Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Clipper ship cradle about to set sail for Scotland – 28 October 2011

We’ve been following the fate of the unfortunate clipper ‘City of Adelaide’ for some time, both here and in the Forum, see: The Carrick or City of Adelaide is laid to rest.

Most people around Glasgow know the vessel as ‘The Carrick’ from its days moored on the River Clyde, where it lay between 1923 and 1989. Unfortunately, it also sank there on  more than one occasion, and ownership eventually passed to the Scottish Maritime Museum. During the period 1992/1993, the remains were moved to a private slipway adjacent to the museum, and a number of scenarios followed, including the proposed deconstruction of the remains, and demolition. Fortunately, the latter option was deemed not to meet the requirements of deconstruction, which would have seen a proper historical record made of all parts and construction methods found.

There are more detailed listing of various incidents and proposals regarding the decaying vessel as it lay neglected in Irvine, and many of these were noted in the Forum thread mentioned above, and we will not be trying to list them here. Please refer to the thread for more information, if desired.

We also have two past Blog entries relating to the City of Adelaide:

June 1, 2011 – City of Adelaide is still rotting away in Irvine

January 4, 2010 – City of Adelaide rots while authorities dither

The Forum followed more current developments, including this article from August 31, 2010 – Culture Minister announces plan to save City of Adelaide/Carrick with Australian bidder

I had largely forgotten about things after this, as there did not seem to be much happening.


It seems that the wheels had indeed been ‘set in motion’ following the Scottish Culture Minister’s announcement, and I just found the following Media Release from the latter part of 2010, which I am pleased to be able to reproduce in full below:

Clipper Ship Cradle About to Set Sail for Scotland

Media Release

28 October 2011

The project to return the world’s oldest clipper ship, the ‘City of Adelaide’, to Port Adelaide will reach another important milestone tomorrow with the completion of the base of a giant 100 tonne steel cradle. A ceremony at Gillman will herald the completion of the cradle base that will support the clipper during its transport from Scotland to Australia. The cradle base has been pre-assembled for integration checks and will be shipped to Scotland in a week’s time.

Valued at $1 million, the cradle has being jointly donated by over a dozen Adelaide and SA regional firms. The ceremony will take place at Samaras Structural Engineers who have donated both labour and materials to the project and will be marked by the cutting of a ribbon by Senator Don Farrell, a staunch supporter of the project and the descendant of a clipper ship captain.

Senator Farrell said “This is an excellent project that helps to mark South Australia’s 175th year. South Australians should be proud, as I am of the collegiate spirit of the engineering firms from across the State that have combined forces to build the cradle. The ‘City of Adelaide’ is an icon of the foundation era of Australia’s social and economic history. It is one of only four surviving sailing ships in the world to have transported emigrants from the British Isles to any destination and will be the only surviving sailing ship in Australia to have brought migrants here.”

Senator Farrell, George Samaras, the General Manager of Samaras Structural Engineers, Creagh O’Connor, the Chairman of the City of Adelaide Preservation Trust, and a group of supporters from the Trust and other donors will also attend the ceremony.

Adelaide firms Aztec Analysis and Bown Contracting and Drafting have designed the cradle so that it can be built over multiple South Australian sites, and then shipped to Glasgow in shipping containers for assembly underneath the ‘City of Adelaide’. The clipper and cradle will then be rolled onto a barge for transfer to a deep port, where it will be transferred onto an ocean-going ship for the voyage to Australia.


The ‘City of Adelaide’ and the ‘Cutty Sark’ are the world’s last two surviving clipper ships. Built in 1864, the ‘City of Adelaide’ is the elder of the two. It made annual runs for a quarter-century from London to South Australia carrying thousands of UK and European migrants. In Australia today, a quarter of a million living descendants can trace their origins to passengers that sailed on the ‘City of Adelaide’.

The ‘City of Adelaide’ currently sits on a slipway in Scotland and its owners, the Scottish Maritime Museum, are being evicted from the site. With few options, they called for tenders to demolish the ship. The City of Adelaide Preservation Trust lodged a bid to ‘demolish’ the ship by taking it to Australia in one piece. Late last year the Scottish Government announced that the Australian solution was the preferred bidder.

To date 75% of the project costs have been funded through contributions from Scottish Government, Adelaide City Council and Port Adelaide Enfield Council, as well as public and corporate donations. The South Australian Government is contributing land to display the clipper at Cruickshank Corner in Port Adelaide


From left to right, then top to bottom, the details of the above images are as follows:

  1. Parts pre-fabrication at Samaras Structural Engineers at Gillman. Photo by Richard Smith.
  2. Cradle fabrication at MG Engineering at Port Adelaide. Photo by Richard Smith.
  3. Cradle fabrication at MG Engineering at Port Adelaide. Photo by Richard Smith.
  4. Finished cradle components at SJ Cheesman Engineering at Port Pirie. Photo by Richard Smith.
  5. Cradle integration assembly at Samaras Structural Engineers at Gillman. Photo by Richard Smith.
  6. Laser-survey silhouette of ‘City of Adelaide’ on cradle. Cradle design by Aztec Analysis; cradle detail design and graphic by Steve Bown.
  7. The transportation cradle.  Cradle design by Aztec Analysis; cradle detail design and graphic by Steve Bown.
  8. End view of transportation cradle and silhouette of clipper. Cradle design by Aztec Analysis; cradle detail design and graphic by Steve Bown.
  9. Colourised (real colour) laser survey scan. Laser survey and graphic by Headland Archaeology, Edinburgh.

via Clipper Ship Cradle About To Set Sail For Scotland – 28 Oct 2011 | 2011 News.

Update for w/e Friday 27 January 2012

We received the following update:

Hot off the press from an Adelaide paper last week.

2 containers with 40 tons of steel for the prefabricated cradle have arrived at Irvine.  3 more containers comprising the rest of the cradle should arrive this month.

The ship can be carried onto a river barge, taken into deep water and loaded onto an ocean-going ship which will carry it to Port Adelaide.

Update for w/e Friday 10 February 2012

This was later found to have been reported earlier by the media in Irvine:

THE historic Carrick clipper ship will be ready to leave Irvine for Australia before the end of March, according to campaigners in Oz.

That’s when the Save the Clipper City of Adelaide Preservation Trust expect a giant 100 tonne cradle which will transport the vessel Down Under will be in place.

The first two containers of prefabricated components of the cradle arrived in Irvine on Friday.

The last three containers, each carrying 15 to 20 tonnes of cradle parts, are due in late February.

The trust proposed four years ago that the ship’s recovery to Adelaide be the major project to mark South Australia’s 175th birthday but they still need to find funding to ship the vessel abroad.

The plan is to roll the 150-year-old clipper and cradle onto a barge for transfer to a deep port, where it will be transferred onto an ocean-going ship for the voyage to Port Adelaide.

Via Carrick ready for the off – Irvine Herald. Dated January 13, 2012.


January 20, 2012 - Posted by | Appeal, Lost, Maritime, Transport | , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: