An investigation by 9News has revealed that the controversial "Ferry McFerryface" was not actually the public's top choice to name one of a new fleet of ferries.
According to the report, Transport Minister Andrew Constance selected the name even though it was ineligible by the government's own criteria and despite being warned of the risks by senior bureaucrats.
In fact, Ferry McFerryface attracted just 182 votes in the competition, which cost $100,000.
Freedom of information documents show that Ian Kiernan, founder of Clean Up Australia, was actually the public's favourite for the ferry's naming rights with 2025 votes.
Artist Ken Done, author May Gibbs, former Governor Dame Marie Bashir and Sydney Opera House architect Jorn Utzo rounded out the shortlist.
But Mr Constance said that Ferry McFerryface was "a name for the kids".
"We got global attention and a bit of fun for the kids with selfies and grandparents," he added. "We followed the panel recommendations for the first five, but for the last one we thought let's do something a bit different."
Mr Constance's selection of Ferry McFerryface came despite advice from Transport for NSW, who drew up a briefing before the competition was launched warning of the risk of "satirical naming campaigns".
While Mr Constance signed off on the plan - which aimed "as far as practical" to avoid a repeat of the British research vessel "Boaty McBoatface" situation - he ignored the advice and chose Ferry McFerryface a year later.
While the government is working to change the name, it is believed that the official name Emerald 6 will be kept for maritime purposes.
The other five ferries in the new fleet have been named Catherine Hamlin, Fred Hollows, Victor Change, Pemulwuy and Bungaree.