What's in a name?

The Beagle Editor,

When Andrew Constance was handed responsibility for naming a Sydney ferry, he held a $100,000 competition to ask the public what they think. The resounding answer was "Ian Kiernan" - an acknowledgement of a man who singlehandedly changed the future of Sydney Harbour with his campaigns to Clean Up Australia, starting with the most beautiful harbour in the world.

Instead of naming the ferry after the highly successful environmental campaigner, Constance switched names and called the Sydney Harbour ferry FerryMcFerryface, telling the public that this name was the most popular in the vote. The Australian reported that Andrew Constance made a “captain’s call” when naming one of the city’s new vessels Ferry McFerryface and claimed it was the popular pick of Sydneysiders in a competition. But Freedom of Information documents revealed the name attracted just 182 votes and was ineligible under the NSW government’s criteria, according to the Nine Network. The FOI documents reveal Mr Kiernan received the most votes — more than 2000 — in the competition which cost taxpayers $100,000. When forced to change the name, he still didn't name the ferry after Ian Kiernan, who had been put on notice that the ferry was to be named after him. Instead he named the ferry the May Gibbs, after the popular children's book writer. Sadly, Mr Kiernan passed away on 18th October 2018. Name and address supplied Editors Note: Transport for NSW announced the newly acquired Emerald 6 would be renamed Ferry McFerryface along the same lines as Boaty McBoatface. However the Maritime Union of Australia refused to crew the vessel in protest at the name. It entered service in December 2017 named Emerald 6 with a Ferry McFerryface sticker below the bridge. In January 2018, following revelations that the name wasn't a public vote winner but selected by the Transport Minister, it was renamed May Gibbs (Wikipedia)

Andrew Constance, in response to the criticism has stated that Ferry McFerryface came from the first open call for public nominations where people could vote for any name without stringent criteria. He is quoted as saying “In that round, Ferry McFerryface received 229 nominations and Ian Kiernan received 17,” “We always intended this vessel would be named for the kids.” "After a summer on the harbour, Ferry McFerryface would now be renamed after prominent Australian author May Gibbs. “This will retain the vessel’s appeal to our youngest customers while also recognising an Australian icon with a long connection to Sydney.” May Gibbs does have a definitive connection with Sydney Harbour and the ferry. She moved into a boarding house in Neutral Bay in 1913 and travelled by ferry to her “Little Studio” on Bridge Street in Sydney. She subsequently moved to Nutcote in present-day Kurraba Point, where she lived until her death in 1969.



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