The world’s oldest clipper ship, ‘City of Adelaide’, has been formally transferred from a North Ayrshire museum into the ownership of an Australian company.
At a ceremony last Friday (September 6), which was addressed by local MSP Margaret Burgess, the vessel was handed-over by the Scottish Maritime Museum to the Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Limited.
The ship, which was built in 1864, will now begin its long journey to Australia and is scheduled to arrive in Adelaide by spring of next year. However, the vessel is no condition to take to the water itself. Initially, it will be placed on a barge and will sail to Greenwich in London, where it will berth close to the Cutty Sark before being lifted onto a cargo ship for the journey to Australia.
The ship saw service in the Royal Navy as HMS Carrick (1923 – 1948), and was then known as the Carrick, before reverting to City of Adelaide in 2001.
In 1991, the Carrick, as it then was, sank while berthed at Pacific Quay in the centre of Glasgow, lying on the bottom of the River Clyde for a year. The ship was salvaged and transported to the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine Harbour, where it has remained. However, prohibitive restoration costs, estimated in the region of £10m, meant the museum was unable to do anything other than keep the ship on a slipway, with fears it may have to be destroyed.
Once back in Australia it is hoped the City of Adelaide will be restored to the way it looked when it first took to the seas in 1864.