Putney Punt (or Mortlake Ferry)
Map reference address: 39 Hilly Street, Mortlake, New South Wales, Australia
This diesel powered punt, running between Mortlake and Putney, is the sole remaining example of this relatively unusual means of river crossing in the Sydney Metropolitan area and, although comparatively recent in installation (c 1927) is a direct descendant of the first established passenger service in Sydney – the Bedlam cable ferry situated a little way downstream.
An earlier Ryde punt, used before 1896, was man powered.
A punt, crossing the river between Uhrs Point and Ryde Bank opposite, began in the 1830s and survived until the bridge opened in 1935.
It was established to provide a convenient form of transport for gasworkers and factory employees who worked at Mortlake and lived on the northern side of the river.
As well as being a significant element of the riverscape to generations of Australians, it also has considerable potential as a tourist attraction and transports approximately 300 vehicles per day.
There were rumours that the ferry would cease when the Ryde road bridge doubling was completed, but happily this did not happen.
Adjacent to the punt is Punt Park, a Council Bicentennial project, which has a building housing a model of the punt. Steps lead down to a serene, east-facing sandy beach.