City of Adelaide (1864)

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Coordinates: 55°36′29″N 4°41′09″W / 55.60806°N 4.68583°W / 55.60806; -4.68583

Clipper Ship, 'City of Adelaide', 1000 tons, David Bruce, Commander. Hand-coloured lithograph by Thomas Dutton, August 1864. Dedicated "To Messrs. Devitt and Moore Owners, Messrs Wm Pile, Hay & Co. Builders & the Officers of the Ship this print is most respectfully dedicated by their obedient servant, Wm. Foster”.
Name: City of Adelaide (1864-1922)
HMS Carrick (1922-48)
Carrick (1948-2001)
City of Adelaide (since 2001)
Owner: Bruce, Moore, Harrold Bros. & Martin (1864-87)
C H Mowll (1887-89)
T S Dixon & Son (1889-93)
Southampton Corporation (1893-1922)
Royal Navy (1922-48)
RNVR Club, Glasgow (1948-89)
Clyde Ship Trust (1990-92)
Scottish Maritime Museum (since 1992)
Operator: Devitt and Moore (1864-87)
As per owners since 1887
Port of registry: Template:Country data UKGBI London (1864-89)
Template:Country data UKGBI Southampton (1889-95)
Royal Navy Royal Navy (1922-48)
Route: London - Plymouth - Adelaide - Port Augusta - London (typical 1864-87)
Builder: William Pile, Hay & Co
Launched: 7 May 1864
Commissioned: 1923
Decommissioned: 1948
Maiden voyage: 6 August 1864
Out of service: 1893-1922; since 1948
Struck: Removed from register 7th February 1895
Homeport: England Southampton* (1895-1922)
Scotland Glasgow* (1948-1992)
Scotland Irvine* (since 1992)
Identification: Code Letters WCLQ
UK Official Number 50036
Nickname: The City
Status: Archaelogical deconstruction or removal to Sunderland, UK, or Adelaide, South Australia, under consideration
Badge: on stern
City of Adelaide Coat of Arms
General characteristics
Class and type: Composite Clipper
Passenger/migrant ship (1864-87)
Collier (1887-89)
Cargo ship (1889-93)
Hospital ship (1893-1922)
Training ship (1922-48)
Clubroom and restaurant (1948-91)
Museum ship (since 1991)
Displacement: 791 tons
Tons burthen: 1,500 Tons
Length: 244 feet 1 inch (74.40 m)
Beam: 32 feet 2 inches (9.80 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship (1864-81)
Barque (1881-93)
Derigged since 1893
Notes: * denotes homeport as the ship not on shipping register during this period.

City of Adelaide (known as HMS Carrick from 1923 to 1948, and simply Carrick from 1949 to 1992) was built by William Pile (shipbuilder) in Sunderland, England, and was launched in 1864.

The City of Adelaide is the world's oldest surviving clipper ship, one of only two surviving composite clippers (the other is the Cutty Sark; built 1869), an A-listed structure in Scotland, part of the National Historic Fleet, and listed in the prestigious Core Collection of the United Kingdom.

As a fast sailing ship, between 1864 and 1887 the City of Adelaide transported passengers and goods from London and Plymouth to Adelaide, South Australia. On the return voyages, she carried passengers, wool and copper from Adelaide and Port Augusta to London. During this period she played an important part in the immigration of Australia.

In 1887, she was converted to a bulk cargo ship, first used on the Tyne-Thames coal route, and then on the North Atlantic timber route. The City of Adelaide is the last survivor of this trade.

She ended her sailing career in 1893, first becoming a hospital isolation ship in Southampton, before in 1923 being purchased by the Royal Navy for use as a static training ship moored in Greenock, Scotland, renamed HMS Carrick. In 1948, renamed as simply the Carrick, she was gifted to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) club of Scotland, for use as their floating clubhouse, eventually moored in the Clyde in Glasgow.

Having flooded in 1989, she eventually passed to the Clyde Ship Trust for £1 in 1990 but in 1991, she sunk at her moorings in Princes Dock, Glasgow. In 1992 she was raised by the Scottish Maritime Museum. The City of Adelaide has been lying on a private slipway adjacent to the Scottish Maritime Museum's site in Irvine, Scotland. Work stopped by 1999 after funding difficulties when Scotland regained its own parliament. After being served with an evistion notice by the owners of the slipway, the museum applied for permission from North Ayrshire Council to demolish the listed structure.

