Aust. Open Letter to UK - 30-Nov-09

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Open Letter

To the Prime Minister and People of the United Kingdom,

30 November 2009

The historic clipper ship City of Adelaide

You are entrusted with a historic ship of undoubted international significance. The 'City of Adelaide' is an extraordinarily important part of our common heritage. 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 economic and social 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.

In the 1800s, thousands of European migrants made the long and arduous voyage to Australia. They all came by sea, many to establish a new life. It was a trade involving hundreds of ships from convict transports to gold rush clippers. Despite its pivotal role in the development of the country, the only significant remaining heritage of this ship trade is the ‘City of Adelaide’.

The ‘City of Adelaide’ was purpose built to serve the passenger trade. For a quarter of a century, the clipper played an important role in the development of the colony of South Australia. She carried all classes of passengers from the rich to the poor, from people 'of substance', to government assisted emigrants. Her first class cabins were considered to be the finest of the sailing ship era. Today their descendents living in South Australia number in the hundreds of thousands.

On annual outward voyages to Adelaide she carried goods needed for the colony’s development and survival. On return voyages to London, she would carry South Australian produce including copper and wool. The ‘City of Adelaide’ made more visits to the fledgling colony than any other vessel before or since.

We are a relatively young nation. In 2011, Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, will be celebrating its 175th birthday, the Royal Australian Navy will celebrate its 100th year, and the clipper ship ‘City of Adelaide’ will be 147 years old. She therefore represents a unique and tangible link to our colonial past.

Presently the ‘City of Adelaide’ sits on a slipway in Scotland and is in the way of a housing development. That there are now plans to spend considerable funds to demolish the historic ship in order to clear the site causes great alarm and dismay.

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh has highlighted that much effort and concentration is lavished on the preservation of great and historic buildings. The same cannot be said for historic ships … The coming of the machine age put an end to thousands of years of wooden sail-driven ships. The ‘City of Adelaide’ is one of the most important historic vessels in the United Kingdom and every effort should be made to ensure the future of the vessel.

We especially urge the people of the United Kingdom to ensure that this grand lady of the days of sail is not demolished and broken into pieces. We write to assure you that as the eyes of the world switch to the United Kingdom for the 2010 Tall Ship Races and the 2012 London Olympics your actions in protecting the world heritage with which you are entrusted will be followed closely by the Australian community, and indeed by that of the international maritime community.

Yours sincerely,

His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR Governor of South Australia, Patron Clipper Ship ‘City of Adelaide’ Preservation Trust.

The Hon Robert (Bob) Hawke AC, 23rd Prime Minister of Australia, former president Australian Council of Trade Unions, born in South Australia.

The Hon Alexander Downer, former and longest-serving Foreign Minister of Australia, United Nations Special Envoy to Cyprus, born and still living in Adelaide.

The Hon Robert Hill, Chair Australian Carbon Trust, United States Studies Centre Adjunct Professor in Sustainability, former Australian Ambassador to the United Nations, former Australian Defence Minister, former Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, former Senator for South Australia, Adelaide boy.

Lady Anne Miller, Chief Royal Caledonian Society of South Australia.

Sir James Hardy KBE OBE, yachtsman, businessman and community leader.

Sir Eric Neal AC CVO, Chancellor Flinders University, former Governor of South Australia, Australian Centenary Medal, US Department of Defence Medal, former Chair Coral Sea Commemorative Council, former Australian Chair and International Trustee Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, yachtsman.

The Hon John William von Doussa QC, Chancellor University of Adelaide, former President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, former Judge of the Federal Court of Australia.

Dr. Ian Gould, Chancellor University of South Australia, Chair Australian Institute of Marine Science, Chair South Australian Minerals and Petroleum Expert Group, Chair CSIRO Mineral Resources Sector Advisory Committee, former Managing Director-Australia CRA/Rio Tinto Group.

Robert Champion de Crespigny AC, Deputy Chairman Said Business School Development Board (Oxford University), 2002 South Australian of the Year, founder and former Executive Chairman Normandy Mining Ltd., former Chairman Economic Development Board of South Australia, former Chancellor University of Adelaide.

The Hon Dr Basil Hetzel AC, National Trust Living Treasure, former Lieutenant Governor of South Australia, 2009 Pollin Prize in Paediatric Research (USA), Hawke Centre Inaugural Chair and Patron, Honorary Professor Tianjin Medical University (China), Prince Mahidol Award (Thailand), RSL ANZAC Peace Prize, former Chancellor University of South Australia.

Jack Mundey AO, National Trust Living Treasure, Chair Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, Life Member Australian Conservation Foundation.

Julian Burnside AO QC, National Trust Living Treasure, barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, author, 2004 Human Rights Law Award, 2007 Australian Peace Prize, Patron and Chair of numerous arts organisations.

Rick Allert AO, Chairman Australian Tourism Commission.

Robert Foord, Chairman South Australian Tourism Commission.

Anita Aspinall AM, President National Trust of South Australia, Director Australian Council of National Trusts, inaugural Mayor Adelaide Hills Council, former Mayor District Council of Stirling, former Chair McLaren Vale Water Allocation Committee, Australian Centenary Medal.

Professor Geoffrey Bolton AO, former Chancellor Murdoch University, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London).

Professor Tom Griffiths, Australian National University, joint winner Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History 2008.

Professor Rob Morrison OAM, Flinders University, South Australian Senior Australian of the Year 2008.

Dr. John Bach AM, Chair Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks, former President Australian Association for Maritime History.

Nuala Hafner, media personality, Seven Networks ‘Sunrise’ Entertainment Editor, co-winner 2001 SA Tourism Award, “Youth Plus" Mentor, National Youth Week Ambassador, former Adelaide girl.

