sv CARRICK, ex CITY OF ADELAIDE, photo by Frank Parsons
Another clipper that needs
CUTTY SARK is not the only veteran sailing ship that requires
With the tragic fire that has damaged one of the world's last
composite sailing ships, the CUTTY SARK, holding the attention of the
world, it is perhaps fitting to also turn our thoughts to another
In many ways she shares the same heritage. Scotland, England and
Australia all have a claim on this vessel. The former because she
spent so long there, England for that was where she was constructed
and the latter because she was so much a part of the maritime fabric
of that fledgling nation.
The vessel in question is the CITY OF ADELAIDE, built in Sunderland
five years before CUTTY SARK in 1864.
Like the Greenwich-based vessel she is of a composite structure, and
one of the last three remaining. (Composite means having an iron frame
with timber hull). She also has the distinction of being the earliest
She was launched at the Sunderland yard of W. Pile, Hay & Co and was
built as a passenger and cargo vessel. It is astonishing, but true,
that 60% (according to Australian researchers) of the population of
the State of South Australia can trace their family roots to their
ancestors arriving on this ship. This makes her an incredibly
important ship in terms of the part she played in populating the then
After 1887 she was used mainly for transporting bulk cargoes, firstly
coal from the Tyne to Dover and then timber across the Atlantic. In
1893 she was withdrawn from cargo service after being bought by
Southampton Corporation and used as a floating hospital in the
Hampshire port for thirty years.
Thereafter she came to Scotland, to the Clyde, first as a training ship
and then to her berth on the Broomielaw in Glasgow where for
forty-four years she was a well-kent sight to Glaswegians as the club
of the RNVR(Scotland). By now her name was CARRICK.
Tragedy befell her when she ceased to be the RNVR club. After being
purchased by a trust in Glasgow she was moved to Princes Dock in Govan
where she sank. In 1991 she was re-floated and taken to Irvine, on the
Ayrshire coast of the Clyde and became the centrepiece for the
Scottish Maritime Museum.
Despite best efforts the ship has since deteriorated to the point
where the Museum felt they had no option but to demolish the ship.
Protests and initiatives have come from both Sunderland and Australia,
but so far, not enough money has been generated to save the ship from
This year it was announced the ship would have to be 'deconstructed'.
In brutal language that really means broken up, albeit every piece
will be recorded.
So here we have in Great Britain two historic vessels of monumental
importance as maritime and national treasures. One in England that was
built in Scotland, one in Scotland that was built in England and both
have extreme importance to Australia.
Next week experts are to meet to discuss the 'deconstruction'.
Surely there is a case for both CARRICK and CUTTY SARK to be saved,
and between Scotland, England and Australia, some form of co-operation
to ensure they are?