, where it was based. The ferry worked in tandem with the Co-op's other craft GROWER and they ran to Woy Woy and return, stopping at various wharves along the way. On Thursdays, all launches converged on Gosford for the weekly market. The Co-op's secretary and manager was WG Humphrey (the Humphrey family were major Co-op shareholders). Along with his other duties Humphrey also shared the driving of the ferries with other employees. During World War II it is understood LITHGOW was used to tow the military 45 foot tug boat hulls built in the area out of Brisbane Water before another tow took over for the sea voyage to Sydney for fitout.

The local ferry service was terminated in 1944, and the company was liquidated in 1945. WG Humphrey's son, WF Humphrey (born 1924) recalled in the late 1970s that "...about the time I started taking an interest, KIN-GRO was re-engined with a 55 hp Petter 2-stroke diesel, quite modern at the time, compressed air start and all that sort of thing, which made the driver's life much easier...". He also recalled that KIN-GRO was used to tow a small suction dredge working around Brisbane Water when it had to be moved.

After the closure of the Co-op at Kincumber in 1944 it is understood that LITHGOW was sold to Mr Cox of Stockton. It is thought that it was converted to a fishing trawler and worked from the Newcastle area for a short period. According to WF Humphrey again, it was badly damaged by fire while there, but later repaired. This could correspond with the knowledge that LITHGOW was purchased and towed to Sydney in 1946 where it was rebuilt by WM Holmes at Lavender Bay. It was licensed as a passenger-only ferry to carry 113 passengers and two crew.

From 1946 to 1950 the ferry operated an off-peak service to Longueville on the Lane Cove River after the withdrawal of the Sydney Ferries service. It was then part of Stannard Bros Launch Services who changed the name to LITHGOW. It remained with this well known firm until 1983 when it was bought by Adam Huie of BanksMarine Events. In 2009 it was purchased by Noakes Boat and Shipyards to join their Rosman ferry fleet based in Berrys Bay, Sydney Harbour.

Prepared with information from Gwen Dundon, from the Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats compiled by Mori Flapan; and Rosman Ferries

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:wood/dynel
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Byzantine ships:ships:ship:ships:wheelhouse
Additional Titles

Primary title: Lithgow

Previous title: Kin-Gro

Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: 17318

Discuss this Object


Please log in to add a comment.