Half-ship model, PS 'Quandong', wood, designed by Norman Selfe, made by W. McCulloch, Balmain, New South Wales, 1874
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 PS 'Quandong' 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 PS 'Quandong' is a unique example of the developments in innovative shipbuilding techniques, both in terms of design and construction. The 'Quandong' was the first locally built ferry in Sydney to have two sterns instead of two bows and she was powered by a steam engine that had previously been used in a pumping station near the Randwick Road. This station had been part of Sydney's water supply since water from the Lachlan swamps had been fed to Hyde Park by means of a bore.
Ship models such as this one would have been 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, the fining of her entry, stern and so on. This particular model also acts as a legacy for the full-scale version which no longer survives. The PS 'Quandong' was disposed of in the 1930s.
Andrews, G., "The Ferries of Sydney" (Sydney, 1975)
Andrews, G., "A Pictorial History of Ferries: Sydney and Surrounding Waterways" (Sydney, 1982)
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, "Norman Selfe", http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A060115b.htm (Downloaded 9/5/2007)
Geoff Barker, March 2007
This half-ship model of the PS 'Quandong' was designed by Norman Selfe and made by W. McCulloch in Balmain, New South Wales in 1874. The ship was not registered in Sydney until 1876.
Norman Selfe was a civil and mechanical engineer, inventor and teacher who was born in Teddington, Middlesex, England on December 9, 1839. In January 1855, Selfe arrived in Australia and one year later (at the age of 17) began work as an apprentice for P.N. Russell & Co where he later became chief draftsman. From 1865-1868, Selfe was in partnership with James Dunlop and was responsible for designing and building major installations for the Australasian Mineral Oil Company, the Western Kerosene Oil Company and the Australian Gaslight Company. In 1869, he became chief engineer and draftsman for Mort's Dock & Engineering Co, designing the machinery for the 500 tonne 'Governor Blackall'.
In 1876, Selfe set up private practice, designing over 50 steamships including 2 torpedo boats for the New South Wales Government and the first double-ended screw ferry, the 'Wallaby'. Selfe reputedly introduced the compound engine in Australian boats and was also an expert in dock design, building the first concrete quay wall in Sydney Harbour and most of the wharves for deep-sea vessels. Furthermore, Selfe was a strong advocate of a 'Circular City Railway' linking Sydney's outlying suburbs to the ferries and was also responsible for introducing ice-making machines and lifts into Australian society.
Selfe died on October 15, 1911 at Normanhurst, Sydney (the suburb which is aptly named after him) and is buried in the Gore Hill cemetery.
The PS 'Quandong' was built for ownership and use by the Balmain Steam Ferry Company.
The Balmain Steam Ferry Company was formed in 1882 under the leadership of Henry Perdriau (a rubber manufacturer and entrepreneur). The company was challenged, however, when in 1892 the Balmain New Ferry Company was formed 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 'Quandong' was disposed of in the 1930s.
This particular model was donated to the Museum by Norman Selfe in 1907.