Over the years many ferries have operated from, or been based at Rhyll. Here are some of their stories
The ferry Estelle, 96 feet, was built at Brisbane Water north of Sydney, by Gordon Beattie. She was originally a single decker and was re-named Estelle Star by N. D. Hegarty.
She was used on the Lavender Bay, McMahons Point run from 27th October 1932.
Hegartys sold their Sydney ferry business in 1948 and took their ferries Estelle Star and Sunrise Star to Lakes Entrance.
With the sudden withdrawal of the steam ferry in 1948, Shire President W. H. Crole contacted Hegartys and arranged to bring the Estelle to Western Port. She arrived in
December 1948 and made her first trip from Cowes to Stony Point on 11th January 1949.
The Cowes Ferry Service with ferries Estelle Star and Eagle Star was bought by
W. H. and M. H. Crole in April 1954 and the Eagle Star was converted for fishing in Bass Strait.
Estelle Star was taken back to Eden by L. S. Hegarty and O. Allen in 1959 for conversion to a tuna fishing vessel.
Ferry Eagle Star 80 ft. 300 passenger, hull was built at Brisbane Water by Gordon Beattie for N. D. Hegarty and Son of Sydney. The ferry superstructure was built in front of
N. D. Hegarty’s home, in Drummoyne and she was launched in late 1936 for the Lavender
Bay – McMahon’s Point run.
Hegartys were shifting their business to Victoria and the Eagle Star arrived from Sydney on Sep 29th 1949, joining the bigger Estelle Star on the Cowes-Stony Point run.
Cowes Ferry Service with ferries Estelle Star, 400 passengers and Eagle Star, 275 passengers was put up for sale by Hegarty’s in early 1954. Both ferries were bought by
W. H. and M. H. Crole in April 1954. Eagle Star was converted for fishing in Bass Strait and the Estelle did the passenger run.
Hegartys took the Estelle Star back in 1959 for conversion to a tuna boat at Eden. The Eagle Star was re-built for passenger carrying and an 8 cyl. Gardner engine replaced the
5 cyl. Crossley.
Photo: J. E. Jansson.
The Cowes Ferry Service was sold to the French Island Co-Operative in 1978 and on 31st December, the Eagle Star under Captain Brian Peters sank at Cowes near the jetty after the trip from Stony Point.
All 160 passengers were rescued and the vessel refloated soon after but her work as a passenger vessel had ended.
The Ma1hew Brady 128/137 tons 65x23x8 feet ON 355401, built at Hobart by Sullivans Cove Ferry Company in mid-1972, saw service here from 1981-1992 under the ownership of Southern Marine Tours. She transported many moto-GP fans along with Western
Port Adventurer, Big Cat, and Thunder Bird from Lakes Entrance, for the first
Grand Motor Cycle Prix April 1-4 1989. On July 8th 1992 Matthew Brady caught
fire while returning from Cowes to Rhyll. She was run ashore near Silverleaves but
was a total loss. The hull was broken up at Rhyll
Kasey Lee, 18.5 x 7.0 m. built of aluminium at Rippleside, Geelong by Australus Catamarans for Bay Connections i n 1998. She commenced service in Western Port in that year replacing Bay Connections 1 and is still successfully running.