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Ferry to Tasmania-- A Short History

290 x 210 mm, 200 pages, 90 colour plates, 120 photos

9781877058271, $29.95, Paperback

Peter Plowman

Available: Out of Stock

The island state of Tasmania has been dependent on ferry services to the mainland almost from the time of first settlement. Over the past two centuries the size and number of the vessels employed on this vital trade has steadily increased. This book provides the first detailed account of the development of these services, from the very early days of paddle steamers right up to the introduction of Spirit of Tasmania III in January 2004.

The story is told primarily through the ships, but there are also numerous personal reminiscences and experiences recounted, that bring the tale to life. Many of the ships became famous during their time operating to Tasmania, and are fondly remembered today. Among them are names such as Loongana, Nairana, Taroona, Princess of Tasmania and Empress of Australia, while the more recent vessels include Abel Tasman, Spirit of Tasmania and the Devil Cats, with their bright colours.

It is quite amazing how much the ferry service from the mainland to Tasmania has developed in a very short time. As recently as 2002 there was but one ferry making three return trips a week between Melbourne and Devonport, capable of transporting some 8,500 passenger a week. Today there is a nightly departure from both these terminals, providing up to 2,000 passages a day. During peak periods, when both night and day trips are being operated, almost 20,000 passengers can be carried in each direction in a week. In addition, the recently opened service between Sydney and Devonport has the capacity to transport about 150,000 passengers in each direction during the year. There is no doubt that Tasmania is now enjoying the best ferry service ever provided between the mainland and the island state.

The full story of this and all other developments in the Tasmanian ferry trade is told in 200 pages, packed with over 200 pictures, many in full colour. There are extensive descriptions of each ship, along with deck plans and interior pictures, which will be of interest to many former and present passengers. The book will also be a valuable addition to the library of anyone with an interest in passenger ships, and as an historical record will be a necessary addition to most libraries around the country.

Peter Plowman is an established maritime author, with seven books published both locally and overseas. Among his notable works have been Emigrant Ships to Luxury Liners, a comprehensive record of every passenger vessel to carry passengers from overseas to Australia between 1945 and 1990, The Wheels Still Turn, the only complete history of paddlewheelers in Australia, his recently published, Across the Sea to War, the previously untold story of the convoys and ships that carried Australian troops to overseas conflicts from the Sudan campaign of 1885 to the Vietnam War. Another of his books The Sitmar Liners has been published recently. It is written from an Australian perspective and covers the general development of the company and its operations throughout the world. Ferry to Tasmania is a worthy addition to this remarkable list.