The First Charter Fishing Boat by Gordon PetersenThe first charter fishing boat to operate out of Sydney Harbour was the SS Gosford II. She was owned by Mackenzie & Petersen Pty Ltd who also had a subsidiary company Hawkesbury Steamship Company Ltd, and SS Gosford II operated under that flag.
Fishing party with Axel Petersen standing at the mast circa 1935.SS Gosford II transported general cargo from Sydney to Gosford and Woy Woy in Brisbane Waters, and to Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River where she would transfer general cargo to another one of their fleet, the Surprise, and transport back to Sydney fruit from the areas orchards which had been picked up by the Surprise.
The SS Gosford II was also capable of taking passengers on its coastal voyages.
In 1934 the largest sporting goods store in Sydney was Mick Simmons who were located in the Haymarket area of Sydney, they had a large fishing department. Due to the cost and availability of recreational vessels capable of going to sea being few, Mick Simmons chartered SS Gosford II from Mackenzie & Petersen on the first Sunday of every month to take anglers to sea fishing.
MV Mackpete works timber in Rozelle Bay about 1960.This was good for Mick Simmons as they sold the offshore tackle to the anglers and made a commission on the charter rate, it was also good for Mackenzie & Petersen who had work for SS Gosford II on its only day off its normal weekly work.
Crewing was either by the owners or crew (who loved fishing) on their day off.
In 1938 the end of SS Gosford II came as a coastal vessel, due to pressure from road and rail transport. The owners converted her into a steam lighter. She worked in the harbour until the owners had Bjarne Halvorsen build them a diesel tug MV Mackpete in 1958. SS Gosford II was sold for scrap in 1960.
In 1955 at the tender age of 15 I left school and went to work on the SS Gosford II as a deckhand, among many of her crew who had been on board for 20-plus years.