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Journeys : October November 2009
†RACT Member's discount available on Passenger, 4WD and Light Truck Bridgestone and Firestone branded tyres. Discount applies off the best negotiated or advertised price†. SAVE $5 www.bridgestoneselect.com.au HOBART 91-93 Argyle St > 6234 3344 LAUNCESTON 119-123 Invermay Rd > 6334 4011 MOONAH 1 Chesterman St > 6272 8111 HUONVILLE 6 Main Rd > 6264 1022 ULVERSTONE 1 South Rd > 6425 2011 SHOW YOUR RACT CARD AND SAVE SHOW YOUR RACT CARD & SAVE $5 ON EVERY BRIDGESTONE AND FIRESTONE TYRE. In Febr uary 1959, I became the first staff member when R ACT opened a branch office at 43 Esplanade (now For mby Road) in Devonport. The office was established primarily in readiness for the introduction of Australia's first roll-on roll-off passenger and freight ser vice across Bass Strait with Princess of Tasmania. The Princess was ow ned and operated by the Australian National Line and was a revolutionary design, eagerly anticipated as the replacement for the more traditional vessel Taro o n a . The ship sailed from her ter minal at Webb Dock in Melbour ne and after an overnight voyage, berthed at the purpose-built facility at East Devonport on 24 September 1959. The first commercial voyage left Melbour ne on 2 October 1959 and arrived in Devonport next day. Thus began a thrice-weekly crossing of Bass Strait with Princess in Devonport each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. My introduction to the ship began on the first day, opening an office for the R ACT on the first floor of the new terminal building. There were two other similar offices, one for the Tasmanian Government Railways and one for the Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau. Fifty years on for RACT Devonport and the Princess of Tasmania Judith Longhurst The two gangways to the ship were also positioned from this level. Only drivers were per mitted in the vehicle deck. Passengers embarked or disembarked via the overhead gangways. The ground floor provided an office for the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, the ship's appointed passenger agents. Telephones and toilets were also located nearby and a large stair way accessed the floor above. There were no lifts. A gatehouse accommodated offices for the Ter minal Superintendent, freight agents and Department of Agriculture. All passenger and freight vehicles accessed the marshalling area from this building, prior to boarding the ship via the vehicle deck ramp. My RACT role was exciting and varied and it was a wonderful experience being involved in such a challenging and rewarding adventure for Tasmania. Providing tourist information and general assistance was the primary focus. At night I checked that Tasmanian motorists had additional third party insurance for mainland travel. Tasmania's third party insurance at this time was limited, whereas the mainland states had unlimited liability. It took a change in legislation for this insurance anomaly to be cor rected. R ACT, through their insurance company, Club Motor Insurance, could provide a policy prior to departure. The difference that Princess of Tasmania made to many facets of life, especially tourism, cannot be underestimated. In 1959, motels were the latest 'must-have' and Tasmania had three -- in Lindisfarne, Bicheno and Boat Harbour Beach. Others were under constr uction around the state and new ventures catering for tourists began to open. The Tasman Highway was largely unsealed, the Murchison Highway not finished and visitors often spoke about travelling on the floating arch bridge across the Der went. In Bur nie, the Emu Bay Railway Company's service taking passengers and their vehicles to Rosebery proved to be a popular alternative to travelling the Lyell Highway both ways. Fifty years on, I have happy memories of Devonport a nd Princess of Tasmania. Judith in her first RACT uniform; Princess arrives in the Mersey In Tasmania today October / November 09 46
August September 2009
Dec Jan 2010