The first European to make a permanent home on Bruny Island was James Kelly, the Hobart Harbor pilot. James Kelly made his mark on history by being the first man to circumnavigate Tasmania in an open whale boat. He is also remembered by history for the discovery of Macquarie Harbour. Like many others at the time Kelly made his fortune in "Bay Whaling" from the camps on the shores of Bruny Island.
As land was cleared and agriculture thrived on Bruny and up the Huon river and new breed of boat men grew. Sailing ketches ferried produce, people, mail and hardware to Bruny as well as up the Channel and to the Huon River settlements
One of these was a very small affair. The ferry operating from Three Hut Point at Gordon to Sheepwash Bay on South Bruny was a 3 metre boat driven by sail and oar. The ferryman was one George Davis who rowed the couple of miles carrying passengers between the three pubs at Gordon and their homes on South Bruny.
The first full time vehicle ferry to Bruny Island was the S.S. Melba which ran between Kettering and Barnes Bay from 1954 to1961. After she was retired from the Bruny run she often worked as a replacement ferry if the others needed to be repaired.
In 1983 the Mangana was replaced by the Harry O'May . The replacement of the Mangana co-incided with a change in the ferry route to Bruny Island. A new landing platform was constructed at Roberts Point on Bruny and the shorter route cut the time of the ferry trip from Kettering to Bruny by more than half.
In 1991 the current Bruny Island ferry, the Mirambeena took over as Bruny Island's ferry and has been doing a fantastic job every since.
Text, Information & vintage photos sourced from the Bruny Island Ferry Website: http://www.brunyislandferry.com/