On the www.news.com website on Satuday morning there appeared a story about the latest happenings – or rather non-happenings to do with the clipper ship “City of Adelaide”.

To say that I was absolutely disgusted to read what the journo had written would be more than just and undersatement. I simply couldn’t believe how ill informed this person really was, AND I still can’t believe how useless our State Government is.

I can’t believe also that people cannot see the signifcance of this vessel to our history here in SA, and in fact to world maritime history as well.

The City of Adelaide is now the ONLY surviving clipper ship in the world – the other was the Cutty Sark but since she caught fire and was badly damaged, the ‘City’ is really the only one left.  This ship was purpose built to carry migrants to South Australia, and did so 23 times between 1864 and 1887.

She is one of only TWO surviving vessels that brough British migrants to Australia – the other is the Edwin Fox and that is now in New Zealand!

She is the OLDEST surviving composite clipper ship in the world – built in Sunderland by Pile & Co in 1864, she is 6 years older than the Cutty Sark.

It is estimated that somewhere in the vicinity of a quarter of a million people – that’s 250,000 people – are descended from the passengers who travelled aboard this vessel during her 23 voyages to South Australia.  That is one hell of a lot of people!

In 2011 it will be the 175th Anniversary of the beginning of South Australia. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this living piece of our history & heritage back in Adelaide for those celebrations?

Did you know that the City of Adelaide bears the coat of arms of our city of Adelaide on her stern? That’s right – when Adelaide the city was just 30 years old, some far seeing gentlemen, including the ship’s first master David Bruce, built this fine vessel and named it after out city, and had the Coat of Arms of Adelaide carved and painted on her stern.

But that is not the only connection to this city and our state – for 23 years she made annual voyages back and forth between English ports and Adelaide. She did not go to any other Australian capital city ports – only to Adelaide and other South Australian ports like Pt Augusta to load wool. And during those 23 years her captains numbered 3 members of the one family  – David Bruce, her first master was in charge of the “City” from 1864-1867; his son John Bruce was her master from 1867-1873; and another son Alexander Bruce was her master from 1875-1876. Twelve – yes 12 of her 23 voyages were under the command of members of the one family. One of those captains – Alexander Bruce was also the Wharfinger at Port Adelaide between 1881 and 1891. Many of his descendants live in South Australia today. And to add to that, John Bruce married the daughter of George French Angus!!

It would be truly great if the Government got off their bums and looked into this vessel properly and did something about saving our heritage!

Please visit the City of Adelaide website at www.cityofadelaide.org.au and while you are in a visiting mode go to that news.com story and read what they have to say there. Oh, and leave a comment too – the address is http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,26283225-2682,00.html

 

 

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