The Emerald Star’s keel was laid on the Central Coast (Brooklyn) in 1939 as a fishing trawler and it was during this wartime period that the original builders fell upon hard times abandoning the project until Stan Hegarty purchased the partly completed hull and had his foreman, Charlie Shannon and Shipright, Bill Taylor commuting between Sydney and the Central Coast weekly by train to take the hull thru to a stage when it was suitable to be towed to Sydney.


The Hegarty ferry, Sunrise Star towed the craft to Hegarty’s Drummoyne home where it was fitted out by AG Williams and launched in 1942. It started harbour ferry service operations from Lavender Bay to Circular Quay #2 Wharf and operated as Hegarty Ferry, servicing Circular Quay to Inner Harbour wharfs. The following outlines the full history of the cruiser.



Powered by 45HP Atlas diesel ran speed trials for the Military, successfully carrying 155 troops at a speed of 7.8 knots. Ran as ferry service during the war years to Military bases in Sydney and after this maintained a regular ferry commuter service to inner Harbour wharfs.


Papers show vessel jointly owned by Beatrice & Leonard Hegarty, then later N.D Hegarty & Sons Pty Ltd.


First Vessel in the Southern Hemisphere to be fitted with an ‘Air Cooled Engine’


Carried spectators for entry of training ship Dewarutji


Emerald Star stolen and smashed into barge, under the Northern Bridge pylon


Included Luna Park / Milson’s Point ferry service


Ceased operations as a ferry


Began Private Charter service under the control of the McLoughlin family


Emerald Star purchased by current owner Les Meyer


Underwent a major re-fit with refurbishment to starboard forward area when temporary repairs made during 1960’s after being hit by another ferry, inner stem replaced, 50 years of paint removed from saloon deckhead exposing excellent aged Australian Cedar.


Operating on Sydney Harbour on day of arrival of Queen Elizabeth II for her final visit & departure of the new Cunard Liner Queen Victoria.


VIP vessel for the Festival of Sydney, Cockatoo Island Spectacular


Emerald Star accepted into the Australian Register of Historic Vessels No: HV 000325


The Emerald Star is carvel planked timber construction, sheer line stepped at bulwarks for aft open deck. approx 50 tonnes, single deck with raked stem currently powered by Grey Marine ( Detroit ) 671 Diesel, dry stacked c/w Twin Disc hydraulic gearbox with 75mm main shaft and hydraulic steering. Approximate top speed 12 knots of note is the lack of wake whilst underway at cruising speeds.


Click here to access our entire photo gallery where you can see more images of Emerald Star dating back to 1942.