Unveiling the Coat of Arms upon the stern of historic vessel City of Adelaide

10 November 2017

On Sunday 15th October a ceremony to unveil the replica Coat of Arms upon the stern of the historic vessel City of Adelaide took place in Port Adelaide, Australia .

The City of Adelaide, built 1864, is the world’s oldest surviving composite clipper ship (wooden hull on iron frames). The massive vessel was purpose built in Sunderland, UK, to carry up to 300 passengers and cargo to and from Adelaide. The City of Adelaide carried emigrants from the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia.

She sailed 23 return voyages between the UK and Adelaide from 1864 - 1887, went into the North American timber trade, was an isolation hospital from 1893 at Southampton until, in 1923, she was bought by the Royal Navy, renamed HMS Carrick and moved to Scotland. From 1948 she became clubrooms for the Royal Naval Reserves.

After sinking in the River Clyde the vessel was raised by the Scottish Maritime Museum and moved to Irvive. The recovery from Scotland followed a 14 year campaign by Adelaide volunteers to save the derelict vessel.  

The Carrick was renamed back to City of Adelaide by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Greenwich on the River Thames prior to being transported by heavy lift ship to Port Adelaide. The City of Adelaide arrived in Adelaide in 2014. Plans are for the ship to be the centre-piece of a seaport village, offering the perfect interactive environment for visitors to learn about Australian maritime and colonial history.

The social history associated with passengers and crew is significant. It has been estimated that a quarter of a million Australians’ ancestry can be traced to the City of Adelaide.  
The ‘defaced’ Red Ensign being flown the day of the ceremony was gifted by National Historic Ships UK, and unique authority granted to City of Adelaide to fly it in Australia.

Coat of Arms

The replica was commissioned by the Adelaide City Council which recognised the significance of this historic vessel. Initial carving was undertaken by Master Carver Ken Vear, the casting manufactured by ASURCO and final painting undertaken by artist Stephen  Bowers. The preparation of the hull, mounting of the Coat of Arms and on board display were undertaken by City of Adelaide volunteers.


The Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd (CSCOAL) is a volunteer run, non government, not for profit organisation, dedicated to preserving the historic 1864 City of Adelaide, and making it the centre-piece of a seaport village in Port Adelaide.

Project update

Since its arrival in Adelaide in 2014 significant preservation has been undertaken. Loose hull planks have been secured, lead paint removed and the ship made safe for visitors. Daily tours have allowed many thousands to see the vessel, while generating much needed income for ongoing work.

An extensive restoration is being currently undertaken of the saloon area, including the deck, the building of replica first class cabins and the Captain’s quarters.

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