Half-ship model, 'Lady Hampden', wood / metal / glass, designed by Walter Reeks, made by James Scott, Balmain, Australia, 1896
Since 1861, ferries have provided a faster and more reliable means of transport for residents along Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River, helping to play an important role in the growth and development of such suburbs as Manly, Mosman, Circular Quay and Balmain. This half-ship model of the SS 'Lady Hampden' represents the type of ferries that serviced the Balmain run, the only south shore ferry service which has continued uninterrupted to the present day.
The 'Lady Hampden' was the fourth ferry commissioned in a series of 'Lady' vessels (after the 'Lady Mary' 1892; 'Lady Napier' 1892 and 'Lady Manning' 1893) and is a class of ferry which is still in use today. The 'Lady' series, as shown with the 'Lady Hampden', were double-ended ferries that characterised the refined operation of the double-ended type. They marked the beginning of the mainstay of ferry operations and also act as a legacy for Walter Reeks, an Australian based naval architect who was a leading pioneer in the design of the double-ended ferries.
The full-scale 'Lady Hampden' was built in Sydney and attests to a once vibrant shipbuilding industry that operated on the shores of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River, while this particular model, also made in Sydney, is an excellent example of the model making abilities and ingenuity of the Scottish expatriate shipwright, James Scott.
Ship models such as this one were made for shipbuilders to assist in their full-scale construction, helping to provide the builder with an idea of the vessel's fittings, riggings and sail plans, as well as helping to show the ratio of length to beam and the fining of her entry and stern. This ship model also acts as a legacy of the SS 'Lady Hampden' which was sunk while being used as a naval target in 1943.
Andrews, G., "A Pictorial History of Ferries: Sydney and Surrounding Waterways" (Sydney, 1982) pp.66 & 92
Andrews, G., "The Ferries of Sydney" (Sydney, 1975) pp.14-16, 93-94, 116
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition, "Walter Reeks", http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110361b.htm (Downloaded 23/4/2007)
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition, "Henry Perdriau", http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110206b.htm (Downloaded 23/4/2007)
This half-ship model of the SS 'Lady Hampden' was designed by Walter Reeks and made by James Scott for the Balmain New Ferry Company in 1896.
Walter Reeks was a naval architect born in Hampshire, England on February 25, 1861. In 1885, seeking a warmer climate, he migrated to Sydney where he soon became involved with the yachting fraternity of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli. Reeks was the second Australian practitioner in naval architecture (before him was Norman Selfe), who became involved with the Balmain New Ferry Company in the 1890s when he received commissions from them to design the double-ended, screw-propelled ferryboats, like the 'Lady Hampden'. This was a unique design that was employed by ferries on Sydney Harbour up until 1984. Reeks was known as the most dominating figure in the profession of shipbuilding prior to 1945. He died on October 2, 1925 and is buried in the Northern Suburbs cemetery.
James Scott was a naval architect born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1859. In 1873, at the age of 14, James spent 12 years working in the mould loft of John Elder of Fairfield, Govan before coming out to Australia in 1885. Descendents of the Scott family claim that James was approached by Allen Arthur Taylor (timber merchant, ship-owner, politician and chairman of the Illawarra & South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd and the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd) offering to subsidise his fare. This would explain James' subsequent involvement with the North Coast Company.
James married Jane Bell and had five children, two of whom died young. On arriving in Australia they resided at Rowntree Street, Balmain but later made Hunters Hill their long-term abode. Records show that for 12 years James worked at Cockatoo Island with William McDonald and for some time also, Sam Hayes, at the Fitzroy Dock.
James Scott became foreman shipwright of the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd where he is reputed to have designed 32 ships for them (he is attested to have designed 60 throughout his entire career). Some of these vessels included the 'Nerong', 'Wollongbar II', 'Kulgoa', 'Wauchope' and the 'Nambucca'. Some of James Scott's best known creations, however, are the two 'Lady' ferries (the 'Lady Manning' and 'Lady Hampden'), which were designed by Walter Reeks and epitomised the double-ended ferry style which was to become standardised in all ferry designs from 1892 on.
Identifiable characteristics of James Scott models include the use of Australian red cedar in the backing boards (or straight grain Oregon for North Coast models), black painted sections denoting the water line and flaring at the propeller shafts.
James Scott continued to design naval vessels, even at the age of 78 where he prepared plans for the 'Moruya'. He died in 1942.
The production of this particular model is unusual in that it shows the configuration of the rudder and propeller back to front. It is unknown if this configuration was also used in the full-scale version.
The SS 'Lady Hampden' ferry was commissioned for ownership and use by the Balmain New Ferry Company.
The Balmain New Ferry Company can be traced back to 1842 when Henry Perdriau established a Sydney ferry service to the city of Sydney (the Balmain Ferry Fleet). This company operated until 1882 at which time it was sold to the Balmain Steam Ferry Company. For 10 years the company operated uninterrupted until a rival group, the Balmain New Ferry Company was formed in 1892 to offer more competitive fares for passengers (one penny instead of three pence). The Balmain New Ferry Company bought out the Balmain Steam Ferry Company in 1900 and in 1906 also bought the Hunters Hill and Lane Cove Ferry Company from Jules Joubert. In 1917, the Balmain New Ferry Company was taken over by Sydney Ferries Ltd. The Balmain ferry service, however, is still in operation today and is the only south shore ferry service which has been able to continue uninterrupted.
The 'Lady Hampden' steamed Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River from 1897 (when it was registered in Sydney) to 1943 (when it was sunk while being used as a naval target). It could carry up to 636 passengers at a time and especially helped to play an important role in the growth and development of the Balmain area.
This particular ship model was donated to the Museum by the State Transit Sydney Ferries in 1995.