Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Guest post: Memories of the Ferries

John Russell emailed me tonight with his memories of Auckland's harbour ferries, in response to the earlier post on the vehicular ferries, A clock from the past. Thanks, John.

I think you have answered one of my abiding questions -- what happened to Auckland's vehicular ferries . . .

Took a great interest in reading the Timespanner article, because my first five years involved the ferries a fair bit.

Mum's parents lived in Princes Street, on Northcote Point and she used the passenger ferry for her daily transport to Auckland Girls' Grammar. Grandad (William Glover) used ferries too, for his work in Auckland as an architect. (he designed the old buildings at Greenlane Hospital and also the Astor Hotel at the top of Khyber Pass)

As a grandchild, I also did plenty of trips on both the passenger and vehicular ferries. I believe that my excess weight has its cause in the vehicular ferries. Queues on each side often exceeded three hours and I'm told that as a baby, I squawked a lot during the waits and was bottle-fed incessantly to shut me up. I can still remember the noise, rattles and smoke of the ferries.

That also makes me old enough to remember Auckland Harbour before the bridge. My grandparents'  property on Northcote Point had land carved off to allow for the first four lanes, then further land for the clipons. I still look at its proximity every time I drive past.

Mum and I also took the final passenger ferry across the harbour to Northcote Point. We were at the stern, watching the receding scenery when the ferry took a huge wave over the back rail and drenched us. I remember there being more water than air at the ship's stern for a second or two.

Mum and Dad took me for the public walk over the bridge on opening day in 1959, when I was four and a half. They also brought my stroller, which I said I didn't need because I was a big boy now. By the time we reached the centre arch, I was very glad of the stroller.


1 comment:

  1. Nice memories. I laughed at the drenching. Wouldn't happen on Sydney ferries, or would it? An old Sydney ferry was resident in Melbourne as a party boat until about three years ago when it sank in an inconvenient place. Today it was being dismantled underwater.