Messing about in boats

The Dictionary never loses sight of the fact that Sydney is a maritime city, and two articles in the latest batch flesh out some of the different kinds of ships that have plied the harbour since the Europeans arrived.

The tug Hero towing Pamir to Sydney Heads, 1947 photograph by Max Dupain, National Library of Australia nla.pic-an21125310

Randi Svensen’s Tugboats is a lively account of this indispensable trade, which has been crucial to Sydney’s working port since 1831. A number of families worked their tugboats over generations, and built lasting businesses and reputations.  Some of the tugs themselves became celebrated icons of perseverance and survival, like the Hero, a tug whose 70-year career included over 3 years underwater.

Where the tugs mostly stayed inside the harbour, Sydney’s whaling fleet ranged far and wide, returning to port for processing, refitting, resupplying and leisure of many kinds. Mark Howard’s article shows just how economically important whaling was to the young city, and links the industry to many Sydney personalities and places.

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About Emma Grahame

Emma Grahame has been Editorial Coordinator of the Dictionary of Sydney since May 2007.
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