LAUNCHED 1938 ………     and .still going strong

The S.S. South Steyne is a 224′ (70 metre) long steamship making it the world’s largest operational steam ferry.

Built in Leith, Scotland for the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company, the South Steyne was launched on April 1st, 1938 and on July 7th 1938, it steamed the 22,000 kilometres to Australia arriving on September 19th the same year.

The South Steyne has been an icon of Sydney since 1938. As the famous Manly ferry, it crossed between Circular Quay and Manlyl over 100,000 times over its 36 years, carrying well in excess of 92 million passengers.

The South Steyne is perhaps the most famous of the Manly Ferries. From Harland & Wolff, the same engine builders as the TITANIC the ship is still operational and maintained to preserve for generations to come

The ship was the only ferry licenced to sail outside the Heads and from 1953 until 1973 made regular trips to Broken Bay each Sunday giving many Sydneysiders their first experience of an ocean cruise.

Her career finished on August 25th, 1974 when she caught fire at her Balmain berth and was withdrawn from service as a commuter ferry. Restoration work commenced in 1987 at Ballina in New South Wales and later in Melbourne.

As much as possible of the original ship was preserved. Her appearance has been enhanced with many Art Deco features of the 30’s, such as exquisite, veneered timber panelling, brass fittings, a grand piano and the marble bar.

After a brief stint in Melbourne as a floating restaurant and five years in Newcastle, the ship streamed back into Sydney as the Sydney 2000 Olympic Information Centre at Darling Harbour

These days, the South Steyne steamship is a unique maritime function centre offering panoramic waterfront views and the city skyline as a backdrop.

Restoration Program…

Ships Volunteers to maintain NSW’s only heritage listed vessel always welcome…
It takes a lot to keep the South Steyne going and we have a great band of dedicated volunteers…

if you like working on steam engines and historic vessels and would like to be part of the ships volunteer program then contact the ships engineer…..Graham Curran on 9211 5999 or by email


50 YEARS ON ….  Royal Friends ….

In 1988 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2 during her visit to Australia for the nations Bi Centenary celebrations recommissioned the South Steyne and enjoyed a cruise with Prince Phillip and over 200 VIPs.