No one realised there was any danger until seconds before the Lady Ferguson hit the wall with a thud, hurling its passengers to the decks.
There were screams of fear as many of the passengers abandoned ship by stepping off into the garden of a block of flats in Waruda Street, Kirribilli.
The others stayed on board until they were taken off on to the ferry Kameruka and taken on to Taronga Park wharf.
The police launch Nemesis, under the direction of Sergeant F. G. Wellisch, arrived soon after the crash to take off an injured baby boy and his parents.
A Central District ambulance met the launch at the police boatshed. It took the boy, Shane Maries, 16 months, to Sydney Hospital, where he was treated for minor head injuries.
Five adults were taken by Central District ambulances from Taronga Park wharf to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. All except one, Mrs Ilona Folds, 51, of Charles Street, Erskineville, who had a spinal injury and shock, were allowed to leave after treatment.
They were: Mrs Sylvia Cook, 26, of Cuthill Road, Cobbitty, injured right foot; Mrs Lesley Fabian, 20, of Mepunga Street, Concord West, injured right ankle. Mrs Elsie Briers, 45, of Streeton Avenue, Mt. Pritchard, chest injury and shock. Mrs Rosa Tomininich, 33, of Glebe Street, Camperdown, leg injury.
Bow Embedded In Wall
Among those who saw the accident was Mrs B. Korff, who has a flat on the fifth floor of the block of flats in Waruda Street.
The ferry embedded its bow in the sea wall directly below Mrs Korft’s window. The distance between the building and wall is only about three feet.
Mrs Korff said she was looking from her window towards Circular Quay and noticed the Lady Ferguson crossing the Harbour.
“It was such a beautiful day, and 1 was admiring the ferry as it came across,” she said. “Naturally, I expected it to turn right as it usually does, but I soon realised it was coming too close.
“I was transfixed. I could not take my eyes off it and I knew it would hit the wall. It did, and it shook the building. It was like a mild earth tremor.
“Disgusted With Whole Affair”
“It took me a while to understand exactly what had happened. “There was confusion on the ferry and there seemed to be a large number of young children.
“Quite a lot of them were apparently disgusted with the whole affair, and left the ferry and walked away through the garden down below.” One the injured, Mrs Briers, was travelling with her son Graham, 25, his wife, Betty, 26, and their 18 month-old-son John.
“We had been planning to have a day’s outing at the zoo for weeks,” Mrs Briers said. We were up toward the front of the ferry, when everybody seemed to sense that something was wrong.
“Held Anything We Could Grab”
“We all held on to anything we could grab and Graham clutched John. When the ferry hit, we were all thrown to the deck, and I think I broke a rib.”
Mr Max Cook, aged 26, and his wife Sylvia, who was slightly injured, were also off for an afternoon at the zoo with their children Alan 4, and Carol, 10 months.
“We were outside up near the bow, when someone shouted that the ferry was going to crash into the sea wall, and we got inside as fast as we could,” Mr Cook said.
“There was a terrific crashing noise, and people began to cry out and struggle to get outside. Sylvia hurt her leg in the scramble.”
The Lady Ferguson was freed from the sea wall by reversing the engine and slewing the vessel from side to side.
Interviews By Harbour Official
Soon after the accident, the Assistant Harbour Master, Captain G. Harvey, was summoned from his home.
He interviewed Captain Kell and the two members of the ferry’s crew—an engineer and a deckhand. He also interviewed other officials and will submit a report to the Harbour Master. Captain C. W. Livingstone.
After a preliminary inquiry by the Maritime Services Board, a Marine Board of Inquiry probably will be held.
A spokesman for Sydney Harbour Ferries Pty. Ltd. said last night he would make no comment on the accident.