What’s the plan for Ferry Park?

Park ferry and cane barge may be moved

The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - Jar­rard Pot­ter jar­rard.pot­ter@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au

THE Ashby Ferry and Cane Punt No. 6 have been on dis­play at Ferry Park since 1981.

How­ever with the el­e­ments tak­ing their toll, Clarence Valley Coun­cil has lodged a devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion to re­move the two his­toric ves­sels.

A re­port pre­pared for the coun­cil by Cos­mos Ar­chae­ol­ogy states an in­spec­tion was con­ducted in July last year of the ferry and punt, which found the flaps con­nected to the ferry, called tran­som ends, had col­lapsed due to the un­sup­ported weight of the flaps, the flap posts and ca­ble guides.

“How­ever, the ex­tent of the dam­age ap­pears to be largely lim­ited to the tran­som ends and the in­tegrity of the ma­jor­ity of the hull and flaps ap­pears good,” the re­port said.

“Other fea­tures of the ferry are of rea­son­able con­di­tion, other than the tim­ber deck which has de­te­ri­o­rated from ex­po­sure to sun and rain.”

The re­port in­di­cates the con­di­tion of the hull of Cane Punt No. 6 has wors­ened due to on­go­ing rust and cor­ro­sion since 2010, with paint bub­bling and peel­ing, though the in­te­rior was in “fair con­di­tion”.

“The pitch fill within the ves­sel is com­pro­mis­ing the sur­round­ing hull, and likely the ves­sel el­e­ments be­low the fill, by col­lect­ing wa­ter that sup­ports veg­e­ta­tion,” the re­port said.

The re­port states the Ashby Ferry be­gan its work­ing life at the Ma­clean-Ashby ferry ser­vice on June 8, 1937, and was at least the third pur­pose-built ferry for the ser­vice, which be­gan op­er­a­tion in 1890.

“The ferry op­er­ated un­til 1974 when it be­came a re­lief ferry un­til the ser­vice ceased in 1981 due to the con­struc­tion of two bridges from Ashby to War­regah Is­land and War­regah to Chatsworth,” it says.

The re­port in­di­cates Cane Punt No. 6 is likely one of the last ex­am­ples of the cane barges that was used to trans­port har­vested sugar cane on the Clarence River from 1874 to 1974.

“Four sim­i­lar punts re­main sunk along­side the bank at Cor­ma­cks Creek and one was sunk across the en­trance of the slip­way at Har­wood Mill,” it says.

“Some re­mains of the ear­lier com­pos­ite punts may still ex­ist as wrecks along the river­bank. Many other punts were bro­ken up for scrap af­ter they were re­moved from ser­vice.”

A ves­sel man­age­ment plan pre­pared in March 2010 by Michael Sta­ples in­di­cated the Ashby Ferry and Cane Punt No. 6 were in­stalled in Ferry Park as a re­sult of com­bined com­mu­nity ef­forts to pre­serve the ves­sels as part of the broader her­itage of the sugar cane in­dus­try.

The re­port made rec­om­men­da­tions, with the first that if the coun­cil wanted to re­move the ferry and cane barge, the most favourable op­tion would be to re­lo­cate the ves­sels to another lo­ca­tion or fa­cil­ity with con­ser­va­tion mea­sures and in­ter­pre­ta­tion, as both ves­sels had lo­cal sig­nif­i­cance to the Clarence Valley com­mu­nity.

The DA is on dis­play at coun­cil ser­vice cen­tres and sub­mis­sions close on Wed­nes­day.


WILL IT STAY OR WILL IT GO?: The his­toric ferry at Ferry Park is sub­ject to a devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion.

A re­port rec­om­mends the most favourable op­tion would be to re­lo­cate the ves­sels to another lo­ca­tion or fa­cil­ity.

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