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02 February 2011

Moggill Ferry belongs in museum

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale has dived into the debate about the Moggill Ferry, saying it should be consigned to a museum.

Moggill Ferry captain Greg Mole (left) and former
skipper Frank Dobias stayed on board the ferry during
the flood crisis to ensure its safety.

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale has dived into the debate about the Moggill Ferry, saying it should be consigned to a museum.

The continual closure of Colleges Crossing due to flooding and water released from Wivenhoe Dam has refloated talk about the ferry and the need for another bridge.

State MP Wayne Wendt said a higher bridge at Colleges Crossing would be too expensive and suggested the Moggill Ferry site as an alternative.

Cr Pisasale agreed this week, arguing the 131-year-old cable ferry across the Brisbane River belonged with other relics of the past.

"If you're going to put a bridge in, it would have to replace the Moggill Ferry," Cr Pisasale said.

"People say it's an icon; well, we've got a museum to put it in so it won't be forgotten.

"It's got to be done sooner rather than later.

"The cost of a bridge at Colleges Crossing and the fact that it would take away from the recreation area would be too high."

The Department of Transport and Main Roads did not respond yesterday to questions from The Queensland Times about the ferry.

Stradbroke Ferries owns the vessel and operates it on behalf of the state government.

Stradbroke Ferries chief executive David Thomson was not available for comment yesterday.

The sometimes-maligned, sometimes-admired ferry was part of a heroic tale last week as captain Greg Mole and former skipper Frank Dobias told The Queensland Times of their efforts to save the vessel during the floods.

They said they evoked the spirit of the State of Origin when they heard of plans to sink the ferry at the height of the flood crisis,

"That was never an option for me. No bloody way," Mr Mole said.

"When we heard that they were thinking of sinking it, I said that you can't drop the ball midway through the second half."

Last year, Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully floated the proposal to scuttle the Moggill Ferry and build a new bridge.

At the time, Cr Tully said the ferry that crosses the river from Riverview to Moggill was "a relic of our past".

"It originally linked the two fledgling suburbs on either side of the Brisbane River in bygone days when Cobb & Co coaches plied the route from Brisbane to Ipswich," Cr Tully said.

"I have been advocating getting rid of it since the day I became a councillor. The fact is it breaks down, it closes down at six every night, it's closed for maintenance twice a year and it can't operate in floods."

Dr Bruce Flegg, State Member for Moggill said the ferry was "part of our heritage" and replacing it with a bridge would further overload Moggill Road.

"Moggill Road is already at 100 per cent capacity. What is the point of a bridge to nowhere?" Dr Flegg said.

"People say it's an icon; well, we've got a museum to put it in so it won't be forgotten."

www.QT.com.au

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