The shipping service between Bridport and Flinders Island began in 1995 when Southern Shipping Company Pty Ltd won the State Government contract to run a new sea freight and passenger service from Bridport.

The vessel, Matthew Flinders III was built by Matthew Bayles’ company, F.C Management Pty Ltd to commence the service.

Southern Shipping Pty Ltd was sold in 2005 and continued operations under new ownership until 2009.

In December of 2009, the Bayles family established Furneaux Freight Pty Ltd to bring the business back under their control using the Matthew Flinders III.

Matthew Flinders III was extended to 45 metres overall soon afterwards and has been operating the run to Flinders Island, Cape Barron Island and Welshpool ever since.

Matthew Bayles’ daughter, Shannon Bayles, took over the business from her father in 2011.

In 2019 F.C Management was commissioned to construct a new vessel to keep up with the growth in freight volumes. The Matthew Flinders IV was launched in September of 2021 and is undergoing sea trials for introduction onto the service in January 2022. Matthew Flinders IV represents the culmination of the Bayles family’ 26 years of experience and expertise building vessels and running marine and road freight services from Bridport.

The Bayles family have made a significant contribution to the economy on Flinders Island and NE Tasmania. Matthew Bayles continues to build and service seaworthy steel displacement vessels well suited to Tasmanian conditions.

In September of 2021, David Harris from Port Adelaide SA approached Matthew Bayles to discuss the possibility of purchasing of the Matthew Flinders IV for the salvage of fire ravaged plantation timber from Kangaroo Island to Port Adelaide. A friendship was quickly struck between the parties which has culminated in the purchase of the assets of the Furneaux Freight Business, including both vessels.

Despite the hostile Bass Strait marine weather conditions and the tidal restrictions at Bridport, the service has developed into a remarkable business which has provided a proven, reliable and cost-effective freight service to Flinders Island. We are honoured to be able to take the business over.

The new company, Bass Strait Freight Pty Ltd, aims to quietly build on the Bayles family’s legacy by integrating the new vessel into the business and continuing to concentrate on customer service and innovative freight solutions.