Great news! The oldest just barely surviving composite clipper ship in the world, the City of Adelaide appears likely to be moved to Australia to its namesake city, Adelaide. The ship, which is currently at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, Scotland, has been threatened by scrapping as the museum lacked the fund to care for the ship. The announcement, made by Scottish Culture Minister, Fiona Hyslop, was a disappointment to a competing group which wanted the old clipper to be moved to Sunderland – where she was built in 1864.
Historic clipper City of Adelaide to be sent to Australia
A bid to keep the 145-year-old City of Adelaide in the UK, by sending the ship to Sunderland – where she was built – was rejected.
Speaking in Irvine – the current home of the ship – Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said she would be returning to the city after which she was named.
She said: “We can now have a link between Scotland and Australia which allows both nations to share the vessel’s historical, cultural and social significance through tourism, interpretation and education.
“I was impressed and inspired by the enormous commitment shown by the Australian and Sunderland groups for the vessel.
“I am aware that everyone who worked on the unsuccessful bid will be disappointed. However, because of the need for the vessel to be removed from its current location, a viable alternative to deconstruction had to be identified in order to save the ship.”
City of Adelaide Preservation Trust chairman Creagh O’Connor said he was “thrilled and delighted” after a decade-long campaign. The trust aims to preserve the vessel on a land-based maritime precinct at Port Adelaide in time for the 175th anniversary of settlement next year.
Campaigners from Sunderland vowed to fight on. Peter Maddison – who briefly “occupied” the clipper last year – was told his group’s bid “did not contain sufficient detail in practical terms”.
He said: “There will be a lot of broken hearts in Sunderland today. But after all, the ship lies there still. It will be months before anything can happen and the Australians have now got to demonstrate they can do this.
“I wish them well and congratulate them on their success but we will fight on.”
The clipper had faced being deconstructed if relocation plans could not be agreed.