A historic former Manly ferry has sunk in Sydney Harbour after almost two decades of attempts to refurbish the vessel.

Four decades since its retirement, the 99-year-old Baragoola sank at its wharf in the lower north shore suburb of Waverton late last night.

MV Cape Don ship keeper Daniel Callender watched on as the ferry started “sinking rapidly”.

A historic former Manly ferry has sunk in Sydney Harbour.
A historic former Manly ferry has sunk in Sydney Harbour after almost two decades of attempts to refurbish the vessel. (9News)

“As I walked out the only noise was the sound of creaking timber as she slowly started settling on her side,” Mr Callender said.

Police said two people onboard fled the ferry before it rolled on its side into the harbour.

The ropes are still strapped to now straining wharf bollards.

Four decades since its retirement, the 99-year-old Baragoola sank at its wharf in the lower north shore suburb of Waverton late last night.
Four decades since its retirement, the 99-year-old Baragoola sank at its wharf in the lower north shore suburb of Waverton late last night. (9News)

“If they snap, she’ll probably settle a little further onto the seabed,” Mr Callender said.

The ferry was formerly operated by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company and its successors on the Manly service.

Once it was decommissioned, the vessel was moored at Balls Head Bay on the north side of Sydney Harbour.

MV Cape Don ship keeper Daniel Callender watched on as the ferry started "sinking rapidly".
MV Cape Don ship keeper Daniel Callender watched on as the ferry started “sinking rapidly”. (Haig Gilchrist (@ihaig72))

There have been several attempts to restore the Baragoola, including one long-running project which seemingly collapsed during COVID-19.

“(There were) holes in the top sides for quite some years, and quite frankly, I’m surprised it lasted this long,” former shipwright David Moore said.

The ferry was formerly operated by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company and its successors on the Manly service.
The ferry was formerly operated by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company and its successors on the Manly service. (Martin James Brannan/Fairfax Media)

The site is surrounded by floating booms to prevent pollution and there are now plans to remove the vessel from the bay.

He was known as ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’

“It’s like a wounded animal, and it’s in its death roll and it’s just staying there,” Mr Moore said.

Source: 9News

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