HISTORIC SHIP PLAN FOUNDERING
18th October 2011
Scots may still have to pay for Aussie scheme
By BEN BORLAND
Deputy Editor ( Politics )
A FUNDING row between Scotland and Australia could see the world’s oldest passenger clipper broken up and destroyed – despite a pledge to preserve it by ministers.
The 146 year old City of Adelaide, which has been rotting on the quayside at Irvine, Ayrshire, for more than a decade, is due to be transported to South Australia to become a tourist attraction.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop approved the plan as the most ‘viable’ in August last year, ahead of a bid from the English City of Sunderland, where the ship was built.
However, the Scottish Sunday Express has learned that Ms Hyslop has been rebuffed by the South Australian Government after asking for money to help pay for the project.
In a letter from Adelaide her counterpart, culture minister John Hill, told her ‘this is a private venture and the South Australian Government cannot be considered to be a partner in this undertaking. As you can imagine South Australia already has a rich collection of heritage projects that merit funding. These include several historic vessels and they leave the South Australian Government unable to provide funding to the SV City of Adelaide, either now or in the future.’
He said there were ‘significant issues’ to be resolved before the plan could go ahead, not least ‘a gap in funding’ that was identified by Ms Hyslop in her letter.
This could see Scottish taxpayers being asked to pick up part of the bill, likely to run into millions of pounds, despite the ship being sent to the other side of the world.
It will also come as a serious blow to Ms Hyslop’s hopes of establishing new cultural links between Scotland and Australia.
In his letter, Mr Hill also said he needed guarantees that Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd, the private venture behind the scheme, had enough money to restore the vessel before allowing it a permanent berth on the city’s quayside.
The City of Adelaide, later known as the Carrick, pre-dates the Cutty Sark and took people and wool on more than 20 round trips between Britain and Australia.
Peter Maddison, chairman of the Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Foundation, said yesterday that they were still determined to bring the ship home.
He said; ‘This is devastating news for the South Australian campaign and also very worrying for us because our greatest fear is that it would have to be broken up.
‘The Australians were only the preffered bidders and SCARF are stronger and more able to recover the ship now than we were this time last year’
Two colour pictures were also included with the piece; a group photograph taken in August last year; Fiona Hyslop, MSP Irene Oldfather, Sam Galbraith ( Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum ) and two Mayors, one I believe from Adelaide, the other, perhaps the Mayor of Irvine? They are all happy and smiling and in the background, the Adelaide has her stern to them. The second picture is a classic bow shot of the Clipper.
The picture I have attached to this email shows my daughter Adelaide excited to be alongside her older sister. The heart and ‘come home’ message chalked on to the bow of the Clipper, was painted on by SCARF shipmate, Celebrity chef, Black Horse pub, Boldon; musician, Toy Dolls fame, and photographer, Pete Zulu.