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Lifestyle : Harbour
1HERSA1 S004 Oysters at the Fish Market, night out in Darling Harbour, yum cha in Chinatown, visit www.sydneylightrail.com.au for a day pass 30% discount voucher (RRP $9). www.sydneylightrail.com.au DISCOVER SYDNEY... BY TRAM Kitty 93 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Phone: 02 9252 4600 Fax: 9252 4286 www.stamford.com.au/sscq IN THE HEART OF THE CITY PLUS! MENTION THIS ADVERTISEMENT WHEN BOOKING AND RECEIVE 10% OFF! CLEBRTEC RSM Celebrate this much-loved tradition with family and friends. Feast on a tantalising fourcourse menu including a delicious array of seafood for each table and a two and a half hour beverage package starting at 12.30pm. The Christmas Experience from 12.30pm to 3.00pm $165.00 Per person | $60.00 Per Child (aged between 5 - 12 years Saturday, 25th December 2010 | Bookings are essential Book now on 02 9252 4600 or email email@example.com A8101-191110 4 HARBOUR Friday, November 19, 2010 smh.com.au A vibrant workspace The city's waterways are alive with industry and commerce, writes James Manning. Ship to shore . . . marine pilots assist in guiding vessels to their port. Photo: Kate Geraghty There's nothing like piloting a big passenger ship into Sydney Harbour at sunrise.' Alex Amos, senior marine pilot You don't need to search high and low for evidence of Sydney Harbour's rich maritime heritage. A wide range of commercial activity still takes place on the harbour, including naval operations, tug services, shipwrights, marinas for berthing and repairing vessels, ferry services and tourism. Two industries with particularly interesting histories are those of the harbour pilots and seaplane operators. They stretch back respectively 200 and 100 years into the city's past. Believe it or not, marine pilot is one of the oldest professions in the world. Ever since shipping became a form of transport, people have relied on local experts to guide ships into harbours the world over. Maritime pilotage can be traced back to ancient Greece, where local fishermen helped captains guide their ships into port. Pilots have existed in Sydney Harbour since shortly after settlement, when mariners would assist ships into port. Robert Watson, after whom Watsons Bay is named, was appointed the first official pilot of Port Jackson in 1811. These days, Sydney's senior marine pilot is Alex Amos, who has worked on ships for nearly 50 years, having gone to sea at just 16. Amos, 64, became a pilot 25 years ago after leaving the merchant navy to be closer to home. ''There's nothing like piloting a big passenger ship into Sydney Harbour at sunrise,'' he says. The historic pilot station at Watsons Bay, which had been in operation for much of the 200-year- plus history of marine pilotage in the harbour, closed two years ago when the majority of shipping in Sydney moved to Botany Bay. In spite of this, pilot operations continue to prove invaluable for the harbour, which remains busy despite the relocation of the shipping industry. Although they are now based in Botany, the pilots maintain operations at Moores Wharf in Walsh Bay. About 99 per cent of ships that come into Sydney are now foreign- flagged and even though the international shipping language is English, many crews do not speak the language. While Amos enjoys meeting people from all walks of life who have similar interests to himself, he says there is sometimes a language barrier between pilots and crews. ''There's a lot of risk to it and a lot of effort goes into managing that risk. If we stuff up, the consequences can be pretty big -- from oil spills to destroying port infrastructure.'' Despite talk of investing in shore- based piloting, Alex is confident that pilot boats will always be a necessity in the harbour. ''After weeks at sea, the last thing [ship masters] are attuned todoisbringashipinandoutof port,'' he says. Philip Dulhunty is another man who is confident his life passion will continue to have a strong hold on Sydney for years to come. The 86-year-old WWII veteran has been flying seaplanes in the harbour for more than half a century and still flies his Cessna 180 floatplane between his properties on the harbour and Tilba Tilba Lake. The history of seaplanes in Sydney dates back to 1893, when Australian aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave experimented with steam-powered seaplanes at Rose Bay. The attempts at flight were not successful but they paved the way for a long tradition of flying boats and seaplanes on Sydney Harbour. Fast forward to the 1930s and the flying boats of the British Empire were operating the kangaroo route to Australia, reducing travel time and making Rose Bay Australia's first international airport. ''Rose Bay was the cradle of international aviation as far as Australia was concerned,'' Dulhunty says. Rose Bay also played host to Sunderlands and Catalinas during WWII, which specialised in dropping mines. But the war also saw the closure of the kangaroo route and seaplanes increasingly became viewed as merely a tourist attraction. However, with a faster flight time and a cost comparable with land- based airlines, seaplanes are an increasingly popular choice for commuters travelling between Sydney and Newcastle, says the managing director of Sydney Seaplanes, Aaron Shaw. ''In Newcastle, we land right in the middle of town,'' Shaw says. ''People don't have to travel out to an airport on the fringe of a city.'' The resurgence of seaplanes will continue because of the closure of airfields, Dulhunty says. ''There's going to be a great need for seaplanes if the government keeps closing all the airports,'' he says. SPECIAL REPORT