Built in England and launched in May 1864, she spent the next two decades making 23 annual return voyages between the UK and Adelaide, played a vital role in our immigration story, became a floating hospital and a gunnery training ship for the Royal Navy, served as the Glasgow-based headquarters of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Club, sank and was retrieved only to face dereliction, was saved by a group of dedicated Adelaide volunteers and was ultimately shipped to Port Adelaide on the deck of a cargo ship, arriving in February 2014.
She, of course, is the clipper ship, the City of Adelaide, now on a barge in Dock 2 at Port Adelaide as a living museum. Loving restored internally by a growing group of volunteers, the vessel offers a unique experience where visitors live its history, experience the space occupied by travellers and crew more than 150 years ago, walk on the same decks and reach out and touch the very same hull timbers.
The only clipper ship if its kind in Australia and one of just two in the world, the City of Adelaide is a photographer’s delight and fascinating for all ages. Open daily from 10.00am to 3.00pm, its entry fees of $20 per adult, $30 per couple and $15 per person in groups (children under 16 are free) go towards maintaining and further developing the ship as a living, breathing museum for the people of this city and beyond.
Additional funds are raised via ghost tours run by third parties, concerts, dinners and birthday celebrations.
Clipper Ship City of Adelaide director Peter Christopher says the next ambitious plan is to move the ship to a permanent home on adjoining land. Work on the ship’s exterior will then be attended to and disabled access created.
Once completed, it will become the centrepiece of a new maritime heritage attraction and, if Peter and co have their way, will remain in volunteers’ hands as a community, not-for-profit project – they’ve put in so much hard work to bring the ship back to Adelaide and restore it to ever wish to put its future at risk.
For further information, please visit www.cityofadelaide.org.au.