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A Skipper’s Notes

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so indulgent as to start off our blog on Perth City with a photo of the five of us but, we figured a little bit of context would be appropriate on this occasion.

And by the way, you can help with this… Our grand plan is to write regular instalments around the history of our beautiful city and Swan River. Hopefully you will see some semblance of order but, who knows how it will evolve..

Contributions.. the bulk of material that we post each week is sourced from a range of reference documents – and of course some from our own observations. We welcome contributions from any readers and where appropriate we will publish them on this blog. The broad aim of the exercise is to develop a live and robust collection of notes that provide some insight into our city, its history and its culture.. 

Now I’m not exactly sure where all of this will lead but if it doesn’t turn out any good then we can simply blame Bob Larkman, one of our original skippers and the guy who has done all of the work on collating a mountain of notes/commentary over the past year or so. Conversely, if it turns out alright, I’ll be taking the  credit. So lets start this – if anyone has any notes/observations about our city that they’d like to share, please email me on; [email protected]



Posting: Friday 22nd June 2018

The Journey Begins

 So, how did we get here..? 

Well it all kind of started over a BBQ and a few glasses of exquisite West Australian Cabernet Sauvignon with friends. Not surprisingly, sitting on the banks of the Swan River, the conversation moved to our beautiful Swan River and just how under-utilised it was. This was not the first time the topic had come up in conversation and nor was it the first time that I had presented the innovative solution of putting solar electric ferries on the river. 

The catalyst for action was the threat to either, drop the crazy notion or, do something about it. 

Being well versed in entrepreneurial failure I figured that I was good for  at least one more venture.. “ can never have too much colour in your life” 


Two years of planning and construction later, there we all were.. sitting onboard this beautifully crafted solar electric ferry not having a clue on how to drive it or where we were going. Looking back on it all it was like a mix of the Key Stone Cops and the Marx Brothers. We spent many weeks learning how to drive and dock the boat – much to the entertainment of local residents in Claisebrook Cove and Ascot Waters. The comedy routine loosely described as ‘training’ was an awkward blend of an imbalanced boat with questionable boat handling skills. But perseverance was the key.. we played around with the boat until it would do what we asked of it and miraculously, our boat handling skills responded to the many hours of practise.   

An interesting little aside – our official opening day was 17th March 2016 but.. John and Dale travelled all the way up from Bunbury on the train for a trip on this amazing new solar electric ferry they’d heard about, a day early.. So we took them out anyway – even though we were still in the throws of setting things up at Elizabeth Quay and preparing the boat for service. So John and Dale, you are the inaugural [non-paying] official passengers on the Little Ferry – thank you! 

This inauspicious start to our enterprise is perhaps the best introduction to who we are and what we’re all about. 



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