The Duke of Edinburgh, who has been keen on ships and sailing ever since his days as a naval officer, will give the clipper ship, City of Adelaide a royal sendoff next month in Greenwich. The Duke of Edinburgh will see off the ship after it docks next to its well-known sister ship, The Cutty Sark, on the River Thames.
The City of Adelaide, a 150 year old ship with a rich history will embark on its journey home to South Australia. The City of Adelaide is the last remaining ship that carried emigrants from across Europe to Australia in the 19th century as the new colony was just beginning to take hold.
In a 8 July 2010 interview with the Sunderland Echo, the Duke asked for support for saving historic ships. “People had got it into their heads that we are looking after historic buildings, but it was a completely new concept that we should look after historic ships,” the Duke commented. His Royal Highness continued: “The National Trust was there for old buildings, but there was no one there for old ships.”
The ship was built in 1864 in Sunderland by William Pile, Hay and Company. It launched on 7 May the same year. The City of Adelaide is the only ship left from the timber trade between North America and the United Kingdom. It is also part of the National Historic Fleet of the United Kingdom and registered with the prominent Core Collection of the United Kingdom.
In 1992, the ship became the property of the Scottish National Maritime Museum. As renovations began for the next few years, the monies to continue the restoration were not available. In 1999 a fundraiser was started to try to offset the costly price tag to restore the ship. A year late, the Scottish Maritime Museum decided to try and sell the City of Adelaide to no avail. Plans to dismantle and demolish were soon to take place.
The Scottish government announced in 2010 that the ship would not be dismantled or demolished. Work then began on the 100 tonne steel transport cradle.
The City of Adelaide will make its journey to Australia upon a barge and is anticipated to reach Port Adelaide between February and April 2014.