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City of Adelaide

Vessel Number: HV000093
Date: 1894
Builder: R& H Green
Designer: R& H Green
Vessel Dimensions: 16.15 m x 4.88 m x 1.52 m (53 ft x 16 ft x 5 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
CITY OF ADELAIDE is a lifeboat built in England in 1894. CITY OF ADELAIDE is one of only three steam jet-propelled lifeboats ever built, and it has had a close association with South Australia through a variety of roles over many decades.
DescriptionCITY OF ADELIADE was built by R & H Green in Blackwall England in 1894. It was originally called PRESIDENT VAN HEEL and intended for the Lifeboat Institution of South Holland. When they refused to take delivery of the lifeboat, the South Australian Government purchased the craft with a gift of 3,500 pounds from Robert Barr Smith, co-founder of Elder, Smith & Co.

It was renamed CITY OF ADELAIDE and arrived in South Australia in 1896. The wooden hull was able to accommodate up to eight crew and forty survivors, with a cruising speed of 8 knots and a 200 nautical mile range. The unique propulsion was a steam-powered, hydraulic water-jet, but it was not a successful installation. After CITY OF ADELAIDE was commissioned at Glenelg, it had to be towed on the delivery trip to Beachport because the water inlets became blocked by kelp-weed. In 1908 the steam unit was replaced with a 30 kw (40 hp) petrol engine and in 1911 the water jet and pumps were replaced with a screw.

When the lifeboat service was disbanded CITY OF ADELAIDE was sold to Mr. Taylor who was associated with the Salvation Army, and it became known as their fishing launch. The next owner, Mr. Benno Hage, used it for fishing, picnics and carrying sheep, wool and firewood. It was operated by his son Dudley and a four cylinder petrol tractor engine was fitted around this period.

After about three years Hage sold CITY OF ADELAIDE to Roly Puckridge who fitted a petrol and kerosene Fordson engine alongside the existing motor with a chain drive linking the two engines. He maintained the craft for the same mixed use as the previous owners.

About 1952 it ended its sea-going life and was sold to boat builder Axel Stenross who stripped it of all its fittings. The hulk then lay in Porter Bay for many years and in the late 1970s it was declared an historic shipwreck. When the Lincoln Cove marina was being built Port Lincoln Council decided to remove the hulk to the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum, where it now remains on display to the public. It is thought to be the only surviving example of the three similar craft that were built.

(Prepared from research material supplied by Axel Stenross Maritime Museum)
Vessel Details
Current status:on public display
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Related materials:plans
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Additional Titles

Primary title: City of Adelaide

Previous title: President Van Heel

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