I grew up in Staten Island, NY and so, of course, the Staten Island Ferry is near and dear to my heart. Most of the ferries are named after famous Staten Island people or towns, or those who served political office such as Alice Austen (a photographer who also introduced tennis to the United States.), John F. Kennedy and Samuel I. Newhouse (the Staten Island Advance’s [S.I.’s daily newspaper] publisher from 1922 to 1979). But other vessels around the world are sometimes named a different way.
Boaty McBoatface was the most popular crowdsourced suggestion in the “Name Our Ship” poll in 2016 when a U.K. ship needed to be named (as you may recall, the people in charge decided to not use the suggestion and the Minister for Universities and Science announced that the Boaty McBoatface name would be used for the submersibles aboard Sir David Attenborough – the (rather boring – sorry, Sir David) name they wound up using for the vessel in question – instead).
Those wacky Australians, not to be outdone, finished their own “Name Our Ferry” poll and, what a surprise, Ferry McFerryface was the winner! Unlike the Brits, since the citizens of Sydney were said to have spoken (and since Boaty McBoatface was actually the Aussies’ first choice, but was already taken by the submersibles in the U.K.), the name was supposed to stick.
The country’s Maritime Union, whose members staff the ferry fleet, were said to be frustrated with what has been described as a “silly” name that’s a “joke,” as ferries have traditionally been named after Sydney’s beaches, medal-winning Olympians and other famous Aussies. However, the decision-makers said they were not changing the name. “We asked Sydney to name their new ferries, and we have listened,” said Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure in a statement. “Ferry McFerryface will be the harbour’s newest icon, and I hope it brings a smile to the faces of visitors and locals alike.”
In early 2018, Ferry McFerryface and Mr. Constance hit the headlines when it was discovered that the name was actually not ranked in the top six when voting was open to the public in the Name Your Ferry competition in 2016. And yet, at the time, the name won.
So what happened?
“He flat out lied about the competition repeatedly, saying Ferry McFerryface was the popular choice,” said Opposition Transport spokeswoman, Jodi Mckay.
In doing some investigating, it turns out that the name of environmentalist Ian Kiernan, the founder of Clean Up Australia, actually won.
Mr. Constance has never said why the boat was named Ferry McFerryface when it didn’t actually win the competition. But then this press release came from the Department of Transport and Infrastructure in early 2018:
“The vessel has been in operation since November 2017 when it was registered as Emerald 6 for maritime purposes and was branded Ferry McFerryface during the summer holiday period,” the statement said (remember that summer in Australia is when we’re experiencing winter in the northern hemisphere).
“We always intended this vessel would be named for the kids,” Mr. Constance said.
“After a summer on the harbour, Ferry McFerryface will now be renamed after prominent Australian author May Gibbs.”
Well, OK I guess.
One of my bucket list items is to go to Sydney for New Year’s Eve so I could see the fireworks. When/if that time comes, I was looking forward to finding Ferry McFerryface. So much for that. :-/
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary