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 service to replace the existing service from Launceston.
The vessel, Matthew Flinders III was built in Bridport 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.
Matthew Flinders III was extended to 45 metres overall soon afterwards and has been operating the run to Flinders Island, Cape Barren 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 commenced operations to Flinders Island in early 2022. Matthew Flinders IV represents the culmination of the Bayles family’s 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 of Flinders Island and NE Tasmania. Matthew Bayles continues to build and service seaworthy steel displacement vessels well suited to Tasmanian conditions.