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Star Ferry

The "Star" Ferry Story

Martin Cresswell
 
The Star Ferry’s colourful history dates back to 1888 when Parsee merchant, Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, founded the “Kowloon Ferry Company”, using one locally built wooden steam vessel, Morning Star, carrying 50 passengers between Pedder’s Wharf and Tsim Sha Tsui. Naorojee arrived in Hong Kong in 1857 as a penniless cook and set up a bakery. He prospered after a bread poisoning incident at Ah-Lum’s bakery at the beginning of the 2nd Opium War and his growing wealth enabled him to become a prosperious Hotelier. He acquired his first vessel to transport bread from his bakery in Kowloon to Hong Kong, including himself and friends back to Kowloon after hard day’s work. In 1888, the “Kowloon Ferry Company” operated the Morning Star and Evening Stars and operated 21 crossings a day between 6am and 12pm which proved popular compared to the adhoc ferries that were the competition. To improve the service in 1889 Naorojee ordered two new vessels, a new Morning Star and Rising Star from the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Co. Both were single deck wooden steam vessels, powered by coal, that could carry 100 passengers, 50 in first class and seated which was very popular.