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Culture Minister announces plan to save City of Adelaide/Carrick with Australian bidder

28 August 2010

          Minister for Culture & External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, with a model of the SV City of Adelaide

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs , today (28th August) announced the decision which may finally secure the future of the SV City of Adelaide and establish new cultural links with Australia .

The Minister has named the Australian Group, The Clipper Ship, City of Adelaide , as the preferred bidder to move the internationally important vessel, also known as The Carrick, which has lain on a slipway in Irvine for over a decade.

Ms Hyslop said: “The City of Adelaide has an illustrious past shared by two nations, Scotland and Australia . This bid gives us the opportunity to save the ship build on that link and open up the potential for both countries to recognise partnerships and shared heritage on an international scale.

“We can now have a link between Scotland and Australia which allows both nations to share the vessel’s historical, cultural and social significance through tourism, interpretation and education. If the vessel moves within the timescales suggested,  the ship will arrive in Adelaide in time for the celebration of South Australia ’s ‘Jubilee Year’ in 2011 celebrating the 175th anniversary of the State.

“I was impressed and inspired by the enormous commitment shown by the Australian and Sunderland groups for the vessel. I am aware that everyone who worked on the unsuccessful bid will be disappointed. However, because of the need for the vessel to be removed from its current location, a viable alternative to deconstruction had to be identified in order to save the ship.

”I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the process, the bidders, the Scottish Maritime Museum, National Historic Ships and North Ayrshire Council for the commitment to preserving the vessel in the most appropriate way.”  

A report looking at possible options for the City of Adelaide was commissioned by Historic Scotland and will be available online shortly. The options were: managed deconstruction of the vessel for recording and public display; relocation in Scotland ; and two bids by Clipper Ship ‘City of Adelaide ’ Ltd (CSCoAL)  and the Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Foundation (SCARF), to remove the vessel from Scotland .

The Minister has now instructed Historic Scotland to ensure the bid team and all other parties are aware of the requirements necessary to progress the project to completion.

Various proposals have previously been put forward, but none has proved viable and consent for the vessel’s recorded deconstruction was granted in 2007.

The Minister added: “No one involved in discussions surrounding the City of Adelaide for the past decade wants to see it deconstructed but unfortunately, until now, it seemed the only practical solution and that has now changed. Working with the Australians to ultimately preserve this ship will ensure that her story is not forgotten and that both countries can share our expertise and develop partnerships for better cultural connections in the future.”

Cunninghame South MSP Irene Oldfather said: “My first official engagement as an MSP in 1999 was to the Scottish Martime Museum , where I was first made aware of the plight of the Carrick. Having now campaigned for over a decade to save the vessel, there have been times when it looked like the case had been lost. Now, we have found a solution, and there is a positive outlook for the ship.

“While it will be a sadly missed feature of the Irvine harbour area, personally I believe that preserving the vessel for future generations is the single most important factor that had to be taken into account. It appears that the Adelaide bid offers that way forward.

“The transfer of the ship to Adelaide will help to strengthen the shared cultural and historical bonds between Scotland and Australia . I look forward to seeing how the plan for the transfer progresses.

Sam Galbraith, Chair of Trustees, Maritime Museum , also welcomed the announcement. He said: “This is a great step forward. We were delighted with the quality of the Australian bid as they clearly thought through the way they would deal with the challenging task of moving the boat.”

North Ayrshire Council Provost, Pat McPhee, said: “I have watched how hard the team has worked over the last few years and greatly welcome today’s announcement for them and the vessel. I am originally from Glasgow and the vessel was such an important part of my youth and I wish her the best of luck.”

Rosemary McKay, of the City of Adelaide Preservation Trust , who is currently visiting the Maritime Museum , said: “I am ecstatic about today’s announcement and I’m very emotionally. There is now a lot of hard work ahead and the Australian team will need a lot of support. The main aim has always been to save the ship. Now she will be going home Port Adelaide , where she belongs.”

Notes for editors

  • The owners of the vessel, the Scottish Maritime Museum, and The Clipper Ship, City of Adelaide Ltd. will now apply to North Ayrshire Council for listed building consent for the work needed to prepare the Carrick for removal

  • The City of Adelaide (also known as HMS Carrick during its Royal Navy term) is an A listed 19th Century ship and is currently dry berthed at Irvine Harbour and owned by the Scottish Maritime Museum It is one of only two surviving Clippers and is on the register of the National Historic Fleet.  It is considered by naval experts to be one of the most significant historic vessels to survive to the present day, both for its age and rarity, and for its historic connections. It has a close cultural association with South Australia many of whose present day residents can trace their ancestors’ outward voyage from the UK on the vessel. Further information on the history and background to the case can be found on our website at:

  • The 176ft passenger and cargo vessel was built in Sunderland in 1864. Apart from the Cutty Sark, it is the only surviving clipper ship in the world. The National Historic Ships Committee (UK) included it in its as one of the most significant vessels on its list of around 200 ships of the National Historic Fleet.

  • In 1893 the City of Adelaide was converted to a hospital ship at Southampton; in 1924 converted to a training ship at Irvine and renamed the HMS Carrick; it was moored at Greenock until 1950 and then in Glasgow at Custom House Quay when it was used as a clubhouse for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). Historic Scotland took the unusual step of listing the Carrick at category A in 1990. The following year the vessel sank in Princes Dock, Glasgow, and lay at the bottom of the River Clyde for a year before it was raised by the Scottish Maritime Museum (SMM) and moved to Irvine

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

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For further information

Lisa Nicholson
Communications and Media Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8852 or 07500 065 438