World’s Oldest Clipper Ship Ghosts: Haunted Port Adelaide

World’s Oldest Clipper Ship Ghosts: Haunted Port Adelaide

The Clipper Ship, Port Adelaide

Today, Port Adelaide houses the oldest surviving composite Clipper Ship in the world. Once named the City of Adelaide, this magnificent historical ship was built in 1864 with the purpose of transporting passengers and cargo from London, England to Adelaide, South Australia.

Oldest Clipper Ship in world.
The oldest surviving composite clipper ship in the world, sitting in Port Adelaide.

Although the tattered ship appears tired and worn, it remains of great historical significance to South Australia. More than a quarter of a million Australians are able to trace their heritage back to the passengers who arrived on Australian soil via this vessel. The ship endured 23 return voyages between London and Adelaide during its working days as a passenger ship, before the efficiency of steamships would render the Clipper obsolete. Following this, the ship was used to transport cargo as part of the timber trade in North America for 6 years.

Museum Port Adelaide Clipper Ship.
Museum displays on board the supposedly haunted Clipper Ship.

1893 saw the Clipper yet again repurposed, this time as a quarantine hospital for highly infectious diseases near Southhampton in the UK. The ship would treat and house patients suffering from diseases such as Scarlet Fever and even the Plague. It would function in this capacity for the next 30 years before briefly being used as a drillship by the Royal Navy.

Hospital ship that is haunted.
A nurse looking over a patient, representing the ship’s history as a hospital for infectious diseases.

Eventually, the Clipper Ship was abandoned and left to deteriorate.  Fortunately, funding made it possible to transport the structure to Port Adelaide, where it remains a functioning museum to this day.

Hauntings of the Clipper Ship

Given the long and at times dark history of the Clipper Ship, it really comes as no surprise to learn that many consider it to be haunted. Life onboard the ship as it voyaged from London to Adelaide would have been tough, and the journey often lasted in excess of 3 months each way. Deaths were reported on board during these journies, while the ship’s history as a functioning hospital would have only added to its death tally.

Haunted Clipper Ships hold.
Staring down a long, dark hallway in the Clipper Ship’s hold.

Some to visit the Clipper Ship have claimed to sight apparitions, ranging from sighting a woman wearing a blue dress to dark shadow-like figures. Some people even claim to have captured photographs of such beings on board.

Old Clipper Ship haunted.
Staring up at the grand structure of the old Clipper Ship.

In addition to visual anomalies being sighted, some have claimed to hear unexplainable sounds and voices on the ship. These range from footsteps to hearing a baby crying in the ship’s hold, when no babies were in the area. A hammock, which is part of a museum display on board, has also been reported to swing violently on its own without explanation.

Visiting the Haunted Clipper Ship in Port Adelaide

The Clipper Ship in Port Adelaide is a fascinating place to visit and one that I highly recommend. The ship remains open daily from 10 am to 3 pm as a not-for-profit museum. Tours of the ship are conducted by volunteers, some of whom are direct descendants of the ship’s original captain (David Bruce).

Haunted Clipper Ship, Port Adelaide.
Looking for the ghosts of the haunted Clipper Ship in Port Adelaide.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about a haunted street in Port Adelaide.

Thanks for reading!


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Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (2)

  • Stefan

    Posted by Stefan on July 20, 2021

    Wow you did an awesome job on research and the video is great. Keep up your great work!


      Posted by Amy on July 20, 2021

      Thanks for watching Stefan!

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