Friday, 11 May 2018

What will happen with the Australian monitor HMAS Cerberus in the near future? Help to save her!

In Australia the hull of the monitor HMAS Cerberus still exists, sadly enough her future is threatened. There is a website of the Friends of the Cerberus with the clear intention of saving her. I asked John Toogood to supply more information what he did. See the text below. In the 19th Century was also the Royal Netherlands Navy interested in this ship. A Dutch naval officer received an order from the minister of navy to supply more details. He even made a sketch drawing of her. Why?, should someone ask. In that period was suggested in Dutch newspapers that Australia seemed to want her own colonial empire and the Dutch East Indies were nearby. Nonsense may be, but we have now a fine sketch of her. At the same time was the Roral Netherlands Navy interested in naval shipbuilding abroad especially for the pratical use of innovations. Let's hope that except for the sketch she herself also keeps existing as one of the few remaining 19th Century warships!

Cerberus in 2006. The entire ship and guns in the sea towards the bottom of the photo are visible. Photo with kind permission of Lindsay Stepanow. Source

The following have been used variously with Fb shares linking back to our primary FACEBOOK. which is a shared link to our main website’s 9 April ’18 news item.

Is this the 'last gasp' for Cerberus? Let's hope not!
Bayside Council recently lodged a formal application with Heritage Victoria to fill our former HMVS/HMAS Cerberus with concrete under the guise of Heritage preservation despite clearly being at odds with the "Burra Charter" which is accepted nationally as the standard for heritage conservation.

Monitor at Risk Down-under!
Cerberus is not an 'American' Civil War survivor but a British built forerunner of the next generation Monitors. Launched in 1868, the same decade as USS Monitor and H.L. Hunley, she now rests relatively intact (albeit tenuously) right where she was 'parked' in 1926 ... about 200 metres off-shore at a bay-side Melbourne (Australia) beach. Time is fast running out for supporters to make a submission opposing Bayside Council's application to fill the monitor, former HMVS/HMAS Cerberus with concrete. These must be in writing (hard-copy) mailed to Heritage Victoria as indicated by the original news item to arrive no later than 24 April '18. If you live outside Australia and wish to make a submission feel free to do so by email to “Friends of the Cerberus Inc.” making sure you allow a few days for us to print and forward by conventional mail on your behalf.
Hard-copy submissions are essential and required by Heritage Victoria no later than their stated deadline in order to be considered regarding the defeat of Bayside Council's permit application but emails may still be sent as well. They certainly won't do any harm, just make sure the snail-mail is sent to arrive in time.

All are urged to share this post on your timelines, any relevant Fb pages you manage and groups to which you belong. Every share, like and (favourable) comment helps to spread our message and encourage others to 'join the fray'. 

John Toogood FACEBOOKPOST share dated 11 April 2018:
This is a disgraceful prospect coming as it does during centenary celebrations and threatening the sole substantive remains of Australia's Great War Fleet (albeit in an auxiliary role), our only pre-federation war ship and the last of Victoria's colonial 'battle' fleet. If our responsible politicians and bureaucrats think that irreversibly filling Cerberus with concrete is a real preservation option and not simply what it appears to everyone else, a crass attempt to 'make it go away' whilst releasing heritage funds to mitigate local government risk, then clearly they have no right to claim heritage credentials and I for one will be carefully reviewing my life-long voting habits in the future.
Even if it is accepted that 'fill-and-forget' is currently the only short/medium term prospect there are far superior alternatives to concrete available that are affordable, reversible, environmentally neutral and won't increase the weight of Cerberus' footprint (4,000 tonnes of concrete is estimated to result in a net weight increase to the ship's sea-bed footprint of about 137% after allowing for water displacement).

This Fb post published by The heritage Network and shared widely during Feb-Mar of 2015 isn’t directly related to the current issue of stopping Bayside Council from filling the ship with concrete but nevertheless does provide some background.

The Heritage network Published by John Toogood·26 February 2015

HMAS (formerly HMVS) Cerberus:
As the Great War loomed, despite her already advanced age (launched 1868 - commissioned 1871 with the Victorian Colonial Navy) and with 43 years of service to three Australian Navies behind her, the Monitor Cerberus was 'drafted' and recommissioned as a Port Guard and Ammunition Store-Ship after being briefly decommissioned during the pre-war period. HMAS Cerberus is photographed here at her third mooring location, near the mouth of the Yarra River off Williamstown in Victoria's Hobson's Bay, circa 1914. After the war (in April 1921) she was re-named HMAS Platypus II and tasked as 'secondary tender' for the J-Class Submarine fleet based in Corio Bay.
Cerberus currently rests in 3 meters of water just 200 metres off-shore at Half Moon Bay where she was essentially run aground and scuttled to form a breakwater in 1926. The ship remains largely intact although a partial collapse of the lower hull during severe storms in 1993 has hastened its subsidence in the interim.

The 1860s Monitor, former HMVS/HMAS Cerberus is Australia's only warship from the pre-1918 era that has survived into the 21st century, albeit tenuously. As we plot a course through the Great War's (1914-18) centenary we bear witness to major projects from around the world undertaken by Countries with a commitment to restore their few surviving 1914-18 warships in time for significant anniversary celebrations. Not so however in 'the land of Oz' where successive Australian governments at all levels continue to procrastinate whilst their only such opportunity slips further away.
Image sourced from Friends of the Cerberus Inc.'s main website 
Courtesy of the "State Library of South Australia."

Bayside Council recently lodged a formal application with Heritage Victoria to fill our former HMVS/HMAS Cerberus with concrete under the guise of Heritage preservation despite clearly being at odds with the "Burra Charter" which is accepted nationally as the standard for heritage conservation. The current status of Cerberus, being included on Australia's "National Heritage List", doesn't seem to matter when bureaucratic antagonism and political indifference are allied against valid community concerns for our vanishing heritage. Our supporters can still help to convince Heritage Victoria that a positive heritage outcome remains an option only if they deny Bayside Council's application. Check out the following extract ("Submissions") from our recently published Newsletter 198. Help to 'scuttle' this destructive and unacceptable proposal. Send your individual protest as indicated, to Heritage Victoria by conventional (hard-copy) mail today and make sure you beat their 24 Apr '18 deadline. If lost for words feel free to copy and paste the form letter provided on our "HELP" page.

Naturally we will be making a submission to Heritage Victoria. Anyone wishing to do likewise should be aware that submissions should be posted, and NOT emailed, to Heritage Victoria, PO Box 500, Melbourne 8002.

Any overseas supporters wishing to make submissions can email them to us via and we will post them to Heritage Victoria.

It cannot be emphasised enough that Heritage Victoria will decide later this month whether to fill Cerberus with concrete. All indications are that the application will be approved.
By my reckoning, 1,700 cubic metres of concrete will require over 200 concrete trucks to fill Cerberus. A horrifying thought. What a way to treat a place on the National Heritage List.'
Follow the link, read  Newsletter 198 in full and update yourself with Friends of the Cerberus' position regarding these latest developments.