7 December 2006

The University of Queensland will officially thank the proprietors and others associated with the Dutton Park ferry service at a special ceremony on Thursday, December 14.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay, AC, and Secretary and Registrar, Douglas Porter, will host a morning tea from 10.30am under the poinciana trees opposite the ferry terminal on Sir William McGregor Drive at UQ’s St Lucia campus.

“The Dutton Park ferry service has made travel safe and convenient for generations of UQ students and staff,” Professor Hay said.

“Thousands of people will remember the courteous drivers of the Pamela Sue, Loyalty and Vicky Lynn as part of their University lives.”

The service will be discontinued on December 17 this year with the commissioning of the new Eleanor Schonell Bridge spanning the Brisbane River between St Lucia and Dutton Park.

Attendees at the morning tea will include Robert (Bob) Kent and wife, Del, proprietors of the service since its inception almost 40 years ago.

According to Mr Kent, UQ’s Student Union had convinced Lord Mayor Clem Jones of the need for the service through a 4000-signature petition but six months after the service began in March 1967, numbers of passengers were well short of expectations.

“It turns out the petition had been gathered largely at the Regatta Hotel as a bit of a prank,” Mr Kent said.

“We took over the service with a subsidy from the Council but in the days since, it has more than paid for itself.

“The passage of time has proven that the students got it right and Clem Jones was right to get us to build ferry vessel Pamela Sue – our first boat for the Dutton Park crossing.”

The service grew from a fare of five cents, limited running hours and 300 passengers a day in 1967 to two boats, a fare of $1.40, four captains on staff, 1900 passengers per day and crossings from 6.30am until 9.55pm, five days a week.

Media inquiries: Shirley Glaister at UQ Communications (3365 1931).