Kangaroo and its replacement, Lurgurena, 1926 (W.L. Crowther Library, SLT)

Kangaroo was the first steamship built in Tasmania specifically for use as a vehicular ferry, between Hobart and Bellerive. The 110-foot, 109 gross ton paddle steamer was a twin-hulled catamaran, designed by Lt-Governor William Denison in about 1850 and completed in 1855. Not a financial success under government management, she was soon sold, but maintained the trans-Derwent ferry service from 1864 until 1903 under owner-master James Taylor, then the O'May brothers. She was replaced by the much larger Lurgurena in 1926.

The Kangaroo sank at her Bellerive moorings in 1928 and was later demolished, but many fittings are held by the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and in private collections as souvenirs of the vessel known affectionately, because of her twin hulls, as 'Old Double Guts'.

Further reading: G Cox, Ships in Tasmanian waters, Hobart, 1971; D O'May, Ferries of the Derwent, Hobart, 1988.

Graeme Broxam