SEA BREEZES FEBRUARY 2010 • VOL 84 • NO. 770
For many years now the historic composite constructed clipper City of Adelaide (built 1864) has lain on a slipway at Irvine, Scotland. She now presents a sad and forlorn picture – neglected and decaying, only a hair’s breadth away from being broken up.
Astonishingly this is a vessel considered to be in the top ten of nationally significant ships in the UK, up there with the likes of Nelson’s HMS Victory, Brunel’s ss Great Britain and the Cutty Sark. I personally remember the City of Adelaide well, when as the Carrick she lay alongside a city centre berth in Glasgow as the headquarters of the RNVR.
Built in 1864 at the William Pile yard on the river Wear, Sunderland, England, she was designed and built specifically to carry passengers and freight between London and Australia (Adelaide). She was fundamental to the development of that then colony. As her possible final hours approach (as we go to press, her fate hangs in the balance) there are powerful, emotional efforts from Australia and her birthplace Sunderland to save her.
That such a vessel faces wanton destruction is a matter of shame. Paintings and other works of art, threatened merely by export are routinely ‘saved for the nation’ (and rightly so) at the cost of many millions. We are, however, so careless and disrespectful of our maritime history that this fine example of a bygone era of our merchant shipping history may just slip away quietly and without fuss. My aim in this message, is not to point the finger of blame at any organisation or indeed individual, for we are all to blame, but rather to try to foster a more caring and respectful approach and regard for our proud maritime past.
Captain Hamish A C Ross (Deputy Editor)