The South Australian Trade
The ship spent 23 years making annual runs to and from South Australia, playing an important role in the development of the colony. Researchers have estimated that a quarter of a million South Australians can trace their origins to passengers on the City of Adelaide.
At least six diaries, kept by passengers and describing respective voyages, have survived from the 23 return voyages between London and Adelaide.
By at least 1876, the City of Adelaide was also calling at Port Augusta, South Australia, on the return voyages. At Port Augusta, copper from Henry Martin's Blinman and Yudnamutana copper mines in the Flinders Ranges, and wool from outback sheep stations would be loaded before racing to the wool sales in London.
|Voyage||Departure Date||Arrival Date||Duration|
|London to Adelaide||6 August 1864||7 November 1864||93 days|
|Adelaide to London||20 January 1865||3 May 1865||105 days|
|London to Adelaide||26 July 1865||12 October 1865||78 days|
|Adelaide to London||5 January 1866||13 April 1866||100 days|
|London to Adelaide||27 July 1866||11 October 1866||76 days|
|Adelaide to London||27 December 1866||10 April 1867||106 days|
|London to Adelaide||25 July 1867||12 October 1867||79 days|
|Adelaide to London||17 December 1867||7 April 1868||113 days|
|London to Adelaide||29 June 1868||23 September 1868||86 days|
|Adelaide to London||9 November 1868||26 February 1869||109 days|
|London to Adelaide||13 May 1869||31 July 1869||79 days|
|Adelaide to London||3 November 1869||16 March 1870||133 days|
|London to Adelaide||24 May 1870||18 August 1870||86 days|
|Adelaide to London||18 November 1870||3 March 1871||105 days|
|London to Adelaide||2 June 1871||20 August 1871||79 days|
|Adelaide to London||30 October 1871||25 January 1872||87 days|
|London to Adelaide||25 June 1872||28 September 1872||95 days|
|Adelaide to London||14 November 1872||24 February 1873||102 days|
|London to Adelaide||11 April 1873||3 July 1873||83 days|
|Adelaide to London||3 November 1873||15 February 1874||104 days|
|London to Adelaide||29 May 1874||24 August 1874||86 days|
|Adelaide to London||16 November 1874||21 March 1875||135 days|
|London to Adelaide||28 June 1875||26 September 1875||90 days|
|Adelaide to London||11 November 1875||24 February 1876||105 days|
|London to Adelaide||26 May 1876||18 August 1876||84 days|
|Adelaide to Port Augusta, South Australia||on/after 1 September 1876||on/before 13 October 1876|
|Port Augusta, South Australia, to London||31 October 1876||9 February 1877||101 days|
|London to Adelaide||19 April 1877||25 July 1877||97 days|
|Adelaide to Port Augusta, South Australia||on/after 16 August 1877||on/before 10 October 1877|
|Port Augusta, South Australia, to London||31 October 1877||7 March 1878||127 days|
|London to Adelaide||21 April 1878||22 July 1878||92 days|
|Adelaide to London||25 October 1878||8 February 1879||106 days|
|London to Adelaide||15 May 1879||16 August 1879||93 days|
|Adelaide to London||30 October 1879||5 February 1880||98 days|
|London to Adelaide||1 April 1880||27 June 1880||87 days|
|Adelaide to Port Augusta, South Australia||on/after 16 August 1880||on/before 20 October 1880|
|Port Augusta, South Australia, to London||31 October 1880||7 February 1881||99 days|
|London to Adelaide||5 May 1881||26 July 1881||82 days|
|Adelaide to Port Augusta, South Australia||on/after 15 August 1881||on/before 11 September 1881|
|Port Augusta, South Australia, to London||29 October 1881||16 February 1882||110 days|
|London to Adelaide||9 May 1882||6 August 1882||89 days|
|Adelaide to Port Augusta, South Australia||on/after 30 August 1882||on/before 15 September 1882|
|Port Augusta, South Australia, to London||30 October 1882||14 February 1883||107 days|
|London to Adelaide||20 April 1883||27 July 1883||98 days|
|Adelaide to London||21 October 1883||31 January 1884||101 days|
|London to Adelaide||28 April 1884||10 August 1884||104 days|
|Adelaide to Port Augusta, South Australia||on/after 25 August 1884||on/before 6 September 1884|
|Port Augusta, South Australia, to London||4 October 1884||27 January 1885||115 days|
|London to Adelaide||16 March 1885||20 June 1885||96 days|
|Adelaide to London||10 October 1885||18 January 1886||101 days|
|London to Adelaide||16 March 1886||18 June 1886||94 days|
|Adelaide to London||26 November 1886||23 February 1887||90 days|
Route of 1867 Voyage to London
The following map traces the route of the 1867 voyage from the Latitudes and Longitudes provided in the diary of Frederick Bullock.
Route of 1867 Voyage to Adelaide
The following map traces the route of the 1867 voyage from the Latitudes and Longitudes provided in the diary of F.A. Edelston.
Route of 1871 Voyage to Adelaide
The following map traces the route of the 1871 voyage from the Latitudes and Longitudes provided in the diary of Melville Miller.
