HK Star Ferry
Star Ferry Rides
We bimbled up the steps, used two of our many ferry tickets we were given as part of our hop-on-hop-off tour at the ticket office and settled near the stop sign.
Solar Star came in with a bump as Bear waited quietly for the stop sign to change to green. A fairly orderly queue embarked and we found a seat.
Soon we were passing Pisces and the ICC Tower.
The fishing couple whilst not as impressive as those fishing between the shipping lanes off Singapore were nonetheless brave in our eyes.
Couple in their own world bib-bobbing when big boats passed by.
We waited for Chai Wan to pass in front of us and as we approached the ferry dock it looked as if working girl, Chang Sheng was heading straight for us, but neatly skirted behind.
We pulled up alongside Central Pier.
Two chaps made quick work of our ropes.
Each ferry has her name shield hanging up both Solar Star and another girl we went on called Meridian Star were built in 1958. Amazing to think my parents and brothers would have crossed on these very girls. (They left Southampton on the 30th of December 1955 and returned on the 1st of December 1958, back from my dad’s army posting). For now, we waited for the gangplank to lower and off we went to explore Hong Kong Island.
We saw Silver Star on her way back to Kowloon, she is a fourth generation Star Ferry.
The Star Ferry's ferry crossings at Victoria Harbour are acclaimed as an important part of the commuter system between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and essential journeys for visitors. The National Geographic Traveller named the ferry crossing as one of 50 places of a lifetime. The ferry ride is also well known as one of the world’s best value-for-money sightseeing trips. Each day more than fifty thousand cross on the seven to eight minute journey (less time than the original journey since so much land reclamation has happened over the years).
The Star Ferry traces its origins to 1880 when Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, a Parsee cook, embarked on a new vocation. He began a ferry service across Victoria Harbour with his steamboat, the Morning Star. The fledgling service was known as the Kowloon Ferry Company. A local newspaper reported in 1888 that the ferry ran at all hours between Pedders Wharf and Tsimshatsui on a 40-minute to one-hour trip. On Mondays and Fridays, the service halted for the boat’s coaling. By 1890, the Kowloon Ferry boasted four single-deck Star Ferries.
With grateful thanks to The South China Morning Post who published diagrams of each generation Star Ferry with passenger numbers. About 50 on the original and a 100 on the second.
Third generation (250 passengers) and fourth generation (577 passengers).
The names of the original four vessels – Morning Star, Evening Star, Rising Star and Guiding Star – were inspired by British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar, which has the line: “Sunset and evening star, and one clear call for me!”
The four boats had a total capacity of 100 passengers. Later on, the ferries acquired a second deck. During the next ten years, businessman Sir Catchick Paul Chater bought all the boats and in May 1898 the Star Ferry Company, as it is known today, became a public company. Its name derives from the ferries, which all bore the name “Star”.
In 1912, the Star Ferry Company stirred controversy by rejecting the Canton coinage, which was, at the time, legally accepted tender alongside the Hong Kong currency. In 1933, the company made history again by launching the first diesel-electric passenger ferry, the Electric Star.
During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, invading forces commandeered two ferries to transport prisoners of war from Sham Shui Po to Kai Tak Airport. Both vessels were sunk in battles against American forces in 1943, but later recovered and fixed after the Second World War.
In 1957, the present-day, dual-level piers on either side of Victoria Harbour, designed to accommodate 55 million trips per year, were completed. The Star Ferry remained the primary means of cross-harbour transport until the Cross-Harbour Tunnel opened in 1972.
The Company celebrated its centenary in 1998. Its fleet of nine ferries is now serving two franchised ferry routes between Tsimshatsui and Central, Tsimshatsui and Wanchai. In addition to ferry services, Star Ferry launched the only licensed harbour tour in Hong Kong in July 2003.
The Star Ferry Company now employs about a hundred and seventy people to manage its nine boats, including one hundred and thirty sailors and engineering staff and forty coxswains.
In the ferry building we saw some old photographs. The Pier in the 1900’s, a second and fourth generation ferry.
Kowloon Ferry Wharf.
Meridian Star and the brightly coloured Night Star.
ALL IN ALL A BUSY BUSINESS
VERY EFFICIENT AND FUN