Close message Scootle has stopped supporting resources that use the Adobe Flash plug-in from 18 Dec 2020. Learning paths that include these resources will have alerts to notify teachers and students that one or more of the resources will be unavailable. Click here for more info.

Image Model of the Princess of Tasmania passenger ferry, 2004

TLF ID M000838

This is a model of the Bass Strait passenger ferry 'Princess of Tasmania', in a perspex case. It was made from wood and perspex by Iain Scott-Stevenson for the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, in 2004. The model is finely finished, complete with decks, lifeboats, radio masts and deck equipment. The hull is beige and the decks light tan, and it sits on a black base. It is 185 mm high x 609 mm wide x 137 mm deep.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This model represents the Australian-built vessel Princess of Tasmania, which revolutionised tourist travel across Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport when introduced in 1959.
  • The federal government agreed to build the ship to meet an increased demand from tourist passengers wishing to travel to Tasmania with their cars. The ferry was built for the Tasmanian service but was operated by the Australian National Line.
  • It was the popularity of the Princess of Tasmania service that brought about the term 'sea road', meaning that vehicles could almost travel between Victoria and Tasmania by road. It also helped to make Tasmania a popular tourist destination.
  • The roll-on roll-off feature on the Bass Strait passenger ferry Princess of Tasmania enabled cars and trucks to drive straight onto the vessel via a large loading rear door. Before this, taking vehicles onboard was a laborious process. The steam passenger ship Taroona had provided a twice-weekly return service from Melbourne, but cars had to be lifted in slings onto the Taroona's deck with two onboard cranes. They were then loaded into two holds for transportation. During busy periods vehicles were also carried as deck cargo near the stern of the ship.
  • The first purpose-built roll-on roll-off ferry to be built was the Bardic in 1957, which ran between England and Northern Ireland. Australian shipping companies were nevertheless among the first to use the roll-on roll-off technique, with the Bass Trader, Princess of Tasmania and Troubridge being built in Australia between 1959 and 1961.
  • The Princess of Tasmania was built at the State Dockyard at Newcastle, New South Wales, and launched on 13 December 1958. At that point it was both the largest passenger vessel to have been built in Australia and the longest roll-on roll-off service in the world.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Person: Iain Scott-Stevenson
  • Description: Author
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Curriculum Corporation and Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences 2010 (except where otherwise indicated). You may view, display, print out, copy and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.