In the late 1950s Alan Kitcher sailed though the heads of Fremantle Harbour in a 42ft wooden hulled launch ‘The Temeraire’. He had brought her, along with his family, from Albany to begin a new business venture; a regular passenger ferry service from Perth to the holiday island of Rottnest.
‘The Temeraire’ could only carry 44 passengers at a time and the daily crossing was restricted to fair-weather only. But little did he realise that his efforts would eventually manifest into what is the largest privately-owned ferry company in Australia, carrying hundreds of thousands of people to Rottnest every year.
For many years Alan’s son Trevor worked alongside his father learning the ropes and assisting in all facets of the business. As time went on, the Rottnest business grew and Trevor began to see its true potential. He realised however that this could only be achieved through bigger and better boats.
Trevor finally took his place at the company helm and in 1971 commissioned the construction of the 700 passenger ferry the ‘Temeraire II’. This was the turning point. The ‘Temeraire II’ could make the run fully-loaded in record time and with a much greater deal of comfort and reliability.
The new service attracted many more visitors to the Island and business began to boom. The increase soon enabled the company to build an even bigger ferry the ‘Rottnest Explorer’ and then on to develop the new high speed craft that we see today. The realisation of untapped potential that saw the business begin and grow, saw the company bought by Don Brown and Don Dunbar in 2002, where they expanded the business to also provide an additional fast ferry service from Fremantle C-shed under the banner of ‘Rottnest Express’.
They continued to develop the business until July 2007 when the Baileys Marine Group purchased Boat Torque / Rottnest Express. They did so out of a great passion for both boats and the Island. They combined this passion with over 20 years experience in the marine industry to create an even better ferry service to the island. With their background in the marine industry and love of all things water, accompanied with the right staff, culture and vision, Rottnest Express has become the world-class ferry business that it was destined to be.
In early 2017 Rottnest Express became part of the Journey Beyond Group. The Journey Beyond Group is a newly established national business focused on bringing Australia’s most iconic experiences to life. The organisation is Australian-owned, has a growing national footprint, and is fast positioning itself as one of the largest experiential tourism businesses in the country.
Rottnest Express is proud to have won a number of accolades over the years whilst they have been operating ferries to Rottnest Island. These are acknowledgement of the dedication to servicing the community and our visitors as well as recognition of the hard work and effort that we put into our operations each and every day.
We are pleased to be accredited by Tourism Council WA. This accreditation provides assurance to you that we are committed to providing top quality service – recognised as professional, ethical and reliable operators, which deliver high quality tourism experiences. For more details on this accreditation visit www.trustthetick.com.au.
We have also recently been awarded Ecotourism certification for our Adventure Rottnest Tour, Underwater Rottnest Tour and Discover Rottnest tour, assuring travellers that we are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and committed to providing high quality nature-based tourism experiences that leave minimal impact on the environment and contribute to environmental conservation and aiding the local community.
We are also advocates for the Western Australian Tourism Awards having walked away with a number of Gold Medals across numerous categories for repeat years.