Photo of the Day

photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum

Last ride on the Peats Ferry, Hawkesbury River, 1889

March 18th, 2013 by


This image shows steamers on the Hawkesbury River to the north of Sydney. The inscription on the image reads ‘Peats Ferry, Hawkesbury River, N.S.W, May 1st, 1889′. This date was an historic occasion – the opening of the railway bridge across the Hawkesbury.

The image shows a large crowd of people waiting to board a paddle steamer. An account of the day reads:

After the formal opening the guests were invited on board the steamers in waiting at the Hawkesbury wharf, and an opportunity given them of seeing the bridge from the river, and of enjoying the glorious river scenery.

The ferry itself is probably the small steamer in the middle of the image. Both boats are flying American flags in honour of the Union Bridge Company of New York, USA which had constructed the bridge.

The ferry, operated by local settler, George Peat, had provided the means of crossing the river at Mooney Mooney Point from the early 1830s. The service ceased with the opening of the railway bridge on 1 May 1889.

Post by Lynne McNairn, Digital Services

Photography: Henry King, 1889 (85/1285-837)
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