Presently (June 2010), the Scottish Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop has stepped in with a reprieve for the City of Adelaide and has commissioned a study to look at either an archaeological deconstruction, retention at a different site in Scotland, or transport to either Sunderland in England, or Adelaide in South Australia.[1]


Like the Cutty Sark (museum ship in Greenwich) and the Ambassador) (a wreck north of Punta Arenas in Chile) she is of composite construction with timber planking on a wrought iron frame; the method provides the structural strength of an iron ship combined with the insulation of a timber hull. Composite ships were built for a relatively short period from circa 1860 to 1880; they were some of the fastest ships afloat as unlike iron ships they could have their bottoms coppered to prevent fouling while their iron frames enabled them to carry large rigs. Unfortunately they were not built for longevity and the combination of timber planks fixed to iron frames, usually with bronze bolts, resulted in accelerated corrosion of the iron.

The City of Adelaide was built in 1864 before Lloyd's Register recognised and endorsed composite ships in 1867. Before this, all composite ships were labelled by Lloyds as being "Experimental".[2] Being a developmental technology in 1864, meant that many of the structural features on the City of Adelaide are now regarded as being 'over-engineered', particularly when compared to other later composite clippers like the Cutty Sark (1869). For example, the frame spacing on the City of Adelaide is much closer together than seen on other composite ships. This extra strength from 'over-engineering', together with the good fate to have benefited from human habitation and/or husbandry through to the late 1990s, has likely been a major factor why the City of Adelaide has survived.


After having gained much experience on the London to Adelaide run with his ship the Irene, Scotsman Captain David Bruce had the City of Adelaide built expressly for the South Australia trade, taking a quarter-share ownership.[3][4] The City of Adelaide is frequently referred to as Devitt and Moore's, but they were only the managing agents in London. It was only partner Joseph Moore snr. who personally became a syndicate member, holding a quarter-share in the ship.[5] The remaining two quarter-shares were taken up by Australian interests - Harrold Brothers[6] who were the agents in Adelaide, and Henry Martin[7], the working proprietor of the Yudnamutana and Blinman copper mines in the Flinders Ranges.

Presently (2010), the City of Adelaide is owned by the Scottish Maritime Museum.

Service history

William Pile, Hay, and Company of Sunderland built and launched her in 1864.[8] A composite hull vessel like the Cutty Sark built five years later, City of Adelaide was designed to carry both passengers and cargo between England and Australia. She included first-class and second-class passenger quarters, and the hold could be filled with emigrants if desired.

The ship spent 23 years making annual runs to and from South Australia, playing an important role in the development of the colony. Researchers have estimated that a quarter of a million South Australians can trace their origins to passengers on the City of Adelaide.[9]

On 24 August 1874 she was stranded on Kirkcaldy Beach near Grange, six miles south of the Semaphore opposite Adelaide. She was refloated on 4 September after some of the cargo had been discharged.

In 1881 she was rerigged as a barque.

In 1887 the aged ship was sold for use in bulk cargo transport, first carrying coal from Tyne to Dover, and then carrying timber in the North Atlantic trade.

Her sailing days ended in 1893 when she was purchased by the Southampton Corporation for £1750 to serve as a floating hospital in Southampton.

Subsequent history

Purchase by the Royal Navy

In 1923 she was brought into the Royal Navy. As there was already an Adelaide in the RN she was named HMS Carrick and used as a Royal Naval Reserve drill ship at Greenock. Eventually the Admiralty presented her to the R.N.V.R. Club of Scotland, and she was moved to Glasgow in 1956, she was used by the local RNVR club.

By the mid-1980s the Club realised that they could not afford to maintain their floating clubrooms. They commenced seeking ways of securing her future and passing on ownership, and contacted various bodies with potential interest including the, then, recently established Scottish Maritime Museum.

Flooding and sinking

In 1989 there proved to be some need for haste, when the ship was flooded. The Club, in some desperation, took the option on their insurance of having the vessel declared a total loss. To facilitate the preservation of the ship itself, Glasgow District Council applied for Listed Building status. Historic Scotland agreed to take the unusual step of listing a historic vessel as Category A – normally only applied to historic buildings. Listing was viewed as a boost to the preservation project.

By 1990 a new body, the Clyde Ship Trust, had been formed and, in March of that year, had purchased the vessel. The Scottish Maritime Museum was not party to this new body. Under the control of the new Trust the vessel was dismasted and prepared for removal and in August, 1990, was successfully towed downstream to Princes Dock.

