Built in Newcastle in 1970, Victoria Star was formerly the Lady McKell a member of Sydney’s fleet of famous harbour ferries. She was named in honour of the wife of Sir William McKell, a former Governor General of Australia. Lady McKell was employed to ferry commuters to and from Circular Quay to Mosman and during off peak times to provide scenic harbour cruises for tourists.
Winner of the great ferry race on three occasions, Lady McKell is fondly remembered by the millions of passengers who travelled on her throughout her quarter century of service on Sydney Harbour.
Finally made redundant in 1993, Lady McKell was auctioned off for further service in Hong Kong. This plan never eventuated and she was all but abandoned in Rozelle Bay until sold to Captain Leigh Doeg in 1998.
Leigh had from his early years been in love with heritage ships and boats. From the age of eighteen he volunteered in the restoration of the Polly Woodside and in 1979 Leigh acquired the Sydney Steam Tug Wattle and delivered her to Melbourne. Founding Bay Steamer Maritime Museum, he brought together a dedicated team of enthusiasts to restore the Wattle back to steam.
Wattle entered service as a hospitality vessel, licensed to carry 65 passengers in 1985. For the next twelve years Leigh successfully managed her operation and crewed on board, gaining his Masters certificate in 1989. During her hay Day Wattle conducted over 180 cruises annually bringing fun, wonder and excitement to tens of thousands.
Leigh’s vision for the Lady McKell was a “Wattle on Steroids”!
Now in Melbourne, an extensive refurbishment has dramatically transformed the Lady McKell into the VICTORIA STAR – MELBOURNE’S CLASSIC CRUISE SHIP