SUNDERLAND-built clipper ship the City of Adelaide has completed an epic three-month voyage to arrive at its namesake new home in Australia.
The hull of the world’s oldest surviving clipper entered Port Adelaide on board the heavy lift ship MV Palanpur yesterday to complete its journey from the UK.
Its arrival follows a bitter battle between those wanting to return the City of Adelaide to its Wearside birthplace and their counterparts down under planning to make it into a museum because of its Australian links.
Peter Christopher, of the Clipper Ship City of Adelaide charity involved in the restoration effort, said: “It’s absolutely terrific, after a long campaign, to see a successful conclusion and to finally see the City of Adelaide back in the city of Adelaide.
“We never gave up. We always believed it was going to happen, but it’d be fair to say there’s been some long and difficult times in between.”
The Grade I-listed vessel set off from Scotland last September, where it had lain rotting for years.
The cost of the repairs it needed after being negelected for so long was put in excess of £10million.
Making 23 passenger voyages to South Australia between 1864 and 1886, the City of Adelaide carried migrants on 65-day voyages from London.
In 1893, the vessel became a hospital ship, but in 1924, it was converted into a training vessel at Irvine and renamed the HMS Carrick.
The ship sank in Glasgow in 1991 and lay on the bottom of the River Clyde for a year before being raised.
In October, the Duke of Edinburgh led an official renaming ceremony of the ship, at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.
Peter Maddison, of the Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Fund, told the Echo at the time: “It would be a national disgrace if something so precious and important to our great maritime history was allowed to be exported.”
Cranes will now be used to lift the clipper onto a barge, which will be towed to Dock One at Port Adelaide.
A ceremony will be held in May, to celebrate the clipper’s 150th anniversary.