Early in 1991, for reasons that have not been clearly identified, the vessel sank at her moorings. The Clyde Ship Trust was placed in a position of embarrassment, for, being already in debt, they were unable to put forward the funds required for a major salvage operation. It became necessary for other organisations to step in to attempt to prevent the total loss of the ship.

In 1992 she was identified as part of the UK National Historic Ships Core Collection.[10].

Recovery by the Scottish Maritime Museum

The Scottish Maritime Museum salvaged the clipper and moved her to Irvine, North Ayrshire, with the expectation to preserve them and eventually restore the vessel.

In September 1993 the City of Adelaide was slipped on a slipway near the Scottish Maritime Museum. From then a programme of work was planned and operated on two fronts. The first was the preservation and restoration. The second was to allow public access and good quality interpretation.

In May 1999 Scotland regained its own parliament. A side effect of this is that previous UK funding sources for the Scottish Maritime Museum dried up.[11] This then had a snowball effect on the Scottish Maritime Museum. An application for funding for the Museum’s other major project, under the UK Heritage Lottery Fund, was rejected. Due to the eroded revenue position, the local municipality then reduced its funding, and then other grant aiding organisations adopted a similar position.

In 1999 all work on the City of Adelaide stopped and the shipwrights were moved to other projects. In September, the Museum's trustees received a report that looked at the current structure and funding of the museum. The study recommended that, if the Trust failed to raise sufficient funds, the vessel should be offered for sale to other organisations with access to the resources to fund the restoration. Should that fail then the Trust should apply to demolish the structure.

In May 2000 the trustees of the Scottish Maritime Museum applied to North Ayrshire Council for consent to demolish the "Listed Building" City of Adelaide. The Council subsequently received over 100 objections to the Museum's application to demolish the vessel. For the first time the Authority received objections from other countries. There were representations from nine significant worldwide organisations who are involved in the history and preservation of ships. Many Members of the UK and Scottish Parliaments objected as well as the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Australian ex-Senator and diplomat Robert Hill.[12]

The North Ayrshire Council refused demolition in February 2001. The Scottish Maritime Museum was left in a dire financial predicament with rental for the slipway beginning to accrue.

Duke of Edinburgh conference

A conference was convened in Glasgow as a result of an initiative from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on 19 September 2001. The conference reached a number of important conclusions.[13]

Carrick - City of Adelaide is one of the most important historic vessels in the UK and every effort should be made to ensure the future of the vessel. Resources available in Scotland to preserve the vessel at the Scottish Maritime Museum were insufficient to make any real progress and the Museum's stewardship of the vessel could result in the whole of the museum's collections being placed in jeopardy.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh proposed that the Maritime Trust and Scottish Maritime Museum should work in partnership to fund a first phase of work. This phase would see the vessel removed from the slipway, on which the initial work had been completed, and placed on a barge or similar vessel and her transhipment to another location. The Maritime Trust would take the lead in raising the funding support for the first phase.

The Sunderland Maritime Heritage and Save the City of Adelaide 1864 Group, Adelaide, South Australia, both presented the conference with proposals for the vessel. The conference agreed that both organisations should now look to securing funding support for their proposals and an active dialogue would be maintained by all concerned. The aim of the Maritime Trust and the Scottish Maritime Museum would be that final transfer to either the Sunderland Maritime Trust or the Save the City of Adelaide 1864 Group would take place as quickly as possible. The Maritime Trust and the Scottish Maritime Museum would work in partnership to ensure this outcome.

The final decision of the conference was that as the significance of the vessel lay in her activities under the name City of Adelaide she should in future be known simply as City of Adelaide.

The conference was chaired by Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Julian Oswald, and in addition to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was attended by representatives of High Commission of Australia in London, Save the City of Adelaide 1864 Group, City of Sunderland Council, Cutty Sark Trust, DCMS, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, North Ayrshire Council, National Historic Ships Committee, Scottish Executive, Scottish Maritime Museum, Government of South Australia, and Sunderland Maritime Heritage.

Demolition proposals

File:Mvcarrickirvine cropped.jpg
City of Adelaide in August 2007

No funds materialised until 2003 when businessman Mike Edwards donated funds for preservation and a feasibility study for the ship's restoration as a tourist adventure sailing ship for Travelsphere Limited. In February 2006 the results of the feasibility studies identified that the cost to comply with current maritime passenger safety regulations for sea-going vessels would be more expensive than building a replica. The studies concluded that it would be more cost-effective to turn the City of Adelaide into a static exhibit. Mike Edwards was disappointed but decided not to take up his original option of acquiring the City of Adelaide but his charitable efforts had extended a life-line to the City of Adelaide that ultimately gave her another three years of reprieve as well as a protective cover to protect her from the elements.

