Karrabee Ferry Gosford Electorate Law and Order

About this Item
SpeakersHartcher Mr Chris; Acting-Speaker (Mr John Mills)
BusinessPrivate Members Statements

Page: 7217

    Mr HARTCHER (Gosford—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [9.45 p.m.]: The Karrabee is the oldest surviving Karrabee-class ferry of its type, and it should be rescued. Once she was hailed as the finest designed ferry on Sydney Harbour. Her claim to fame in 1984, at 71 years old, when she sank after the inaugural Great Ferry Race really detracts from her long list of historical attributes. Her history is fascinating. Built in Balmain in 1912, and weighing 107 tonnes, her original steam engine was made in Scotland and currently has pride of place at the Powerhouse Museum. In the early days of her life as a steamship she plied the Parramatta River route, serving the residents of Lane Cove and Hunters Hill, and she was seen on Sydney Harbour each day for more than 70 years. In 1945 she was fitted with modern diesel engines and took on the Manly to Circular Quay run, and finally the Taronga Zoo run. Her diesel engines are displayed in the Maritime Museum.

    Her history shows that she has been everything from a vessel used for special chartering, social functions, a movie star in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, and a recruitment ship for the Navy—the only vessel in the ferry fleet to be painted in patriotic colours, bearing the slogan "Join the Navy, Army, Air Forces NOW". History also records that she was on her way back to Circular Quay when the Japanese submarine entered Sydney Harbour. In fact, it is said that the submarine went directly under her.

    The sad finish for the Karrabee was not her fault. As the oldest vessel in that fateful ferry race, she was coming third despite the fact that her captain, Ron Archer, could not pump out the water she was taking on. She made it to the jetty, enabling all her passengers to disembark, and then she slipped quietly into 30 feet of water, making history as the first boat to ever sink at Circular Quay berth. It was later determined by the Court of Marine Enquiry that her wooden hull had not been given enough time in the water before racing her, as she had been in dry dock.

    The Karrabee has always attracted attention. Her rescue from the harbour depths was no different; this was watched by thousands who lined the Quay and a huge television audience. Within 48 hours she was back on the surface and then taken to Balmain for a refit, then finally brought to Gosford to operate as a restaurant. She has seen many celebrations, happy diners, Christmas parties, wedding receptions and twenty-first birthday parties while moored on Brisbane Water at Gosford. It would be unthinkable to end this grand Edwardian-style vessel's life in such an undignified way. Let us keep her for posterity. Her resting place should be the Maritime Museum. My electorate has an ongoing problem of law and order. I draw the attention of the House to an event which occurred in June. A correspondent writes to me:

    … my 17 year old son was in the Terrigal Surf Club car park with his girlfriend and about 5 mates. A kid (16 yr old) approached him and accused him of assaulting his friend some months before, obviously picking a fight.

    While distracted by this approach another assailant "king hit" my son from behind, knocking him to the ground. These two plus other gang members proceeded to kick my son in the head and body (resulting in loss of tooth, $10,000 or so in dental work and about $3,000 for nose work), and kick in the panels on his girlfriend's car. Then the assailant's other gang members assaulted my son's friends and caused several thousand dollars damage to their car. I spent that night in hospital with my son.

    The next day the assailant was heard to be boasting of his actions. He has about 56 incidences against his name [I have been advised by police] and been to four youth conferences prior to this savage assault. These incidences include intimidating witnesses, police, assault etc. He is well known to Gosford police.

    When the day came for this person to go to court, with four youth conferences against him, he pleaded guilty and the magistrate awarded, yes, another youth conference.

    What an extreme disappointment for my son, for my family and the police who investigated the matter and brought him to court. The police were extremely frustrated with this result.

    Mr ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Mills): Order! I interrupt the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to refer to a ruling of Speaker Rozzoli that private members' statements should be confined to one subject. The member has moved on to a second matter. Does the House grant the member indulgence to continue with the second subject? The House having so indicated, the member may proceed.

    Mr HARTCHER: These incidents are not unknown in the Gosford area. Savage assaults are made on young people, assailants are eventually caught by the police to be brought to justice, but the only sanction imposed upon them by the courts is youth conferencing. I call upon the Government and the Premier to take urgent action to ensure that young criminals are brought to justice and made to pay a price for their crimes, and are not allowed to continue to walk the streets after the imposition of these token penalties.