Derrick Barge



BD 8

RCN Official Photo NF-3548_DHH

Source: Nauticapedia



Acquired by RCN: 1941

Paid off: 1945

Fate: Sold to commercial interests in 1946.


Kipawo was ordered for the Dominion Atlantic Railway.  Launched on December 5, 1924, by the St. John Drydock & Shipbuilding Co., the first ship ever built by that yard, she was commissioned into service for the railway on April 1, 1926.


Kipawo provided passenger and freight service from the spring to the fall across the Minas Basin. Her sailings were scheduled to connect with Dominion Atlantic passenger trains at Wolfville and Kingsport as tides permitted.


During World War II Kipawo was requisitioned by the Royal Canadian Navy and saw service in Conception Bay, Newfoundland as a tender for anti-submarine nets off the iron ore loading piers at Bell Island. 


During the post-war years until retirement in 1977, Kipawo saw service as a small passenger and vehicle ferry from Bell Island to Portugal Cove, ending 51 years of service, approximately 45 of those as a ferry and currently the second-longest continuous service as a ferry in Canada (SS Prince Edward Island having operated from 1915 to 1969).


Following retirement from ferry service in Newfoundland, Kipawo saw service as a private tour boat in the waters off Terra Nova National Park for several years. While en route to St. John's one day in the late 1970s, she sought shelter in Bonavista Bay from a storm but ran aground and remained there deteriorating for several years.


The vessel was purchased in 1981 by the Kipawo Heritage Society of Wolfville and was returned to Minas Basin in 1982. Not long after returning to the Minas Basin, Kipawo was purchased by the Town of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia for a museum and was deliberately beached in a tidal inlet immediately south of the town while funding arrangements were secured. By 1986 the museum concept was shelved in favour of housing a local theatre, the Ship's Company Theatre, which began to use the Kipawo as their performance centre. In 2004, the theatre company expanded its facilities with an expanded performance hall which architecturally incorporates the Kipawo into the outdoor lobby.




Commanding Officers


Lt William Patrick Murphy, RCNR - 04 May 1945 - unk



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten




Former Crew Members


Buckley, George Henry, Skpr, RCNR - 27 Apr 1942



Pastel painting of Kipawo

Artist unknown

Source/credit: Naval Museum of Halifax