The Bass Strait shipping service running from Bridport began in 1995 when Southern Shipping Company Pty Ltd was commissioned with the government contract to run a sea freight and passenger service between Bridport, Tasmania and Lady Barron, Flinders Island on a weekly basis and monthly sailings to Cape Barren Island and Port Welshpool, Victoria on an as required basis.
On the commission of this contract the construction company, F.C Management Pty Ltd built the Matthew Flinders III, a 34.95 metre purpose built roll on/ roll off vessel which was launched in December 1995.
F.C Management Pty Ltd have been operating a general engineering and ship building company since 1992,over which time it constructed 20 vessels ranging from 8.5 metres to 43.95 meters. F.C Management Pty Ltd have also completed major overhauls and complete refits including grit blasting and painting.
Due to the success and high demand of the service to the Furneaux Group of Islands, a decision was made to commence work on a second 34.95 metre purpose built vessel to meet the demand of the shipping sector. The Southern Condor II, built by F.C Management was commissioned in May 2002.
The Matthew Flinders III and the Southern Condor II both ran successfully under Southern Shipping Pty Ltd, providing a weekly service to the Furneaux Group of Islands with work to Kind Island, Port Welshpool and other major ports in the Furneaux Group on an as required basis for ten years.
Southern Shipping Pty Ltd was sold in 2005 and continued operations under new ownership until 2009 when it was placed into liquidation.
In December of 2009, a new shipping company ‘Furneaux Freight Pty Ltd’ was formed by the former owners of Southern Shipping Pty Ltd with the aim to provide a reliable service to the Furneaux Group of Islands.
Furneaux Freight Pty Ltd purchased the 37metre vessel the ‘Furno Navigator’ in December 2009 and commenced a shipping service out of Bridport. Shortly after this, the liquidated assets of the former Southern Shipping Pty Ltd were also purchased, in that of the Matthew Flinders III and the Southern Condor II.
In early 2010, Furneaux Freight Pty Ltd commissioned F.C Management with the construction of a new purpose built vessel with the aim to revolutionise the shipping service to the Furneaux Group of Islands.
Captain Bill was launched in 2013 – and subsequently sold due to infrequent demand.
In 2016, Furneaux Freight purchased a 25 metre landing barge “Bulldog 13” to provide an efficient service to all Furneaux Islands.