The ‘Monterey’ – now known as ‘BJ’ in her last weeks as a punt launch 1959.
The opening of the bridge wasn’t the end but the beginning of a new life for many solidly built craft used to push the punt from one side of the lake to the other.
Owned and operated by the Blows brothers, Colin and Warren, the ‘Monterey’ was the last of a line of punt launches used to push the car ferry before the bridge was opened. After being made redundant she was taken to Sydney on a semi-trailer in 1961 to start a new career.
Her new owner Baily & Jorgensen, hence her new name ‘BJ’, of Balmain had her superstructure removed and altered. She looked nothing like the craft that was so familiar to the residents and holiday makers of Forster Tuncurry instead she became a cute little tug.
After thirteen years of work with Baily & Jorgensen, Harbour Lighterage Pty Ltd of Glebe took over and she was used to take barges of timber into shallow waters in the upper reaches of the Parramatta River. She was also used as a pump boat for other barges and vessels in the fleet. In 1983 she was again made redundant and went into private ownership and remains so today.
‘BJ’ will be coming home next month after nearly 50 years of service on Sydney Harbour. Her new owner has been busy these past few weeks making her sea worthy for the trip. Follow BJ’s history making journey from Sydney Harbour to Tuncurry at www.facebook.com/BJ40N
Great Lakes Museum www.greatlakesmuseum.com