Ill wind blows for two iconic SA wooden boats
The futures of the Buffalo at Glenelg and the Clipper at Port Adelaide have been under a cloud for many years. (Supplied: Facebook)
Hopes of securing the future of two of South Australia’s most iconic wooden boats are sinking, with one facing certain demolition and the other effectively adrift.
- The City of Adelaide clipper ship brought thousands of migrants to SA
- Its hull was brought to Port Adelaide in 2014 but has not found a permanent home
- The Buffalo, another iconic “boat”, will be demolished
The world’s oldest clipper ship, the City of Adelaide, is fast approaching a deadline to move from a Port Adelaide development site.
But the well-known Buffalo at Glenelg in Adelaide’s west is facing an even more definite fate, and will be reduced to rubble next week.
The HMS Buffalo replica, which was built in 1980 and operated as a restaurant, fell into disrepair in recent years.
While not a real boat, it has long sat in shallow waters alongside the Patawalonga River, and its design imitates the ship which brought the first batch of European settlers to South Australia in 1836.
In 2017, the council approved an application by an Adelaide businessman for a $1 million redevelopment of the Buffalo.
Despite those plans, the City of Holdfast Bay has approved an application for its demolition.
City of Holdfast Bay Mayor Amanda Wilson told the ABC she believed the final cost would have been higher.
“The further he got into the development process he realised that it was going to be much more expensive than envisaged,” Ms Wilson said.
She said the Buffalo’s appeal to diners had also diminished.
“Looking at the way people go out these days it’s not the same as what was happening in the 80s,” she said.
“The Buffalo was very much a novelty dining experience in the 80s and it was before we had the Holdfast Marina, the pier, the alfresco dining in Moseley Square, so people’s tastes have changed.”
Deadline for clipper fast approaching
Meanwhile, South Australian Transport Minister Stephan Knoll has given the owners of the 155-year-old City of Adelaide until March to move it from Dock One to another part of the harbour known as “Dock 2” in Port Adelaide.
It is situated on the northern side of the Tom ‘Diver’ Derrick Bridge over the Port River and is difficult to access from the historic part of Port Adelaide.
However, City of Adelaide Preservation Trust director Peter Christopher would rather the ship be moved to a regional city or interstate than to such an “inaccessible” location.
The group led a 14-year campaign to get the ship’s hull returned to Port Adelaide before it was placed on a barge at Dock One in 2014, where it has remained ever since.
The ship brought thousands of migrants to South Australia in the 19th century but was left to rot on the banks of a Scottish river for decades.
Starfish Developments wants the ship moved before it starts promoting 750 home sites for sale next to Dock One in February.
Managing director Damon Nagel told the ABC more than 400 jobs were at stake.
He said the State Government sold his company the Dock One land with the understanding the City of Adelaide would be moved “months ago”.
“You could argue Port Adelaide isn’t actually the greatest suburb in Adelaide and it needs development to get going and this ship is single-handedly stopping it,” Mr Nagel said.
“People… buy down there because they want a view of the water and the other side of Dock One.
“It’s just not appropriate for a ship of that size to be in that residential environment.”
He said the ship and related “paraphernalia” on the dock were at “ground zero” of the development, stopping initial works for stormwater, sewerage and power going ahead.
“The trust owners I think are being difficult in the sense they’ve got an unbelievable offer from the Government,” he said.
A digital rendering of Starfish Developments’ plans for Dock One in Port Adelaide. (Starfish Developments)
Earlier this month, Mr Knoll said the land at “Dock 2” was the only site the Government had to give away in Port Adelaide.
Mr Knoll gave Mr Christopher’s group a March deadline to move the ship during meetings on December 21, 2018, and on January 4 this year.
“All the other parts of the inner harbour have been sold off by the former government for housing development, so we’re working with them to identify what bits of land we have,” Mr Knoll said.
“But we can’t compulsorily acquire someone else’s land to stick the ship on so we have to work on the opportunities we have available.”
Trust considering its options
Mr Christopher said the clipper could move to the offered site in the long-term, “subject to a number of conditions, including a road being put in so people could find it”.
“Dock 2 is virtually inaccessible,” Mr Christopher told ABC Radio Adelaide today.
“It’s an industrial wasteland. Nobody could find it even if they had a map to show them there.
“So if the ship were to go there in a temporary situation, it would just be lost.”
He said the trust was against being forcibly moved by March, and said the Government had shown a “lack of interest” in the historic boat.
Port Augusta in SA’s north has previously expressed interest in the vessel.