What’s the plan for Ferry Park?
Park ferry and cane barge may be moved
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.