After years of speculation over the future of the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship, including dismantling it, the volunteer group Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd, (CSCoAL) won the right to take it back to South Australia.

Known as The Carrick to the people of Irvine, the iconic ship moved slowly on to a giant barge with the assistance of a computer-controlled wheel device, after a hand-over ceremony at the Scottish Maritime Museum.

For many, the procession was bittersweet - an iconic, but haggard, piece of the Irvine landscape leaving forever, unable to gain the funds necessary to be restored or preserved. However, the final journey to South Australia will see the ship is looked after.

Wendy Chapman, former Lord Mayor of Adelaide, told the Herald: “It’s been a long task and it’s been a very valuable experience and the directors of our company have worked tirelessly for many years.

“Once the ship reaches South Australia, it truly marks a new chapter in The City of Adelaide clipper ship because there is so much to do for preservation.
“She will not be restored, that was never intended, but she will be preserved and she will be a symbol of the heritage of South Australia, and the cultural heritage that Scotland has preserved, albeit she’s not in the smartest state.
“It will allow our children and grandchildren to understand the hardships that the immigrants went through to come and settle our free colony.”

Angus McDonald was the foreman at Irvine Maritime for 16 years. He told the Herald.
“I’m glad to see someone taking this ship away, it really is great.
“Heritage Scotland let us down on the financial side of things so hopefully the new owners will take care of her.”

The vessel will head to London where it will be loaded onto the hold of a cargo ship before making the final journey to Australia. It’s thought the clipper should arrive in south Australia in Spring 2014.

The Carrick sank on the River Clyde in 1991, before being brought to Irvine a year later.

At the hand-over ceremony, pupils from Castlepark and Irvine Royal read out letters that will accompany the ship on the final journey to South Australia.

The pupils told of their affection for the ship and all it meant to Irvine in the time it has spent in the town.

Source: The Irvine Herald