'Lady Napier' quarter block ship model
Since 1861, ferries have provided a faster and more reliable means of transport for residents along Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River, helping to play an important role in the growth and development of such suburbs as Manly, Mosman, Circular Quay and Balmain. This half-ship model of the SS 'Lady Napier' represents the type of ferries that serviced the Balmain run, the only south shore ferry service which has continued uninterrupted to the present day.
The 'Lady Napier' was the second ferry commissioned in a series of 'Lady' vessels (after the 'Lady Mary' 1892) and is a class of ferry which is still in use today. The 'Lady' series, as shown with the 'Lady Napier', were double-ended ferries that characterised the refined operation of the double-ended type. They marked the beginning of the mainstay of ferry operations and also act as a legacy for Norman Selfe, the designer of the first double-ended screw ferry (the 'Wallaby'), who was to be succeeded by the eventual pioneer of this design, Walter Reeks.
The 'Lady Napier' was built in Sydney and attests to a once vibrant shipbuilding industry that operated on the shores of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River, while this particular model, also made in Sydney, is an excellent example of the model making abilities and ingenuity of the Scottish expatriate shipwright, James Scott.
Ship models such as this one were made for shipbuilders to assist in their full-scale construction, helping to provide the builder with an idea of the vessel's fittings, riggings and sail plans, as well as helping to show the ratio of length to beam and the fining of her entry and stern. This ship model also acts as a legacy of the SS 'Lady Napier' which was disposed of in 1934.
Andrews, G., "A Pictorial History of Ferries: Sydney and Surrounding Waterways" (Sydney, 1982) p.116
Andrews, G., "Ferries of Sydney" (Sydney, 1994) pp.39, 90 & 110
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, "Norman Selfe", http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A060115b.htm (Downloaded 24/4/2007)