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New ferry named after popular former South Perth MP


Perth’s new ferry has been named the ‘MV Phillip Pendal’.

Commissioning the $1.45million vessel, Transport Minister Simon O’Brien said the name recognised the late Phillip Pendal, who represented South Perth as an MLA and MLC for 25 years in the Western Australian Parliament.

Following his retirement from Parliament in 2005, Mr Pendal became only the third person to be made an Honorary Freeman of the City of South Perth. 

Mr O’Brien said the name was chosen after a public competition.  Entries had to show some connection with the river, Perth or South Perth. 

“Among the 1,000 entries, more than 500 different names were suggested, with submissions ranging from Adam Gilchrist to Zoolabelle, and even included Bryan, Tooth and Terry,” he said. 

The name Phillip Pendal was suggested by 12 people.  The winner - Niamh Corbett-Hopkins, who receives $500 worth of SmartRider credit - was selected by lottery. 

“Niamh is a very appropriate winner,” the Minister said.  

“She works in the library at Parliament House, where Phil was such a popular figure and about which he co-authored several books.” 

Mr O’Brien said the new ferry replaced the ‘Countess II’, commissioned in 1969. 

“The ‘Countess’ was the older of the two Transperth ferries offering a seven-days-a-week service between the Barrack Street and Mends Street jetties,” he said. 

“The new ferry was built in the Henderson yard of SBF Shipbuilders.  Its specifications and design are identical to its sister ferry, the ‘Shelley Taylor-Smith’, at 21.7m long, 5.5m wide and with a capacity of 148 passengers.”


The ‘MV Phillip Pendal’ goes into service immediately. 

From May to August, the ferry makes the 1.3km crossing between Barrack and Mends streets 60 times per weekday and 54 on each of Saturday and Sunday; from September to April, it makes 80 crossings per weekday and 62 on the weekends.  Both ferries are needed to cover the summer months schedule. 

The ferries normal working life is 30 years.  The ‘Countess’ underwent a major refurbishment in 1998, which extended her useful life by 10 years. 

The ‘Countess’ has been operating as the second-string vessel since the introduction of the ‘Shelley Taylor-Smith’ in 1997.  The new ferry incorporates better levels of disability access and will enable the ‘Shelley Taylor-Smith’ to be relegated to secondary duties, thus extending her working life. 

The ‘Countess’ has already been sold. 

BACKGROUND:  The Late Phillip Pendal 

Mr Pendal was a journalist and worked on Perth’s now-defunct Daily News before entering politics.  He was first elected to the Legislative Council (South East Metropolitan Province) in 1980 and moved to the Lower House in 1993 as the Liberal member for South Perth.  He quit the Liberal Party in 1994 but remained in Parliament as an independent, retaining his seat in 1997 and again in 2001 before retiring at the 2005 election. 

In February 2006, he became one of only three people to have been made an Honorary Freeman of the City of South Perth. 

One of his books, ‘Parliament: Mirror of the People’, which he co-wrote with political analysts David Black and Harry Phillips, and which traced the history and background of WA’s elected members, was published in 2007. 

He died in May last year, aged 61. 

Speaking just after Mr Pendal’s death, Dr Phillips said he was a man of great integrity and standing, and one of the most outstanding Parliamentarians never to have held a ministry.

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