THE FERRY CAPTAIN

This massive old cypress pine tree on the Rhyll foreshore was witness to many decades of change. In August 2016 a wild storm damaged the tree so badly that it was dangerous.
Local arborist David McFee suggested the tree should be reduced to a safe height and the remaining trunk used for a sculptured artwork.
The Rhyll Community Association raised funds to enlist the talent of world renowned tree carver Brandon Kroon to design and carve the tree stump.

WHAT’S the connection between the Ferry Captain carving and Rhyll?

Rhyll has always been recognised as a safe haven (in maritime terms).  Ferries started work on Phillip Island as early as 1868, with The Eva. While Rhyll wasn’t a regular stopping place until the 1890s, it was always a safe haven.

Visiting ferries included The Eclipse, Vixen, Genista, Ventnor, Plover, Alvina, Narrabeen, Killara, Reliance, Westernport, Sunrise Star, Estelle Star, Eagle Star, Island Star, Southern Star, (ex Louise Star),  Jeremiah Ryan, James McCabe, Ku Ring Gai 11, Southern Contessa, Matthew Brady, Commissioner 11, Kasey Lee, and the latest, the Brianna Lee.

Of course, with ferries came ferry captains. Among those who lived at Rhyll were Jimmy Clarke, Jack Jansson, Len McFee, Charlie Richardson, David Leadbetter, Leo Grace- plus others who worked on the ferries – Frank Jansson, Jack Reid, Jack Smith, Bert Kirkland, Fred Osterlund, Jack West, Ted Walton, Jock Welsh, Bill Schultz – all from Rhyll.
Ferries gave the residents of Phillip Island their only real connection to the city, regardless of the weather.

So our carving represents the relationship the hamlet of Rhyll has had with the seas for over a hundred and fifty years.  It details the importance and the acknowledgement of our early seafaring pioneers – who kept the wheels turning. 

Ferries today are a far cry from those of years gone by, but Rhyll  still remains the port of choice as demonstrated by the new breed of “ferries”, the cruise ships –  who ferry people around the world, but equally enjoy disembarking on our little Rhyll jetty.

Our Ferry Captain is a salute to those hearty soles of a bygone era, who didn’t have the comfort of enclosed helm stations or GPS systems, or hot tea or coffee at their fingertips but had to fight the elements in their daily grind.

The Ferry Captain is officially unveiled – 23 June 2019

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