Launched in 1912, Kanangra is a big steel hulled double-ended ferry designed to carry more than 1,000 passengers.  She was Sydney Ferries’ 44th vessel and her construction included a riveted steel hull with five watertight bulkheads and a timber superstructure. A locally built triple expansion steam main engine was installed with steam provided by two coal burning ‘Gunboat’ style horizontal boilers. Electric light was installed and auxiliaries included two Rogers horizontal steam steering engines (one in each wheelhouse). On trials, Kanangra attained a speed of nearly 13.5 knots.

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Kanangra’s last day in revenue service as a steamer was in May 1959 bringing Cockatoo Island Dockyard workers back to Circular Quay. The main engine and steam auxiliaries were removed and an 8-cylinder Crossley diesel engine and 3 diesel generator sets were installed. The funnel was replaced with a much shorted version. The boilers were gutted and converted to serve as large diesel fuel tanks for the new diesel engines.

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Kanangra would continue serving the people of Sydney as a motor ship for another 25 years.