Ship model, 'Kalang' vehicular ferry, wood, made by Mr Trevor Watson, Australia, 1966
This ship model represents the 'Kalang' when she operated as a vehicular ferry between Dawes Point and Milsons Point (1926-1932). At this time, vehicular ferries provided the only means of transport for passengers and their cars between the north and south sides of Sydney Harbour until the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. The advent of the bridge meant vehicular ferries were no longer needed and in effect, the 'Kalang' was temporarily laid up for six years, before being converted by her owners, Sydney Ferries Ltd, into a showboat.
The 'Kalang' marked the beginning of the success of showboats on Sydney Harbour, providing tourists and locals with excursions around Sydney Harbour; cabaret shows; dancing and other forms of entertainment. Her morning route took her under the Sydney Harbour Bridge into Lane Cove River and the Parramatta River as far as Mortlake, while her afternoon route departed Circular Quay for the south shore of Sydney Harbour, under the Spit Bridge, through Middle Harbour and across to Killarney picnic ground. The 'Kalang' spent around 17 years as a showboat, interrupted by several years in service for the Royal Australian Navy, while she assisted in the war efforts.
This particular ship model provides a sound small-scale representation of the 'Kalang' during her early years in use, helping to show the intricate details of the vessel's form, its method of propulsion and deck area. The model also acts as a legacy for the full-scale version which no longer survives. The 'Kalang' was wrecked near Kempsey on her way to the Philippines in 1972.
Allen, G., "The Five Faces of the Sydney Queen" in The Sun Herald (July 12, 1970)
Andrews, G., "A Pictorial History of Ferries: Sydney and Surrounding Waterways" (Sydney, 1982)
Andrews, G., "The Ferries of Sydney" (Sydney, 1975)
Hastings, B., "Our Ferries' Finest Hour" in The Sun (Thursday, May 29, 1986)
MacDougall, M., "Showboat of Port Jackson" in Port of Sydney, no.6 (October 1953)
This working model of the 'Kalang' was made by Mr Trevor Watson in Australia in 1966, while the full-scale version of the 'Kalang' was originally built by J. Crichton & Co Ltd in Saltney, England in 1926. Mr Watson based his model on the plans provided by the New South Wales Department of Main Roads. It is made to a scale of 7/32" to 1 foot.
The 'Kalang' was originally built by J Crichton & Co. Ltd at Saltney, England in 1926 for ownership and use by Sydney Ferries Ltd as a vehicular ferry between Dawes Point and Milsons Point. She was used for this purpose until 1932, at which time the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened and the demand for car ferries was no longer needed. She was capable of carrying up to 80 vehicles.
In 1938, Sydney Ferries had her converted to a triple deck showboat in their shipyard at Balmain. Licensed to carry 1,925 people plus 25 crew, the 'Kalang' showboat had a modern kitchen with a milk bar, grand piano and dance floor which could hold up to 500 people. It provided passengers with excursions by day around Sydney Harbour and cabaret and dancing at night.
After operating for almost 4 years as a showboat, the 'Kalang' was requisitioned in October, 1942 for service with the Royal Australian Navy and during WWII was used as a floating repair ship for small craft engaged in New Guinea and Borneo waters.
After the war, the 'Kalang' was converted back into being a showboat and she continued to carry revellers around Sydney Harbour until 1958. Within two years, however, she was laid up again and renamed the 'Sydney Queen' with new oil-burning (as opposed to coal-burning) engines. For a further three years, she played out her showboat duties until 1963 where she was laid up for 8 years before being sold to Philippine interests in 1971.
The showboat, however, never made it to the Philippines. While being towed by the tug 'Polaris' along with three other ex-vehicular ferries (the 'Koondaloo', 'Lurgurena' and 'Kooroongabba'), she was blown ashore and became wrecked near Kempsey. Her remains still lie there today.
This model of the 'Kalang' was purchased by the Museum in 1968.