Just as preparations for moving the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship, the City of Adelaide, to her namesake city in Australia, are getting underway, Peter Maddison, a former councillor from Sunderland, where the ship was built, has occupied the old clipper, again. Maddison had previously staged a short occupation in 2009 when it appeared that the ship might by scrapped. In 2009 he gave up his occupation when he ran short of provisions. This time, he has told BBC Scotland, that he is stocked for a “sustained occupation.”
After nearly being scrapped by the Scottish Maritime Museum, which currently owns the vessel, two groups vied to rescue the 1864 built composite clipper ship – the Scottish Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Foundation and the City of Adelaide Preservation Trust based in Australia. In August of 2010, Scottish Culture Minister, Fiona Hyslop announced that a bid from the Australian Preservation Trusthad been selected and that ship would be moved to Australia.
Since then a 100 tonne steel cradle to support the 148 year old ship has been pre-fabricated in Australia and shipped to Scotland to be assembled under the ship prior to transport. Plans were that the ship could be ready to be be moved first by barge and then heavy lift vessel on her way back to Australia by some time in March. When Maddison’s current “occupation” impacts these plans remains to be seen.