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Maritime History

Then and now

Boats for Hire
Pleasure boating has been a feature of Bobbin Head since the 19th century when Mr Shaw built the first boatshed here.

Mr Shaw had 16 boats for hire at Bobbin Head in the mid 1890s. In those days there was no road and the only way down to Bobbin Head was on foot or horseback from Turramurra, or to catch the ferry.

Empire Marina Bobbin Head’s small boat hire fleet are available for hire every day of the year, and are a great way to explore the beautiful Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park from the water.

Ferry Services
Windybanks and The Newcastle & Hunter River Steam Navigation Company both ran regular services to Bobbin Head in the 1890s. You can still catch the ferry from Patonga or Palm Beach and arrive at Bobbin Head in time for lunch.

Sainty’s Restaurant
Visitors to the park have been able to buy refreshments here since 1905 when Mr & Mrs Sainty operated a hire boat fleet and food stall from the boatshed.

Today you have a choice of the Galley Eatery or Bobbin Inn Café.

The 20th Century
The early 20th century saw the rise in popularity of the motor car. Visitor numbers to Bobbin Head increased steadily into the 1930s and better facilities were needed to serve the public. There was a world-wide economic recession at the time and the government created jobs for the unemployed with construction grants. The Trustees of Ku-ring-gai Chase applied for one of these construction grants to re-develop Bobbin Head into a pleasure ground for future generations. The Bobbin Inn, the Rangers House and the Bobbin Head Boatshed (Empire Marina Bobbin Head) were all built using the Unemployment Relief Funds.

In 1945, a boat builder named Harald Halvorsen purchased the lease of the Bobbin Head Boatshed from E.H. Wheatley. The Halvorsen family designed and built a large fleet of hire boats which, by the 1960s, was one of the largest in the world.

As part of an overall vision for the future development of the site, Halvoren’s introduced a 140 berth floating marina before selling their lease to Empire Marinas in 2006.

Empire Marina Bobbin Head – 21st Century Boating
In a multi-million dollar re-development, Empire Marina has taken the Historic Bobbin Head Boatshed into the 21st century. Access to pristine waterways combined with the facilities the marina extends to members and guests, have created this modern marina destination.

Environmental Protection
The marina provides facilities for its customers and has and active recycling programme for all waste generated on the premises. The hardstand incorporates the latest in waste containment and environmental controls including an onsite water treatment plant. Empire Marina holds the highest level of certification in Australia’s Clean Marinas Program.

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