Built in Sydney by The Manly & Port Jackson Steamship Company in 1942, Varoona played an important role in Sydney’s history. It was the barge that laid and maintained the anti-submarine boom that crossed the harbour. (History tells us a couple of diminutive subs snuck through one night.)
After the war the lighter was used as a coal barge until the 1960‘s when she chugged her way to Pittwater to begin life as a mooring lighter for Nottings Boatshed at Careel Bay.
In the 1980s Varoona did what a lot of older Sydney folks do: she moved to the Central Coast. (Indeed, we sometimes affectionately refer to our region as ‘Gods Waiting Room’.) Restored by Capt. Peter Morgan, the graceful lighter was given a compete overhaul and refit.
The current owner, Tony McCabe, purchased the business from Rob Furniss. Rob has worked on the historic barge since he was six years old. When Rob sold his share of the business to Tony - who holds a master mariner’s licence - he stayed on to help guide the old barge around (the inaptly named) Brisbane Water and as far up as Cowan Creek.