Monday, 16 September 2013 09:30

City of Adelaide ship

Updated 4 February 2014.

The historical ship has finally arrived. The 1864-built City of Adelaide clipper ship has made its final journey to our shores. It has been a long and slow 14 year journey.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to experience the dream become a reality – watching the clipper arriving on the MV Palanpur, the vessel transporting it to Australia from Scotland.

It is now going to sit at its temporary home at Dock One at Outer Harbor until a permanent home is found, and where all South Australians can experience a part of this State’s history.

We should all look forward to the main celebration for its arrival around May which will be the 150th anniversary of the ship being launched.

The ship’s arrival after more than a decade is a relief for those involved with the project, but it is also very exciting. A lot of ongoing work will see this clipper ship be the centre of another project, the development of a Seaport Village, which will be a great tourist attraction for the area and for our State as a whole.

Updated 16 September 2013.

After a 14 year campaign, the World's oldest Clipper Ship is bound for South Australia.

The world's oldest clipper and the only surviving purpose-built sailing ship to bring migrants from Europe to Australia  is being readied in Scotland for its imminent - and final - voyage back to Adelaide.

The City of Adelaide's journey will, firstly, head to her original homeport of London for a major celebration and formal farewell in October (2013) at historic Greenwich on the River Thames.

The clipper, atop a large barge, will moor for several days near her younger ‘sister’– the world famous Cutty Sark, a Greenwich landmark for six decades - before continuing her journey via a quarantine and 'preparation stop' in Europe.

She is scheduled to start the 22,000 km trip from Scotland to Adelaide in early September, eventually arriving in Port Adelaide between February and April next year (2014).

The voyage will end an extraordinary 14-year campaign by engineers, maritime historians, ship enthusiasts, descendants of the ship’s migrants and supporters.

The City of Adelaide was regarded as unrecoverable from the banks of the Irvine River in western Scotland. For many years the ship was stranded by a heavily silted river and UK experts feared she could never be extracted as the adjacent delicate wetlands prevented the option of dredging the river to rescue her.

Despite being listed as part of the UK’s National Historic Ships Core Collection, the Trustees of the Scottish Maritime Museum were being forced to vacate the site where the clipper sat. With the ship stranded, they in turn had to request permission to demolish the A-Listed ship. That is until CSCOAL, an Adelaide-based volunteer organisation, stepped in.

She will now embark on the first stage of a voyage half way around the world – back to SA for the first time in more than 125 years.

Weighing 100 tonnes and worth more than $1.2million, the cradle was shipped to Scotland in five shipping containers, before being assembled and tested, and then disassembled again for installation beneath the 450 tonne clipper piece by piece.


The clipper City of Adelaide was renamed HMS Carrick when purchased by the Royal Navy in 1923. This was to avoid confusion with the new cruiser HMAS Adelaide that had recently been commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy. In 2001, the clipper's name reverted to 'City of Adelaide' after a Conference convened by HRH Duke of Edinburgh to discuss the future of the historic ship. A formal renaming ceremony is being planned.

The City of Adelaide clipper weighs over 450 tonnes. In her sailing days she would have weighed 1500 tonnes. In its current state (hull only), the clipper is 54 metres long, which is longer than an Olympic swimming pool (50 metres). Originally - with jib-boom - she was 74 metres – 4 metres longer than a 747 aircraft.

The City of Adelaide was built in 1864, five years before the Cutty Sark. She is one of only four surviving sailing ships to have taken emigrants from the British Isles to any destination in the world, and the last survivor of the timber trade between North America and the United Kingdom. She is the world’s fifth oldest surviving merchant ship, and was designed and built specifically to serve the colony of South Australia.

The City of Adelaide is famous for being specially designed as a passenger ship. Over a quarter of a century the City of Adelaide carried thousands of English, Scottish, Cornish, German, Danish, Irish and other migrants to South Australia. Today, the descendants of her passengers can be found throughout Australia.

Extract from media release by City of Adelaide Clipper Ship committee, 23 August 2013. 
For more detailed information, images or to make a donation please visit the website

The City of Adelaide Clipper Ship is right on course to begin its journey in October from Irvine Bay, Scotland to Port Adelaide.  A big thank you to the City of Adelaide Clipper Ship Preservation Committee who have raised over $3 million and also received $1 million in pledges to assist with the transportation costs. 

The relocation of the City of Adelaide will be an achievement of world significance only accomplished once before when the SS Great Britain was moved from the Falklands to Bristol, however the distance involved in the move of the City of Adelaide is far greater.  A prefabricated steel cradle, with design and engineering support from many firms in Adelaide, has been sent to Scotland to enable the ship to be lifted and moved safely. 

Aerial images of the City of Adelaide - 
Lastest Articles -

Fantastic News - the historic City of Adelaide clipper ship is due to return to Adelaide!


Thanks to the City of Adelaide Ship Committee under leadership of Peter Christopher for all their hard work and to everyone who signed the petition - this is indeed great news for South Australia.


City of Adelaide Ship - Irvine, Scotland

Duncan inspected the City of Adelaide clipper ship at Irvine, Scotland - 25/7/2006

Older News:

Adelaide Now Article - 30/8/10 

Adelaide Now Article - 29/8/10

1 April 2009

I encourage you to sign a petition to the British Prime Minister to acquire the world heritage clipper ship ‘City of Adelaide’ and offer her as a cultural gift to the people of South Australia for our 175th birthday in 2011, or to the Royal Australian Navy for its 100th Birthday also in 2011.

Please forward on to any of your friends and colleagues that are British Citizens (expats are eligible to sign).  At least 200 signatures are required by 16th July for the petition to be considered by Number 10.

Read 21359 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 10:21

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.