||The earliest report of a ferry service
appeared in a local newspaper dated 28th December 1888: ¡§Steam
launch ¡¥Morning Star¡¦ runs daily as a ferry boat between Pedders
Wharf and Tsim Sha Tsui at the following hours (a 40 minutes
to one hour service during all hours of the day). There will
be no launch on Monday and Friday, on account of coaling."
||The ferry service was originally founded by a
prominent Parsee, Dorabjee Nowrojee, under the name of the Kowloon
Ferry Company. Some reports say it was about ten years later,
upon acquiring the total assets from Nowrojee, that the Star
Ferry Company as we know it today came into existence. Despite
the lack of detailed documentation, it would seem appropriate
that the new company took its name from the vessels it acquired,
which all bore the name ¡§Star¡¨. Some of the original names like
¡§Morning Star¡¨ and ¡§Night Star¡¨ have indeed remained to the
present day. In 1933, the company introduced the first diesel
engine ferry called "Electric Star".
||Plying across the heart of Victoria Harbour, the
ferry service in its early days charged five cents per person.
The fare is still comparatively inexpensive when considering
other methods of cross-harbour transportation.
||The history of the great Star Ferry has by no
means been crisis-free. Its sevice was hit hard in September
1906 by an almost unexpected typhoon which took away two vessels
and left the Kowloon pier beyond repair. The devastation subsequently
led the company to reconstruct the ferry wharf using a new design
¡V being parallel instead of perpendicular to the praya. The
new layout allowed ferries to berth without loss of time and
unnecessary wastage of coal.
||The Japanese invasion in 1941 marked the longest
halt of the ferry service. Despite the intense shooting and
shelling, the company did manage to run the ferries up to 10am
on 12th December under the control of the British Army to evacuate
refugees, troops and key personnel from the Kowloon peninsula.
The service was then suspended for the following forty-four
||Liberation came at a price. In 1946, the Star
Ferry found itself bereaved of three vessels with two others
having to return to the dockyard. Subsequent to this, the company
operated a joint inner harbour service with the Hong Kong and
Yaumati Ferry for a period of several months.
||In the years of 1966 and 1967 the first of the
public services affected by Territory-wide disturbances. The
political turmoil resulted in the suspension of the company¡¦s
Hunghom service, which was resumed quite some time later.
||However, just like its fleet of sturdy sea ships,
the Star Ferry managed to retain its stability even in the most
incliement weather. From the original four single-deck vessels
propelled by a single coal-fired boiler, the ferry fleet has
evolved to comprise twelve diesel-electric vessels. The two
newest additions in 1989, the 750-seat ¡§Golden Star¡¨ and ¡§World
Star¡¨ can accommodate two hundred more passengers than the traditional
ferries and has an air-conditioned upper deck cabin. Now, all
ferries in the fleet have an air-conditioned upper deck cabin.