SS South Steyne

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Career (Australia) Civil Ensign of Australia.svg
Name: SS South Steyne
Owner: Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company
Route: Circular QuayManly, Sydney

Henry Robb, Leith

engine manufacturer: Harland and Wolff, Belfast
Yard number: 267[1]
Launched: 1 April 1938
In service: 24 October 1938
Out of service: 1974
Identification: IMO number: 5335151[2]
MMSI Number:
General characteristics
Type: double-ended, double-screw steamship ferry
Tonnage: 1203 GT (gross tonnage)
Length: 67 metres (220 ft)
Beam: 11 metres (36 ft)
Installed power: 3,250 IHP triple expansion steam engine

SS South Steyne is the world's largest operational steam ferry. For 36 years, the Manly ferry in Sydney, she is now a floating restaurant in Darling Harbour, New South Wales.


SS South Steyne was built by Henry Robb in Leith, Scotland for the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company. Launched on 1 April 1938, she set off on 7 July, to steam the 22,000 kilometres to Australia, where she arrived on 19 September.[3]

She was withdrawn from service as a commuter ferry in 1974. On 25 August 1974, a week after the last run, a fire broke out in the fan engine room and severely damaged that area and the promenade deckhouse above.[4]

Restoration work began in 1987 at Ballina, New South Wales and later in Melbourne.[3] She became a floating restaurant, first in Melbourne and then in Newcastle, New South Wales. After five years, she returned to Sydney as the 2000 Olympic Information Centre at Darling Harbour. She is once again a floating restaurant, next to Pyrmont Bridge, offering panoramic waterfront views of the Sydney skyline.


South Steyne is a double-ended, double-screw steamship constructed to ocean-going standards. The hull is riveted steel, with a bar keel, 8 watertight bulkheads and a double bottom under the engine only.[4] At 224' (70 metre) long she is the world's largest operational steam ferry.[3] The steel superstructure rises to sun deck level, with teak decks and wheelhouses. One of her two funnels is a dummy, containing a water tank.

She is powered by a 3,250 IHP triple expansion steam engine, manufactured by Harland and Wolff of Belfast.


SS South Steyne was the largest ferry to operate on Sydney Harbour. As the Manly ferry from 1938, she crossed between Circular Quay and Manly over 100,000 times over its 36 years, carrying well in excess of 92 million passengers. On Sundays, from 1953 until 1973, she gave short ocean cruises to Broken Bay.[3]

Coordinates: 33°52′13.44″S 151°11′57.48″E / 33.8704°S 151.1993°E / -33.8704; 151.1993


  1. "Ship No 267". Robbs Built Ships. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  2. "South Steyne IMO: 5335151". Shipspotting. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "History". South Steyne. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "South Steyne". Heritage Branch, NSW Department of Planning. Retrieved 27 June 2010.