Artwork Description

Time on Koondooloo is an artwork of texture, shape, and colour. It features two large air vents from the ship Koondooloo. The large cogs remind me of an old watch while the metal rust barnacles look like seashells washed upon the beach.

The Koondooloo started life in Leith, Scotland in 1924. She steamed around the world to Sydney in the same year and was placed into service as a punt from North Sydney to the city. The ferry was then joined by two sister ships the Kalang and Kara-Kara. Their time was up in 1932 when the Sydney Harbour bridge was opened. Retrenched from service the Koondooloo was then converted to Sydney’s first single decked show boat in 1937. Imagine love had bloomed on the Koondooloo. Sydney couples danced their way to romance on the decks of this versatile Scottish ship.

In 1985, at Trial Bay NSW, I had spent a night to remember camping in the remains of the ferry. I awoke to a bright blue sky, red funnel, and wanning moon from my dew covered sleeping bag. While translating the photo into this artwork I noticed Koondooloo was trying to tell me her story.

In the right-hand corner, the morning light has cast a shape, half a heart on the rusted roof. Fittingly the other half of the heart gives way to a bright moon and the colour red in the air vent. The show boat era was successful for Koondooloo and she was soon joined by her sister ship the Kalang on Sydney Harbour.

All this changed again in 1942 when she was commissioned for Army use in WW2. After the war ended she was converted back to a car ferry and used in the Newcastle to Stockton crossing. In 1972 the ferries were being towed to Manilla to be scrapped. They had been sheltered in Trial Bay to avoid a storm off the coast in January. Three ferries ended up grounded in the shallow bay, and the Koondooloo was washed onto the beach as her final resting place.


Acrylic on hardboard and pine frame, finished with 3 coats satin acrylic varnish

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Ready to hang

This artwork is ready to hang.

Rodney Black

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