Manly Ferry SS South Steyne is a retired steam ferry. For 36 years, she operated on the Manly run on Sydney Harbour and is now a floating restaurant moored at Darling Harbour.
SS South Steyne was built by Henry Robb in Leith, Scotland for the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company. Launched on 1 April 1938, she set off on 7 July, to steam the 22,000 kilometres to Australia, where she arrived on 19 September.The South Steyne was brought to Australia by Captain RM Beedie, an English Master who returned home after the voyage. Also on the voyage was Captain AE Rowlings, who acted as first officer who went to England to take delivery of the vessel on behalf of the owner, and Captain C Henderson, the second officer, who was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald to be a native of Manly.
In 1953 the South Steyne was chartered to run Sunday cruises from Sydney to Broken Bay. It was the first Manly ferry to run day trips to the Pittwater area since the ferries Bingarra and Burra Bra were flagships of the Pittwater regatta in 1922 and 1928. The Broken Bay cruises lasted until the early 1970s. On 29 September 1970 South Steyne collided with the HMAS Melbourne while avoiding some racing yachts. Nobody was hurt and South Steyne only received minor damage to the bow.
She was withdrawn from service as a commuter ferry in 1974 when the government took up the option to purchase only Baragoola and North Head. On 25 August 1974, a week after the last run, a fire was deliberately lit in the fan engine room where three open drums of diesel were placed to accelerate the fire. The ferry’s sprinkler system was sabotaged with a large screwdriver thrust into the little fuel tank for the diesel fire pump. The fire severely damaged the fan room, middle stairway and promenade deckhouse above.If it hadn’t been for the quick response of the Balmain fire brigade, the ferry would have been completely destroyed.