British PM Petitioned to Save 'City of Adelaide' - 16-Mar-09
- Peter Roberts
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A petition to the British Prime Minister, the Hon Gordon Brown, has been created on the Number 10 Downing Street website calling on the UK Government to gift the world heritage clipper ship ‘City of Adelaide’ to the people of South Australia. The petition calls for the ‘City of Adelaide’ to be gifted for the State's 175th birthday in 2011. The petition can be found at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/City-of-Adelaide/.
'City of Adelaide' Preservation Trust Director, Naval Architect Peter Roberts, described the condition of the historic ship as impressive and in remarkably good condition. Trust Director Peter Christopher, who attended the Glasgow 'City of Adelaide' Conference convened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2001, stated that His Highness declared that the ship needed to be saved. In view of UK funding now being channeled into restoration of the fire ravaged 'Cutty Sark', the gifting option, if adopted, provides a good outcome for both the UK authorities and Australia said Mr Christopher.
The 'Cutty Sark' and her 'sister', the five year older 'City of Adelaide', are the world's last two surviving composite clippers.
The ‘City of Adelaide’ presently sits on a slipway in Irvine, Scotland. The clipper’s owners, the Scottish Maritime Museum, have been served notice to remove the clipper from the slipway. The land alongside the slipway is being developed for new housing. With few options remaining to them, the Scottish Maritime Museum is expected to call for tenders later this year to demolish the clipper. The Scottish Maritime Museum estimates that the cost to demolish will be the order of £650,000 (A$1,400,000). A campaign being run from Adelaide would like to see the demolition money spent on returning the historic namesake ship to Port Adelaide.
The ‘City of Adelaide’ was purpose built as a passenger ship in 1864 specifically to bring migrants and goods to South Australia. For nearly a quarter century she plied the route to South Australia, and on return voyages would carry South Australian wheat, wool and copper to the London markets. Today a quarter of a million South Australians are calculated to be descendants of her passengers.
Historic Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Government, describes the ‘City of Adelaide’ as a vessel of high cultural significance at international level. Australian eminent history Professors have described her "as the only surviving sailing ship built to give regular passenger and cargo service between Europe and Australia, she represents a whole foundation era of Australian social and economic history. It is difficult to imagine a more vital icon of the making of modern Australia and of the relationship between Britain and the Australian colonies."
The UK petition is open to all UK citizens including expatriates living in South Australia.