New Parramatta River Class Ferry arrives in Sydney, ready to begin service
March 24, 2024

The first new Australian built Parramatta River Class ferry has just arrived in Sydney after passing the ultimate sea test, crossing the Bass Strait.

This is the first of seven new Northern Beaches-designed vessels being built by Hobart-based ship builder Richardson Devine Marine.


These ferries will be a significant improvement on ferries procured by the former government that did not fit under some bridges with passengers on the top deck, contained asbestos, were a potential fire risk and had wheelhouse windows that made night operations dangerous.


The next ferry in the new Parramatta River Class fleet is just a few weeks behind and is expected to commence builder’s trials in early May.


The seven new vessels will replace the RiverCat and SuperCat vessels which will be retired after 30 years of service.


Each vessel in the new Parramatta River Class fleet will have a 200-person capacity, while using 40 per cent less diesel and are also future proofed for conversion to electric propulsion when the technology and network infrastructure become available.


They’ll be more reliable and include more comfortable seating, upgraded safety systems and provide greater accessibility.


A team of 60 people is working to build the remaining six vessels which are expected to enter passenger service over the course of the next 18 months.


This new ferry covered a total of 630 nautical miles, stopping at Flinders Island and Eden on its way to Sydney with a crew of four expert mariners steering the vessel safely on its maiden trip. She passed through the Sydney Heads at 8:30pm last night.   


Following her arrival, the Frances Bodkin will now be thoroughly cleaned and conduct further sea trials to ensure she's ship-shape, before the first passengers hop on board in the next few weeks.


Frances Bodkin will predominantly run in the calm river conditions of the F3 route, between Parramatta and Circular Quay.

Quotes attributable to Premier Chris Minns:

“The people of Parramatta and all those who travel on the Parramatta Rivier will finally have access to brand new safe and reliable ferries that they always deserved.


“This state-of-the-art Australian-designed, Australian-made vessel is just weeks away from passenger service and we couldn’t be more excited for people to be able to jump onboard.


“This is the first of a fleet of new ferries which will give passengers more reliable services, more comfortable seating, more accessibility and upgraded safety systems.”


Quotes attributable to Transport Minister Jo Haylen:

“It’s exciting to see the first ferry in our new Parramatta River Class fleet enter the Sydney heads and prepare to serve passengers in the coming weeks.”

“This state-of-the-art fleet is Australian-designed and Australian-made and we’re looking forward to seeing them come into service this year.”


“We think passengers are going to be very impressed when they take their first ride on the Frances Bodkin. If she can conquer the Bass Strait, she’s going to be brilliant on the Parramatta River.”


Quotes attributable to Transport for NSW Project Director Tony New:

“We couldn’t be happier with how the first build has gone at Richardson Devine Marine in Hobart and the quality will be on show for passengers to see in a few weeks.

“Having the ship builder, designer, operator and Transport for NSW work so collaboratively has ensured the project so far has been smooth sailing and passengers will benefit from that very soon.

“We’re on track for the second vessel to commence builder’s trials by early May and to have the first two ferries plying their trade on the Parramatta River is such quick succession will be a big win for the community.”