Brian Marriott

Skipper MV Southern Cross

He has skippered interstate visitors, school-groups and tour-groups aboard the MV Southern Cross, along with international heads of state, celebrities and federal parliamentarians. But what continues to surprise Brian is the number of locals who have never seen Canberra from the vantage point of the lake.

“It’s something everyone should do,” he says emphatically. “You literally get a different perspective and every season is dramatically different – from the shores teeming with people in summer to the amazing bursts of colour in autumn.”

The MV Southern Cross arrived in Canberra in 1999, after a week long journey from South Australia, split across two huge semi-trailers. The berth was lowered into the lake and the deck was craned on top and joined together by a skilled team who had traveled up with the vessel. It marked the start of a new era for locals and visitors alike who could now fully experience the beauty of Lake Burley Griffin.

Brian has been the vessel’s skipper since it was launched and never tires of sharing the best that Canberra has to offer with his passengers as he provides a running commentary on the lake and its famous landmarks. The thing he loves most about his job is that no day is the same.

“We do everything from sightseeing tours, lunch and dinner cruises and functions such as weddings and parties. We also get special requests,” he adds. “One time, I picked up the former Governor-General, Sir William Deane, from his residence on his last day of office,” he recalls. “He stepped aboard and waved goodbye to his staff and the press as we literally sailed off into the sunset.”

“And then there are nice moments like the other day when a group of Indigenous school kids from the Northern Territory came aboard,” he says. “They’d never experienced the cold before and there they were, rugged up in their beanies and coats on deck, enjoying the full Canberra winter experience. It was fantastic to watch.”