SS Sultan was the first steamship to enter the new Harbour, 4 May 1899.
In 1894 the combined service of the West Australian Steam Navigation Company and the Ocean Steamship Company placed the Sultan on the run, and she was followed by the Karakatta (Captain Talboys) in 1890. The Karakatta was lost on Swan Point at the entrance to King Sound in 1901, and she was replaced by the Minilya and the Saladin was replaced by the Charon in 1902. The following year the Paroo replaced the Australind and the Gorgon replaced the Sultan in 1908. The Minderoo entered the service in 1909 and the Centaur and Gascoyne have been more recent additions. Hitchcock: 102.
The SS Sultan entering the Harbour at formal opening in 1897. Photo from Hitchcock: 72, credited to Nixon.
The work of construction went steadily on until, on May 4, 1897, the rocky bar was sufficiently cleared away and sufficient room attained inside to enable the old steamer Sultan, of Singapore-Fremantle fame (but now long since disappeared), to steam through a narrow cut into the growing basin. The vessel was steered through the narrow rocky cut by Lady Forrest, the wife of Sir John, who saw with pride the fulfilment of his ardent dream that ocean-going ships should come inside for safety.
The entrance of the Sultan comprised the real official opening of the new harbour. Stevens, in Hitchcock: 142.
Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.
Garry Gillard | New: 10 February, 2016 | Now: 2 July, 2016