Rob Gehling FRINA, Secretary and past President of Royal Institution of Naval Architects Australian Division, Chairman International Maritime Organisation's Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines and on Fishing Vessel Safety, former Adelaide and Port Augusta boy.

Neil Baird, founder, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Baird Publications Group (one of world’s leading maritime publishers and exhibition organisers), Chairman Australian Marine Environment Protection Association, former director Australian Shipbuilders Association, former director Australian Maritime Network.

Liz Hay, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Shipbuilders Association, Chief Executive Officer Australian Ship Repairers Group.

Trevor Powell, Chief Port Adelaide Caledonian Society, President Scottish Associations of South Australia.

Tom Chapman, former Chairman of the SA Community Services Committee for Jubilee150 and the Australian Bicentenary celebrations, National President Apex Australia, President of World Council of Young Men’s Service Clubs, descendant of passengers on the ‘City of Adelaide’.

Peter Roberts, Naval Architect, Program Manager Future Projects ASC Pty. Ltd. (former Australian Submarine Corporation), descendant of passengers on the ‘City of Adelaide’.

The Right Hon. The Lord Mayor of City of Adelaide, Mr Michael Harbison.

Professor Alfred Huang AM, University of South Australia, former Patron Clipper Ship ‘City of Adelaide’ Preservation Trust, former Lord Mayor of City of Adelaide 2000-2003, South Australian Special Envoy to China.

The Hon Jane Lomax-Smith MP, Member for Adelaide, Minister for the City of Adelaide, former Lord Mayor of City of Adelaide 1997-2000.

Steve Condous, former Lord Mayor of City of Adelaide 1987-1993, businessman, former MP Member for Colton.

Wendy Chapman AM, former Lord Mayor of City of Adelaide 1983-1985, inaugural Chairman of South Australian Tourism Industry Council, Jubliee150 Board, Formula 1 Grand Prix Board, Tourism Advisory Board of South Australia, State Government Heritage Committee.

His Worship, the Mayor of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield, Mr Gary Johanson, (main trading port where ‘City of Adelaide’ disembarked and embarked passengers and cargo, and was twice repaired on Fletcher’s Slip).

Her Worship the Mayor of the City of Port Augusta, Joy Baluch AM, (colonial port where ‘City of Adelaide’ collected wool and copper for export).

His Worship the Mayor of the City of Playford, Mr Martin Lindsell, Vice President Scottish Associations of South Australia.

The Hon John Bannon, President History Council of South Australia, former Premier of South Australia.

The Hon Mark Butler MP, Federal Member for Port Adelaide.

Senator the Hon Nick Minchin, Australian Senate.

Senator Simon Birmingham, Australian Senate.

Senator Anne McEwen, Australian Senate.

Senator Don Farrell, Australian Senate.

Senator John Williams, Australian Senate.

Senator Mary Jo Fisher, Australian Senate.

The Hon Jack Snelling MP, Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly.

Tom Kenyon MP, Member for Newland.

Dr. Duncan McFetridge MP, Shadow Minister for Health, former Shadow Minister for the Arts.

Frances Bedford MP, Member for Florey.

Vice Admiral David Shackleton RAN, AO, former Chief of Navy 1999-2002, Commander in the U.S Legion of Merit, joined Royal Australian Navy from Adelaide in 1966.

Malcolm Kinnaird AC, former Chairman Young Endeavour Youth Scheme, 2003 South Australian of the Year, inaugural appointee South Australian Engineers Hall of Fame.

Bill Muirhead, South Australian Agent General in London, founding Director M&C Saatchi, former Chairman Saatchi & Saatchi Europe, former Chief Executive and President Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide.

Peter Wylie, Chairman of Advertiser Newspapers Pty Ltd. (customer of the 'City of Adelaide' in the 1860s-1880s).

Dr Hans J. Ohff, Engineer and Historian, Visiting Research Fellow Adelaide University, former Managing Director Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) and Chairman of the Australian Shipbuilding Industry Ltd (ASI).

Angelo Kotses, Managing Director Bickfords Australia (customer of the 'City of Adelaide' in the 1860s-1880s).

Glenn Cooper, fifth generation brewing Cooper, Marketing Director and Executive Chairman Coopers Brewery (est. 1862), former Chairman Adelaide Fringe Committee, Chairman of the Adelaide Convention and Tourism Authority, former Chairman Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation.

Dr Tim Cooper AM, fifth generation brewing Cooper, Managing Director Coopers Brewery (est. 1862).

Steven Trigg, Chief Executive Officer, Adelaide Football Club.

Mark Haysman, Chief Executive Officer, Port Adelaide Football Club.

Les Burdett OAM, Adelaide Oval Manager.

Darren Lehman, former first-class Australian cricketer, former Captain South Australian Cricket Team, former Captain Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Srikantan Ramamurthy, founder Srikantan Ramamurthy Cricket Collection, B.E.Mech, MIE(Aust), CPEng(Aust), ASME(New York), former shipbuilder.

Heather Southcott AM, President United Nations Association of Australia SA Division, former South Australian House of Assembly Member for Mitcham.

Bruce Stannard AM, writer, publisher and Australian maritime historian.

Eric Bogle AM, folk singer-songwriter.

Mark Gilbert, co-Managing Director Aztec Analysis, heavy lift specialist.

Richard Smith, Project Director, client representative on major construction projects, former Commodore Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron.

Peter Christopher, maritime historian, author, diver and shipwreck authority, former Councillor of the Australian Institute of Maritime Archaeology.

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