After three years the Scottish Maritime Museum was back in its original predicament. This predicament was worsened as the volunteer organisations that had previously been campaigning to acquire the City of Adelaide had now been put in hiatus for three years. The Scottish Maritime Museum applied again to North Ayrshire Council to demolish the ship at an estimated cost of £650,000.[14]

When the proposal was gazetted by the council, some 132 letters of objection were received. Some of these came from maritime-related organisations who are involved in the history and preservation of ships as well as:[15]

On World Heritage Day, 18 April 2007, the North Ayrshire Council advised that they agreed to the deconstruction of the clipper subject to:

  • Referral of the application to Historic Scotland under Section 12 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997, and
  • A plan for demolition be developed by a Steering Committee based on the recommendations of National Historic Ships Committee (NHSC) and be agreed in writing by North Ayrshire Council as Planning Authority and by Historic Scotland.[16]

The proposals for demolition were due to be discussed at the end of May 2007, but postponed due to the fire on the Cutty Sark.[17]

Rescue proposals

The SCARF group plans to initially keep the City of Adelaide in storage on private land in the city whilst working on plans to develop a Maritime Museum around a restored City of Adelaide.[18]

The South Australian organisation Clipper Ship 'City of Adelaide' Ltd.[19] is also working to secure the future of the City of Adelaide. They plan to return the City of Adelaide to Port Adelaide in South Australia in time for the state's 175th Jubilee in 2011 and display her with the local ships Falie and Nelcebee. The Nelcebee is an 1883 tug lighter which used to assist the City of Adelaide in and out of Port Augusta harbour in the 1880s when the clipper used to call there to collect wool and copper to carry to the London markets. One of the City of Adelaide quarter-owners was Henry Martin who was the working proprietor of the Blinman copper mines in the Flinders Ranges.

In March 2009, a British e-petition[20] asking the British Prime Minister to intervene to save the City of Adelaide was created on the Number 10 Downing Street website.

An Australian e-petition[21] to the Australian Senate to save the City of Adelaide is to be featured as one of twenty examples of Australian petitions from the 19th century to modern day in a new permanent gallery at Old Parliament House, Canberra. The gallery Living Democracy: The Power of the People will form part of the new Museum of Australian Democracy[22] (opening date May 2009).

The Scottish Maritime Museum called for tenders for the deconstruction of the City of Adelaide. Tenders closed at noon UK time on 23 November 2009. The Adelaide based non profit organisation Clipper Ship 'City of Adelaide' Ltd. submitted a tender[23], but unlike other expected tenders it proposes to remove the ship as a whole, not break it up. Engineers, Naval Architects and heavy lift experts have been involved in the development of the Adelaide tender and believe its proposal is less expensive than an archaeological deconstruction.

In November 2009, sixty-six eminent Australians wrote an Open Letter[24] appeal to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown to prevent the demolition of the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship, the City of Adelaide. Led by the Queen’s representative and Governor of South Australia, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce (patron of the City of Adelaide Preservation Trust), other notable Australians who signed the letter include:

In January 2010, the Scottish Maritime Museum received a revised proposal from the South Australian City of Adelaide Preservation Trust (Clipper Ship 'City of Adelaide' Ltd.) and this has been accepted as being technically feasible by the Museum. The Trust subsequently made a planning application to North Ayrshire Council to remove the vessel. While the Trust is yet to provide evidence they have the funds to complete the project, the South Australian proposal is the only detailed proposal for the preservation of the complete vessel to have been received by the Scottish Maritime Museum.[25]

In March 2010 in response to questions from Irene Oldfather MSP in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said the Scottish Government was working closely with a number of stakeholders to explore realistic options for securing the future of the City of Adelaide and that Historic Scotland had commenced an assessment of these options. Fiona Hyslop said she had personally met with a delegation from the Clipper Ship 'City of Adelaide' Ltd. and had subsequently spoken to the South Australian Minister for Transport (Patrick Conlon).[26]

Government Reprieve and Historic Scotland Assessment

The Scottish Maritime Museum found itself in the Catch-22 position. Although the slipway had been leased to the Museum at £1 per year, failure to remove the vessel when required by the site owner could result in additional and punitive charges.[27] They were now being evicted from the slipway and punitive charges were being applied. If they did not remove the ship from the slipway before a March 2010 deadline the debt would bankrupt them, but they also did not have sufficient funds to scientifically deconstruct the vessel.[28] Scientific deconstruction is quite expensive and a simple demolition would be significantly cheaper. In order to switch to a demolition would require a new planning application. Such an application would take significantly more time than the March deadline allowed and was unlikely be approved. As a result the museum asked the Scottish Government to provide funds for the scientific deconstruction of the City of Adelaide.

