[ Issue 21 ]

Ferries intrigue Emily Bronto

For your reading pleasure Bikwil gives you Ferries


Surprise, surprise.  In this piece Fizzgig looks at ferries.  Past and present, in Sydney and in London.

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From the Back Verandah — Fizzgig


Almost since the First Fleet anchored in Sydney Cove in 1788, river and harbour ferries have been a part of the Sydney scene, with the first being built just a few months later to provide a link to the food-producing outpost at Parramatta.

become the world's biggest ferry operator, but with the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 its fortunes changed drastically. And with competition from trains, trams, buses and the family car, ferry patronage would fall even more.

All over the world the ferry cutback story was the same. Take London, for example. Before the Metropolitan Underground Railway was established in 1863, Londoners had done most of their east-west travelling by ferry.

The river journey was often accompanied, would you believe, by the quite exhilarating exchange of insulting language. According to James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (1791):

It is well known that there was formerly a rude custom for those who were sailing upon the Thames, to accost each other as they passed, in the most abusive language they could invent, generally, however, with as much satirical humour as they were capable of producing . . .

Johnson was once eminently successful in this species of contest; a fellow having attacked him with some coarse raillery, Johnson answered him thus,

“Sir, your wife, under pretence of keeping a bawdy-house, is a receiver of stolen goods.”

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