WYONG – the passenger ferry

I found a better quality image of the passenger ferry Wyong which was built, owned and operated by my great-grandfather Thomas GASCOIGNE (1856-1923). You can read more about the Gascoigne family in my post The Gascoignes of Wyong Shire.

The Wyong_Gascoigne

The passenger ferry ‘Wyong’ was built, owned and operated on Tuggerah Lakes by Thomas Gascoigne. [Photo circa 1915: Miss Dorothy Garratt, Epping]

The picture shows the pleasure boat, the ‘Wyong‘, moored on the bank of Tuggerah Lake and loaded with passengers and holiday-makers from Sydney. The ‘Wyong‘ was one of several launches that could be hired by picnicking parties for transport down the Wyong River and across the water to The Entrance and other parts of the lake.

The ‘Wyong’ was designed to carry about fifty passengers and had a draught shallow enough to negotiate the sand bar at the mouth of the Wyong River and the sea grass beds of the lake. At first it was fitted with a single cylinder, long stroke 8 horse-power petrol motor which was not powerful enough to give a good performance when fully-loaded. About 1915 a much more powerful six cylinder Hercules engine was fitted.

About 1918 it was sold and taken north and used on the Myall Lakes and in the Tea Gardens–Port Stephens area. It was last seen as derelict – lying in the mud bank at Tea Gardens about 1936 – a most undignified end to the beautiful craft that had given great pleasure to many happy picnickers.

The ‘Wyong’ was usually moored inside the breakwater at Pipeclay Point, Gorokan near Thomas GASCOIGNE’s home. The old rusting anchor chain could still be seen moored to the big rocks during the 1980s.

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Sources: Gascoigne: an English-Australian Family History by Robert Mortimer GASCOIGNE; A Pictorial History of Wyong Shire, Vol I by Edward STINSON.


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