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SHIPS AND SHIPPING January 2010 7
Dozens of prominent Australians are behind an appeal to
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to prevent the
demolition of the world's oldest surviving clipper ship, the
'City of Adelaide'.
The appeal is being led by the Queen's representative and
Governor of South Australia, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce. Among
other notable Australians supporting the cause are United
Nations Special Envoy to Cyprus and former Australian Foreign
Minister, Alexander Downer; State and Federal ministers, the
Lord Mayor of Adelaide and four former Adelaide Lord Mayors;
several current and former Chancellors of Australian universities;
and numerous academic, business and political figures, including
Neil Baird, Chairman of Baird Maritime.
Built in 1864, the rare passenger ship made annual runs from
London to South Australia carrying thousands of United
Kingdom and European migrants who would lay the foundation
for the state's economic and social history. Today, a quarter of a
million living descendants can trace their origins to passengers
who sailed on the 'City of Adelaide'.
The clipper ship currently sits on a slipway in Scotland and
the Scottish Maritime Museum has called for tenders to demolish
it. The North Ayrshire Council in Scotland has approved the
museum's application to demolish which stated the cost could be
as high as US$1.08 million.
This decision was forced on the museum after the landowners
of the slipway called for the ship's removal, purportedly for
developers, to build a housing complex. Tenders for demolition
closed on November 23.
The 'City of Adelaide' Preservation Trust, which is driving the
campaign, says their major objective is to move the ship to a
temporary location in the United Kingdom, which will cost in
the region of US$1.25 million.
"Ultimately, we wish to transport the vessel to Adelaide -- and
this can be undertaken for a further US$1.99 million -- but our first
priority is to ensure it is not demolished," said naval architect Peter
Roberts, a descendant of one of the earlier migrants.
"I would also like to dispel rumours that the vessel is in
disrepair and rotting. This is definitely not the case and until the
1980s, it was used as clubrooms for the local naval reserves."
Mr Roberts said preserving the ship for future generations was
a far better outcome than demolishing it.
"To keep down the costs, we are seeking support from Australian
and UK companies and individuals to assist us in moving the 'City
of Adelaide' to a temporary site in the UK," he said.
The Open Letter is online at http://cityofadelaide.org.au/aust-
Appeal to save world's oldest sur viving clipper ship 'City of Adelaide'
Clipper Ship, 'City of Adelaide', 1,000 tonnes, David Bruce, Commander.
The original was a hand coloured lithograph by Thomas Dutton (c.1819-
1891) published in London by William Foster, August 1, 1864 just prior to
the maiden voyage. It is dedicated "To Messrs. Devitt & 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"
Time's nearly up -- the 'City of Adelaide', resting on a slipway in Scotland,
must now be rescued or demolished
Photo credit: Dr Douglas E Wilcox, University of Glasgow
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