With over 30 000 crossings between Thursday Island and Seisia, Peddells is the most experienced passenger ferry operator in Torres Strait.
Lesley and Jim Peddell (shipwright) were born and bred on Thursday Island, their Torres Strait family ties date back many generations. After years of commercial and recreational diving, fishing and sailing the Straits Jim and Lesley recognised the growing need for a regular passenger service to link the top of the Cape with Thursday Island. Peddells launched the first privately owned and operated scheduled ferry run between Thursday Island and the Seisia in 1979.
Passenger Ferry: Peddells first vessel on this run was MV Kirsty a 33ft cruiser, built on Thursday Island, she cruised at the relaxing pace of just 6 knots. Next came Powercat 30 ft Eljay complimented by 60 ft timber cruiser MV Spirit of Torres, all vessels were superceded in 2000 by custom built ‘MV Strait Magic’ a 17 m 80 passenger high speed catamaran with ‘MV Torres Magic’ the 20m 120 passenger catamaran is the latest addition to the fleet. The ‘MV Torres Magic’ offers a mechanised system for luggage handling, onboard kiosk, Nespresso coffee machine, air-conditioned cabins on both decks as well as sun deck seating on the bow and greater wave reach for a more comfortable ride. Tourism and maritime transport pioneers, Peddells have brought passenger services in Cape York & Torres Strait to equal those found any where else in the world.
Bus Tours: Keen to share their island’s history and culture with visitors Peddells launched Thursday Island guided historic bus tours . You will be delighted to learn of Torres Strait’s colourful past and entertained by Peddell’s professional guides in depth narratives of this regions vast military, maritime, cultural and pearling history. This guided tour is quite simply the best way to explore historic Thursday Island. Your tour visits all the main points of interest as well as areas off-the-track and includes admissions to the displays housed in the underground rooms and tunnels of Green Hill Fort including the unique Wanetta Pearling exhibition. A modern fleet including 20 and 53 seater air-conditioned coaches ensures you tour in both comfort and style.
The Jetty Shop: In response to demand from visitors stepping ashore and departing from the Engineers Jetty on Thursday Island, Peddells established a gift store that is all about quality, identifying the most sought after items and making them conveniently available to their ferry clientele. A selection of gifts and souvenirs from Peddells Jetty Shop are also available at the kiosk onboard the ‘MV Torres Magic’.
Lesley, her daughter Christine and son-in-law Matthew are the present day owner/operators of Peddells Thursday Island Tours. “It is a pleasure and an honour to work alongside the amazing crew that have become part of our extended family.” Says Christine Connor – nee Peddell. “You will find the Peddell Team warm, friendly, consumate professionals and dedicated to a high level of customer service and seamanship and to maintaining the only scheduled year round passenger ferry service providing the vital link between Seisia on Cape York and Thursday Island in the heart of Torres Strait.” Ferry services run a peak season schedule from approximately June to end of September, being Monday to Saturday and during the off peak October to May ferries operate twice a day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with some alterations around public holidays. (indicative). “We are passionate about sharing the story of our island home with visitors and love the challenge and intrigue that is part of life, love and work on a remote island in this culturally unique part of the far far north of Australia.”