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SS Bee (1884): Wikis


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Career (Australia) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: SS Bee
Owner: Watson Ferry Service, Sydney (1884-?)
Robert Hayles, Townsville (1899-1901)
Builder: Unknown (Newcastle, New South Wales)
Completed: 1884
Out of service: 1901
Fate: Ran aground Picnic Bay in 1901
General characteristics
Type: Wooden Passenger/Cargo Steamship
Displacement: Net tonnage (NT) of 100 tons
Wreck Event
When lost: 1901
Reason for loss: Mechanical Failure
Cargo: Passengers and General Cargo
Wreck Location
Wreck depth: 1 meter

The SS Bee, was an Australian wooden steamship built in 1884 and wrecked in 1901.

The ship was built in 1884 in Newcastle, New South Wales for the Watson Ferry Service, who operated it on their Manly to Sydney ferry service from 1884.

Robert Hayles Snr., the owner of a resort in Picnic Bay, Magnetic Island purchased the vessel in 1899 to transport holiday makers to and from Picnic Bay from Townsville.[1] The vessel sunk in October 1900 but was re-floated and continued service for Hayles. On 17 March 1901 the ship cast off from Picnic Bay Jetty during heavy seas. Attempting to depart, the vessel's chain steerage gear became jammed. The vessel, unable to maneuver correctly, was taken broadsides by the heavy seas and washed up on the nearby beach at Picnic Bay. Efforts to save the vessel failed and within two days the vessel was deemed un-salvageable.[2]

The vessel's wreck lies on the beach at the mouth of the un-named creek at the western end of Picnic Bay. While generally not visible, the wreck is sometimes visible following extreme weather events, which erode sand from the beach revealing the wreck.[1] The SS Bee earned historical notability as the first of Robert Hayles' ferry fleet. Hayles' Magnetic Island ferry service, eventually operated under the business name Hayles Magnetic Island Pty. Ltd., serviced Magnetic Island for over 80 years and eventually came to operate a number of passenger and cargo services through ports around northern Australia.


  1. ^ a b Barnes, Tom (1997). Peaceful Isle - Story of Magnetic Island from 1860s. Underdale, Australia: Gillingham Printers Pty Ltd. pp. 116. ISBN 0646315331. 
  2. ^ Frayley, Arch; Frayley, Lorraine. A Pictorial History of Magnetic Island. pp. 123-125. 


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