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from Tinderbox to Bruny



In 1943 Captain Miley began running the Gayclite between Dennes Point and Snug Jetty. This was soon changed to Tinderbox. Buses met the ferry at both terminii. In 1947 the route was taken over by Geoff and Ken Woolley. The Gayclite was sold after the vehicular ferry began running. It is now known as the Huon Islander. In that time the Woolleys travelled 90,000 miles and carried 100,000 people. Her fastest crossing was 6 minutes, her longest, 2 hours.

Their mother, Mrs (or Nurse) Shaw did on occasion have to go down to the jetty on a dark night with a lantern to guide them in. Ken went on to become an engineer on the Melba and Mangana.


Geoff also took over the “luggage run”, but he only carried luggage as he said the horse had enough to do without carrying people. Ferry passengers had to walk.

In September 1950 T Murphy had the passenger bus service between Lunawanna and Dennes Point with connecting links between Simpsons Bay, Adventure Bay and Barnes Bay. It connected with the passenger ferry from Dennes Point and was met by bus from Tinderbox.


In May 1952 Ken was fortunate that he did not lose his foot after his shoe laces dropped through the propeller shaft casing and engaged the whirling shaft. His foot and leg were dragged onto the shaft and when he attempted to extricate himself his hand also caught. He was taken to Tinderbox and then to hospital in a police car.

Vi Woolley used to have a hot urn of coffee waiting at the jetty on a Friday night for those coming off the steamer from Hobart. It was very welcome and used to coast sixpence a mug.

Most people who used the ferry had a story, whether it was the running jump to catch her as she left the jetty or the midnight trip to take a sick passenger across.

-Suzanne Smythe


Pictures- Gayclite with the Woolleys and Violet and Ken Woolley with his mother Mrs Shaw

first published Facebook, June 16, 2020