As a result the Scottish Government found itself in a complicated and politically sensitive position. If the Scottish Maritime Museum goes into administration its collection would likely be sold off to pay creditors. This means that the nation could lose this important collection of Scottish maritime history. In order to prevent this loss the Scottish Government can then either fund the deconstruction of the City of Adelaide or help fund her removal. In order to properly evaluate these options the Scottish Government gave assurances to the Scottish Maritime Museum that the government would cover the risks associated with passing the March 2010 deadline. With the assurances given, the Museum temporarily halted the deconstruction until May 2010 and the Scottish Government charged Historic Scotland with evaluating the options and making a recommendation. While it was initially reported by the Scottish Maritime Museum[29] that the reprieve was to allow the Australian campaigners time to raise funds (the reprieve came soon after a visit by the Australians), the Scottish Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop clarified that the reprieve is for the Scottish Government and Historic Scotland to fully evaluate the following four options:[30]

  • Removal to Sunderland
  • Removal to Adelaide in South Australia
  • Retention in a different location in Scotland
  • Managed (archaeological) Deconstruction of the vessel

In April 2010, Fiona Hyslop announced that Historic Scotland has commissioned DTZ to undertake an Options Appraisal for the historic clipper. DTZ has appointed Sir Neil Cossons, the former Director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and a former Chair of English Heritage, to provide technical expertise for the project based on his extensive experience, particularly in the realm of maritime heritage.[31]

Recent activities

In May 2010, Minister Fiona Hyslop (National Party) accepted from Irene Oldfather MSP (Labour Party) a copy of a diary by James Anderson McLauchlan.[32] James McLauchlan was a 21 year old Scot who migrated to South Australia on the City of Adelaide in 1874. The diary[33] begins with his departure from Dundee, Scotland, aboard the steamer SS Anglia before joining the City of Adelaide in Gravesend for the 80 day voyage to the colony of South Australia. Ms Oldfather's presentation was to highlight the importance of the City of Adelaide from the human perspective and the experiences "shared by thousands of other people who made the journey across the globe for a new life".

See also


  1. "Adelaide clipper gets new reprieve". AdelaideNow. 2010-03-11. 
  2. City of Adelaide website - Construction
  3. Capt. David Bruce
  4. "THE CITY OF ADELAIDE". South Australian Register. 8 November 1864. 
  5. Devitt and Moore
  6. Harrold Brothers
  7. Henry Martin
  8. City of Adelaide website - 1864 Conception
  9. City of Adelaide website - 1/4 Million Descendants
  10. National Historic Ships - City of Adelaide
  11. City of Adelaide website - 1992-2001 Scottish Maritime Museum
  12. North Ayrshire Council - Demolition of clipper ship 'Carrick' - City of Adelaide
  13. City of Adelaide website - 2001 Conference
  14. North Ayrshire Council - Deconstruction of clipper ship 'Carrick - City of Adelaide'
  15. North Ayrshire Council - Representees list
  16. North Ayrshire Council - Recommendation and Conditions
  17. BBC Scotland news story 21 May 2007
  18. SCARF
  19. Clipper Ship 'City of Adelaide' Ltd
  20. British e-petition
  21. Australian e-petition
  22. Museum of Australian Democracy
  23. Campaign to save City of Adelaide
  24. Australian Open Letter plea to UK Prime Minister to not destroy City of Adelaide
  25. "Scottish Maritime Museum webpage for the City of Adelaide". 
  26. "Minister considers options for the SV Carrick - 05-Mar-10". 
  27. "Scottish Maritime Museum webpage for the City of Adelaide". 
  28. "Disposing of Ship Could Bankrupt Scots Museum". 
  29. "Scottish Maritime Museum webpage for the City of Adelaide". 
  30. "Adelaide clipper gets new reprieve". AdelaideNow. 2010-03-11. 
  31. "Historic Scotland appoints DTZ to undertake options appraisal for Carrick". 
  32. "Carrick diary reveals fascinating legacy". Irvine Herald. 2010-05-21. 
  33. "Diary of James Anderson McLauchlan". 

External links

ru:City of Adelaide (корабль)