The Star Ferry’s green-and-white vessels are a fixture of the Victoria Harbour, but do you ever wonder how they first came into being?
Before the Star Ferry, Hong Kong residents crossed the harbor in sampans. The first steam ferry was introduced in 1870, but a regular ferry service wouldn’t come into being until 1888, when merchant Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala founded the then Kowloon Ferry Company. The company started out with three vessels, but a fourth was added within 10 years due to the transport’s popularity. Dorabjee renamed the company Star Ferry Co Ltd prior to his retirement to India in 1898, in homage to a line from his favorite Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, “Crossing the Bar” (“Sunset and evening star, and one clear call for me!”).