South Australia Eviro Boss Says Historic Clipper, City of Adelaide, “The Last Thing We Need…”

The composite clipper, City of Adelaide, built in 1864, is the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship. Between 1864 and 1887 the ship made 23 voyages from London and Plymouth to Adelaide, South Australia. Approximately a quarter of a million Australians can trace an ancestor that migrated, or was a passenger, on the City of Adelaide. The historic clipper was recently transported to its namesake city, following a lavish send off featuring Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, on the River Thames at Greenwich near London.

Apparently, the reception that the ship has received in Australia has been somewhat less enthusuastic.  South Australia’s Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources CEO Allan Holmes has called the clipper restoration project an “indulgence” and “eventual taxpayer burden.”  He went on to say,”I’m not a supporter, I think it’s the last thing we need. As a government official I know where this is going to end up, they’ll come calling on government to pay the bill, there’s no doubt about that. Government will be under enormous pressure because we have this hulk, this wreck in the port with public expectation that something is going to be done about it.”

City of Adelaide clipper restoration project an indulgence and eventual taxpayer burden, SA Environment Dept says

In contrast, a few years ago, the City of Adelaide zoo spent close to $30 million building a pavilion for borrowed Chinese pandas.   It appears that borrowed pandas have a higher priority to government officials than Australia’s maritime heritage.

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4 Responses to South Australia Eviro Boss Says Historic Clipper, City of Adelaide, “The Last Thing We Need…”

  1. A very large sum of money has already been spent on this project. One would have thought that prior to doing so Mr. Holmes would have been the person to involve and get his view and perhaps support. His comment on the project future is all too accurate. When presenting an discussion point it is pointless to compare apples and oranges or ships and pandas. Both have their separate purpose and place in our life. The presentation of a point-of-view effects its acceptance or rejection and one should be careful therefore when presenting it not to detract from it by inappropriate comparisons.

    Good Watch.

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    As ship preservation projects go this one has been managed rather economically. It has, for example, cost significantly less, thus far, than the “repairs” to Bluenose II. The problem has been that since the project began, the Australian government has changed, and promises made by prior administrations have been reneged upon by the current government.

    I agree that comparing pandas to an old clipper ship is apples and oranges, but it does demonstrate, if nothing else, that money is available if one’s priority is to preserve Australia’s maritime heritage.

  3. Louis Cohen says:

    Pandas are a profit center for zoos. That $30 million is an investment that will almost certainly pay off in higher attendance and knick-knack sales.

    The restored ship is an indulgence, albeit a nice one. Maybe the organizers should try to raise funds with a campaign aimed at the descendants of immigrants who came on that ship (and perhaps similar ones).

  4. Rick Spilman says:

    The pandas are on-loan and have left the zoo deeply in debt. They are arguably far more of an indulgence than the world’s oldest clipper ship.