Model of the Bass Strait passenger roll-on roll-off vessel 'Princess of Tasmania', in perspex case, wood / perspex, made by Iain Scott-Stevenson, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2004
The model of the 'Princess of Tasmania' is finely finished complete with decks, lifeboats, radio masts and deck equipment. The hull is beige and the decks light tan, and it sits on a black base. The model has its own purpose-built Perspex case.
The 'Princess of Tasmania' was a twin-screw ship and comprised one complete deck, an upper deck extending from the fore end almost to the stern, and a boat and navigation bridge deck which also enclosed the passenger accommodation. Crew quarters were on the mezzanine deck port and starboard and in the crew flat forwards.
The ship was designed to carry 334 passengers, around 100 cars and trucks of up to 550 tons in weight in the 'tween decks and 100 tones of general cargo in the hold. Of the 334 passengers, 178 were accommodated in single, double and four-berth cabins on the boat and upper decks and 156 in three lounges fitted with reclining aircraft type seating, similar to that on TAA Fokker Friendship aircraft of the time. Two lounges were located one on each side of the funnel. and the bigger saloon was at the front of the ship behind the full-width deck. They were decorated in Laminex on the bulkheads and wall-to-wall carpet. A cafeteria on the upper deck seated 82 in swivel-type stools at thee U-shaped rubber-topped tables. The 'Princess of Tasmania' carried a crew of 67 including the master, three mates, chief engineer and ten engineers.
The hull, masts, spares and ventilators were painted a light biscuit, the wheelhouse and deck houses were white and deck machinery was black. The overall dimensions of the vessel were approximately 371 feet (113 m) in length and 58 foot (14.6 m) across the beam. Its speed was 17.75 knots. The 'Princess of Australia' had a draft of 15 feet (4.6 m) which enabled it to use the more direct shallow channel at the southern end of Port Phillip Bay to travel to and from the heads. This saved considerable time and distance while entering or leaving Melbourne.
The ship was powered by two Nohab M69TS diesel engines developing 4,300 brake horsepower at 228 rpm directly coupled to twin propellers. The 'Princess of Tasmania' was also fitted with a side thrust bow propeller which was said to be unique at the time.
The large entrance door to the vehicle deck at the stern of the vessel was watertight to keep the deck free of water in any weather. Considerable care was taken at the time to ensure the car deck was clear of all fumes from car exhausts with large exhaust ventilating fans. Also, a fire-extinguishing system by Wormald Bros was installed on the vehicle deck including water spray curtains to isolate any outbreak of fire. Previously, vehicles loaded on Bass Straight ferries had to have their fuel tanks drained before loading by crane to prevent the possibility of fire. This was not necessary on the 'Princess of Tasmania'. The car deck featured a power-operated turntable and was unimpeded by columns for easy loading.