Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The wonderful "City of Adelaide" stopping in Greenwich on her way to Australia (slightly off topic)

City of Adelaide as she was in the early 1860s
City of Adelaide is coming to Greenwich tomorrow and staying for three days!  Such good news.  Thanks to the Thames Vessels blog for the update.  She is scheduled to arrive at Greenwich during the evening on Thursday 17th October and depart Greenwich at around 12pm on Monday 21st October, on a transport barge, pulled by the tug Dutch Pioneer.  This is not to be missed!

Anyone who was reading my blog back in 2011 will know that I had a real rant about British treatment of one of the last two remaining composite clippers in the world:  City of Adelaide. That post also includes some of the ship's history and the background to the events described below.  The other remaining composite clipper is, of course, Cutty Sark.   Like the Scottish-built Cutty Sark as well as similar ships like Lothair, Borealis, Wynaud and Ambassador, (which were all built in Rotherithe), the Sunderland-built Adelaide's hull was made of both wood and iron, an innovative design which improved the strength of the hull and provided more storage capacity.  She is a very valuable piece of the tea clippers' heritage.

Adelaide being prepared for departure from Irvine
Reading about how City of Adelaide had been allowed to sit and rot in Scotland I was, and remain, disgusted with her state of decay and the fact that it was never addressed.   Rescue bids were mounted by Sunderland and Australian organizations.  At that time it looked very much as though the Australians would win the permission to take her.  As I was upset about the condition of the ship at the time and angry with British authorities for letting it happen I was fairly adamant in my support of the Australian bid.  I felt that we had let Adelaide down and had therefore lost the right to keep her.  It is also the case that when clippers started turning from tea to wool transportation, they became as much a part of Australia's heritage as ours.  So I am delighted that a couple of weeks ago the Thames Pics website reported that Adelaide is on her way to Australia. 

Thanks so much to Rob of the Thames Pics website for the original news that she was coming to Chatham, which made me look further to see when she was coming to Greenwich.  I only found his site a couple of days ago via Twitter, so I was worried that she might have left already.  Here's what Rob said about her arrival at Chatham in September:  "Before leaving these shores, she has come down from Irvine to first be fumigated at Chatham docks and to then say an emotional goodbye at an event in Greenwich by the Cutty Sark with the Duke of Edinburgh in attendance."  Do have a look at the Thames Pics page dedicated to the ship's arrival for some really terrific photographs - Adelaide on the back of a transport ship is an awesome sight.   There is a video of her too, also by Rob on YouTube:

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