The voyage has just begun of the world’s only surviving purpose-built sailing ship and the oldest clipper ship to bring migrants from Europe to Australia, the City of Adelaide. It will end an extraordinary 14-year-campaign by the City of Adelaide Preservation Trust, a committed group of engineers, maritime historians, ship enthusiasts, descendants of the ship’s migrants and supporters.
After delays due to adverse weather conditions in Ayrshire, a crowd of up to 1,000 people watched the vessel leave Scotland on Friday 20 September for the last time.
The ship has been at the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine since it was salvaged in 1992, after sinking the previous year in Glasgow’s River Clyde.
It is being towed to her original homeport of London for a formal farewell in October at historic Greenwich on the River Thames. There it 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.
The City of Adelaide is scheduled to eventually arrive in Port Adelaide between February and April next year.
The City of Adelaide was built on the River Wear in Sunderland in 1864 to carry people emigrating to southern Australia. In 1893 it became a hospital ship, but in 1924 was converted into a training ship at Irvine, and renamed HMS Carrick.
A rescue campaign mounted by rival consortiums from Adelaide and Sunderland saw the City of Adelaide Preservation Trust win the bid for ownership. It formally took control of the Adelaide two weeks ago.
BBC footage of the ship leaving Scotland can be seen here