The long neglected clipper ship City of Adelaide prepares to travel to Australia


Preparations are being made to take the oldest surviving clipper ship in the world, the City of Adelaide, to Australia, following a decision by the Scottish Government.

The Australian’s interest in the City of Adelaide is her historically important role in carrying emigrants to a new life in the country in a series of 29 regular voyages.

There have been competing attempts to keep her in the UK, including one from from Sunderland, where she was built. However, the Australian bid was identified as the winner.

The piece of steel in the photo may not look like much – but it’s part of a 100-ton A$1M cradle being assembled close to the City of Adelaide herself – she’s currently on a slipway at Irvine in Scotland, where she has stood for many years, slowly rusting away.

The cradle is to be used to transport the famous old ship to Adelaide, where it will be placed on land provided by the Australian Government. Once assembled and following technical load lifting certification, the cradle will be re-assembled under the ship in preparation for lifting and weighing – the final weight will determine which ship is to be booked to take the City of Adelaide on her last long voyage.

The task is being undertaken by two closely-connected Australian bodies working together: the Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd (CSCOAL), a volunteer-run company set up to manage the ship’s transportation to Adelaide, South Australia; and the fund-raising City of Adelaide Preservation Trust. A CSCOAL team of qualified volunteers is on-site managing the project.

A brochure describing the project is available here, and there’s an interesting Wikipedia page here.

15 thoughts on “The long neglected clipper ship City of Adelaide prepares to travel to Australia”

  1. This is the 2012 status of the SS Adelaide it is now 2013 so what is the current status of the worlds oldest clipper ship (The Adelaide)?

  2. I’d like to build a model of the City of Adelaide. Any one know where I can find plans to base my model on or are there actual plans of the ship itself available?

  3. Just use plans for Cutty Sark, however, she is not as old, in worse condition (even after a £55million refit injection of lottery cash) and important or technologically ground breaking as the City of Adelaide which she was modelled on. But hey, she’s not in London and protected by overpaid bureaucrats at National Historic Ships either.

    Ask Martyn Heighton at NHS, I’m sure he will give you all the drawings and plans you need to build a model. Certainly has no intention of saving CofA for the UK where she was born.
    But I wish you all the very best with your intensions to build a model, Good Luck.

    1. Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I found out that the National Maritime Museum had plans of the COA when she was refitted in 1924 and I have based my model on said plans. COA is not quite the same as Cutty Sark as she had first class cabins on the upper deck which gave her a higher superstructure than the CS. The model is well on as I am just starting the second layer of planking to the hull. Quite a difficult model to build as the stern is double curved vertically whilst the CS is not. I believe the COA is now surrounded by her steel cradle and is due to be shipped out to Australia within the next few months but I may be wrong on the timing.

      1. Derek, you are correct and despite my criticism of all the negatives with regard to Historic Ships, CofA is unique in many ways.
        However, your assumption about the ship being moved soon are happily unfounded. The cradle is rusting away without being put in place and CsCoaL have missed several deadlines for her removal from the UK over the last few years.
        She is a survivor and will stay in the UK, one way or another.
        Fair Winds..

  4. Hi

    I have a splendid model of City of Adelaide in a glass case complete with wonderful base showing clipper in the sea.
    It was built a long time ago and I acquired it was a a seroius collector of model ships.

    I have photos if anybody is interested in seeing it and could be tempted into selling it.Can send photos of the model.

    1. Yes very interested. Where are you and how can I take a look?
      Do you have the models history, who built it and where?

      1. Hi Alex.Apologises for the long delay !!
        Please e-mail me on philip.dawes@btinternet with your I will call to discuss this in more detail.I have been away for several months and model is still in my attic.Have lots of photos I can send you.I live in Gloucestershire.
        Many thanks Phil.Dawes

      1. Dear Philip Dawes.
        As said, I’m very interested in the model you describe here and will be pleased for a reply to my offer.

        1. Hi Chris

          Thanks for your e-mail.I have had some many e-mails about this.I know quite a lot about the history and previous owners.
          Please send me your e-mail address and I could send you photos.
          I am an antiques dealer and was offered this yesterday along with other items from a pub.called The Ship.
          Although I photoograghed it in the shop it now at home in my office.

        2. Hi Alex

          Have replied to your e-mail.Ship is at home.I live in the Cotswolds.Have photos which I can send to you if you forward me your e-mail address.Could be of interest to Maritime Museaum or Adelaide society in Australia.
          Had a lot of freinds wanting to purhcase it but have not made any decisons until I have a btter idea of the real value to a collector or maritime museum.Hope to hear from you.


          Philip Dawes.

      2. Hi Chris

        Hi Chris
        Please send me your e-mail address and I will send you pictures.
        I acquired it while being asked to value and purchase a lot of items from a pub.called The Ship.May be of interest to Maritime Museum or Australia as I see the ship is going back there.


        Philip Dawes.
        Know some of the background and previous owners.

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