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SAVE THE CERBERUS ARTICLE
Used here with permission: Bayside Advertiser, 29 May 2000
Presented here courtesy of the Leader Newspaper Group
 

Photo of Bayside Advertiser article

Save the Cerberus
Web push for shipwreck
by June Yu
 
A new push to raise the shipwreck HMVS Cerberus in Half Moon Bay has been
posted on a defence Web site.
    The Defending Victoria site, the brainchild of Victorian Ian MacFarlane, feat-
ures a page entitled Save the Cerberus, and urges people to lobby the Federal
Government for funding to make the project happen.
    Mr MacFarlane said much international interest had been shown in the preserv-
ation of the 130-year-old Cerberus despite "official indifference" during past camp-
aigns to save it.
    "I've got this American guy who is asking why we aren't demonstrating in front
of the local council to save the wreck," he said.
    He said the same man had proposed a salvage technique using foam which was
different from former proposals to use foam.
    "People think of foam as a flotation device but this one is meant to stabilise the
ship to allow it to be moved," he said.
    Mr MacFarlane also hoped Premier Steve Bracks would be keen to support the
restoration of the Cerberus.
    "Steve Bracks comes from Williamstown where the navy was focused, so maybe
he would take an interest in it," he said.
    Bayside Mayor Graeme Disney was sceptical about the foam technique, but was
keen to resurrect the campaign to save the Cerberus.
    Cr. Disney believed the shipwreck possibly had until only the end of the year
before it was broken up by bad weather.
    He said he would be interested in again trying to get the first $2 million needed
to raise and stabilise the shipwreck by jacking it up to normal floating level and
supporting the ship on piles.
     Restoration works and a visitor centre to come later would take the project up
to $10 million.
    National Trust chairman Simon Molesworth said the issue of the Cerberus would
not go away.
    "Bayside cannot turn its back on the ship. If it did so, it would be an international
crime and it would also reflect very poorly on Australia as a nation in cherishing its
heritage," he said.
    He believed the project would need the support of several government depart-
ments.
    "Mary Delahunty (Education Minister) should see educational opportunities of
the Cerberus to be a classroom into history and Sherryl Garbutt (Environment and
Conservation Minister) should see it as an opportunity to safeguard one of the
Crown's assets," he said.
    "John Thwaites, as minister in charge of heritage, should see it as an opportunity
to preserve the historic shipwreck and John Pandazopoulos should see it as a tour-
ism boost."
    A Spokesman for Sherryl Garbutt said the Minister's department had been advis-
ed that Heritage Victoria was of the opinion that an attempt to restore the Cerberus
was unlikely to be successful.
 
Ship a national story
 
HMVS Cerberus is not just a Victorian story, but a national story, National Trust
chairman Simon Molesworth says.
    The Cerberus, completed in 1870, arrived in Melbourne on April 9, 1871, and was
stationed in Port Phillip Bay to keep hostile raiders at bay.
   "It is not often appreciated that the Cerberus was part of a belief that Russia was
going to take over Australia and part of a rivalry between France and Britain and
was once the strongest armed ship in the world," Mr Molesworth said.
   "Some people say she was a fizzer because she never went to war, but she was
never intended to go to war. She was always intended to be a deterrent and was plac-
ed in Port Phillip Bay as the strongest ship of her day and no one came to challenge."
    He said Victoria, lagging behind NSW as a colony, had expanded greatly with the
discovery of gold, and the Cerberus was a symbol of that colonial rivalry.
    At Federation, the Cerberus, flagship of the Victorian navy, was given to the Comm-
onwealth to make up part of Australia's first naval force, although it remained in Port
Phillip Bay.
    In 1926, Sandringham Council purchased the Cerberus from the Commonwealth
Government for a breakwater at Half Moon Bay at the request of the Black Rock
Yacht Club.
    "She was flooded on a shallow sandbank. She was such a huge wall of iron that it
was a fast and cheap way of getting a breakwater," he said.
    Mr Molesworth has been part of five committees to save the Cerberus, which is
breaking up and subsiding.
    He said the last advisory committee managed to get the support of the Kennett
Government to have the Cerberus as a preferred project for Centenary of Feder-
ation funding, but this was rejected at the last moment.
    "Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has a Sydney-centric approach to the Cent-
enary celebrations….," Mr Molesworth said.
    "But the silly thing is that the Cerberus is an Australian story, not just a Vict-
orian story. It is the last surviving flagship of a colonial navy in the world.
    "It was the second ship through the Suez Canal. It was the prototype on which
all modern steel ships were based and adopted an approach which led to the devel-
opment of the submarine.
    "He said detractors of the ship's restoration believed it would cost too much,
but he believed it would cost more in the long run to do nothing.
    "If you leave it like it is, it is a safety responsibility of the City of Bayside. So,
if it collapses, who's going to foot the bill to move it or make it safe?"
    He said the Cerberus could be turned into a public tourist attraction and linked
with other renowned historic sites, and could bring tourist revenue into Bayside.
 
-June Yu
 
Keyboarding for this webpage by Jacqueline Bassett

 There was positive ABC Radio coverage about this article

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Bayside Advertiser: 12 June 2000
Sad end for the famous
HMVS Cerberus
 
I refer to your article ("web push for
shipwreck", May 29) concerning the
HMVS Cerberus.
  It is rather sad that because of inactiv-
ity this famous historical ship is slowly
settling where it now rests.
  The amount of money required to raise
the ship and complete a walkway to it
apparently is prohibitive, but surely the
preservation exercise can take place in
stages.
  What is required immediately is for the
ship to be raised and placed on some
sort of cradle, and the rest can be done
at some later time.
  I am quite sure whatever money is
spent in preserving this historical ship
would have benefits for, not only the
Bayside Council, but also the State
Government. It is the last surviving mon-
itor in the world and I suppose for that
reason alone it should be saved.
  The RSL fully supports the preservation
of this ship.
--Bruce Ruxton
Secretary, Returned and
Services League of Australia,
Collins Street, Melbourne
 
Model idea for rusting warship
 
IN VIEW of the seemingly insurrmount-
able expense of restoring the Cerberus,
I would like to suggest a far less costly
alternative.
  That a large model of the original war-
ship be constructed and placed on perm-
anent display at Half Moon Bay so that
locals and visitors can see just what that
rusting hulk looked like in its heyday. It
would need to be vandal proof of course,
but would become something of a tourist
attraction. To be able to view the then
and the now at the same place would
a real plus for the neighbourhood. The
presentation could also include a history
of the ship.
--Jack Wilkinson
Widdop Cres
Moorabin
 
Drag the "ugly metal
breakwater" away
 
I CANNOT believe that the subject of
a restoration of the now ugly metal break-
water, the Cerberus, is again being cont-
emplated.
  What is historical about spending $ 10
million on what would be a rebuilding of
a naval vessel for people to look at? No
longer the original.
  And where are the tourists in Bayside
looking at historical objects?
  The Sandringham history as a beach
resort is not a long one, and of interest to
locals mainly.
  It will be a scandal if $ 1 million dollars,
let alone $ 10 million, is found for such a
project.
  There is a lack of accomodation for the
middle income, elderly and a lack of nurs-
ing homes in Bayside. There is a lack of
kindergartens and our primary schools
need help. Homeless youth and struggling
families have to be supported--ask South-
ern Family Life.
  Our garden suburbs are disappearing.
Get the priorities right.
  Drag the dangerous metal breakwater--
and it is not a shipwreck--away.
--Shirley Shannon
Littlewood St,
Hampton

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