Route of 1874 Voyage to Adelaide
The following map traces the route of the 1874 voyage from the Latitudes and Longitudes provided in the diary of James McLauchlan.
In 1887, the City of Adelaide was sold to Dover coal merchant, Charles Havelock Mowll, for use in the collier trade carrying coal from Tyne to Dover.
|Voyage||Departure Date||Arrival Date||Duration|
|London to South Shields, England||14 June 1887|
|South Shields to Dobay||9 July 1887|
|South Shields to Dobay||11 November 1887|
In 1888, the City of Adelaide was sold to Belfast based timber merchants, Daniel and Thomas Stewart Dixon, and used to carry timber in the North Atlantic trade.
By the start of the eighteenth century, Britain had basically exhausted its supplies of the great oaks that had built the Royal Navy. The lack of large trees was especially problematic as they were a necessity for masts for both its war and merchant shipping. A thriving timber import business developed between Britain and the Baltic region but was unpopular for economic and strategic reasons The Napoleonic Wars and a Continental blockade had a large impact on the Baltic trade and so Britain looked to the North American colonies that were still loyal.
The North Atlantic timber trade became a massive business and timber was British North America's most important commodity. In one summer, 1,200 ships were loaded with timber at Quebec City alone.
As timber is a very bulky cargo, it required many ships to carry it from North America to Britain, but there was little demand for carrying goods on the return voyages. However, there was a market for carrying migrants, and so many of the timber ships turned to the migrant trade to fill their unused capacity for the return voyages from the British Isles to British North America. Since timber exports tended to peak at the same time as conflicts in Europe, a great mass of refugees sought this cheap passage across the Atlantic. This created an unprecedented influx of new immigrants in North America.
The timber trade not only brought immigrants to British North America, but also played a very important role in keeping them there as well. While many of those disembarking from the timber trade ships would head south to the United States, many others would stay in British North America. At the peak of the trade in the 1840s, 15,000 Irish loggers were employed in the Gatineau region alone at a time when the population of Montreal was only ten thousand.
The City of Adelaide was homeported in Belfast and from there frequented several British North American ports. Of these ports, it would most frequently visit Miramichi, New Brunswick. Of the thousands of sailing ships involved in the timber trade between North America and the United Kingdom, the City of Adelaide is now the last survivor.
|Voyage||Departure Date||Arrival Date||Duration|
|Dover to Chatham, New Brunswick||4 June 1888||3 July 1888|
|Chatham, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||14 July 1888|
|Belfast to Dalhousie, New Brunswick||18 September 1888|
|Dalhousie to Liverpool||27 October 1888|
|Liverpool to Tybee||9 November 1888|
|Tybee to Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|Halifax, Nova Scotia to Bristol||16 February 1889|
|Bristol to Miramichi, New Brunswick||11 April 1889||17 May 1889|
|Miramichi to Belfast, Ireland||24 June 1889|
|Belfast to Miramichi, New Brunswick||29 June 1889|
|Miramichi to Newcastle, New Brunswick|
|Newcastle, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||6 August 1889|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Miramichi, New Brunswick||31 August 1889|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Dublin||20 November 1889|
|Dublin to Algoa Bay, South Africa|
|Algoa Bay to Barry, South Africa||23 December 1889|
|Barry to Port Elizabeth, South Africa|
|Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to Guam||28 March 1890|
|Guam to Newcastle, New Brunswick|
|Newcastle, New Brunswick to Belfast, Ireland||14 June 1890|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Newcastle, New Brunswick||14 July 1890|
|Newcastle, New Brunswick to Belfast, Ireland||28 August 1890|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Miramichi, New Brunswick||9 April 1891||38 May 1891|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||28 May 1891||24 June 1891|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Miramichi, New Brunswick||3 July 1891|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||10 August 1891|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Liverpool||3 November 1891|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Liverpool||26 November 1891|
|Liverpool to Garston|
|Garston to Belfast, Ireland||4 January 1892|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Miramichi, New Brunswick||9 April 1892||9 May 1892|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||25 May 1892|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Miramichi, New Brunswick||29 June 1892|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||5 August 1892|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Miramichi, New Brunswick||8 September 1892|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||18 October 1892|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Ayr, Scotland||31 January 1893|
|Ayr to Miramichi, New Brunswick||10 April 1893||8 May 1893|
|Miramichi, New Brunswick, to Belfast, Ireland||23 May 1893|
|Belfast, Ireland, to Miramichi, New Brunswick||19 June 1893|
|Miramichi to Bowling, Scotland||21 July 1893|
|Glasgow to Southampton||9 September 1893|
The City of Adelaide ended its sailing career in 1893, when purchased by the Southampton Corporation for £1750 to serve as a floating isolation hospital in Southampton. During one year of opertaion, 23 cases of Scarlet Fever were cared for.
|In recent years ...
In 2009, the National Health Service (England) named a new hospital at Millbrook, Southampton, in honour of the ship - the Adelaide Health Centre.
- Tim Ball, "Timber!", Beaver, April 987, Vol. 67#2 pp 45-56
- "Welcome to the Adelaide Health Centre" (Press release). National Health Service. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2010-07-15.