|List||National Heritage List|
|Legal Status||Listed place (14/12/2005)|
|Place File No||2/17/047/0003|
|Summary Statement of Significance|
The HMVS Cerberus
is important as evidence of the development of Australia
as a nation and as part of the British Empire. The British Parliament passed the Colonial
Naval Defence Act 1865 giving the colonies the
power to make laws to provide for their own naval defence. The construction of HMVS Cerberus
(1867-1870) reflects a period in Australia's history when the
colonies were thought vulnerable to coastal attack and invasion. This was
especially felt by Victoria,
the wealthiest colony, and from which, a significant amount of the wealth from
the goldfields was exported following its discovery in 1851.
The HMVS Cerberus, both as an example of the design work of the British Admiralty’s Chief Constructor, E. J. Reed (1863 to July 1870) and of a transitional monitor style vessel, is a rare feature of Australia’s maritime and naval history. The design of HMVS Cerberus captured the characteristics of a particular period in British maritime history when new construction and design techniques were employed. The Cerberus, as the first ship to have a central superstructure, with gun turrets above deck both fore and aft, was also the first British designed warship to use low freeboard in the monitor style and the first to have iron breastwork protection. As the last of its type, Cerberus illustrates the historical role of Britain in providing naval expertise and technical assistance to the Australian colonies following the establishment of self-government in the 1850s.
The history of the service of HMVS Cerberus, from 1871 to 1924, illustrates the development of Australia's defensive needs as part of the British Empire. The desire of the colonial governments to produce a coordinated defence was one of the major considerations in the move towards federation, and one, which moved the Cerberus from the Victorian Colonial Navy to the Royal Australia Navy in 1911.
Soon after its arrival in Australia in April 1871, HMVS Cerberus
was described as follows:|
‘Its design is based upon the breastwork principle, the object of adopting the central armour plated breastwork being to protect all the principal apertures into the ship to a height of 10-12 feet above water, and thus to add greatly to the security of these low-decked vessels. The only apertures through the low deck of this ship, outside of the armor breastwork, are three skylights for giving light and air below in a direct way when in harbour. Each of these skylights are surrounded by armour, and provided with an armour-plate cover for use in action. The ship, although of moderate dimensions, is coated with very thick armour, and carries four 10-inch R.M.L. [Rifled Muzzle Loading] guns and four 1-inch Nordenfeldt Machine Guns and has a speed of about nine knots’.(1)
Its length was 225 feet, beam 45 feet, draught 15 feet 6 inches and displacement 3,340 tons.(2)
The HMVS Cerberus, in its present state, consists of the collapsed hull, parts of the central superstructure, including the conning tower, most of the timber decking, and the two gun turrets. The four 10 inch guns, previously in-situ, were recently removed from the wreck itself, and placed on the seabed to prevent the wreck from the risk of further collapse under their weight.(3) The hull rests on the sandbank, with its buckled inner support structures barely holding the significant weight of the turrets. The vessel is heavily rusted, and has been defaced with graffiti, much of which features anti-war slogans. For safety reasons, openings around the ship, like the turrets and funnel, have been covered with steel mesh.
While most of HMVS Cerberus’ fittings were removed and recycled in the 1924-1926 period, some of the more prominent features of the ship, from its days of active service, are still in existence. The anchor was removed from the wreck in 1964 or 1965. It now rests on display at the entrance to the Sandringham Yacht Club (4). The original ship's bell was removed in the late 19th Century and kept at the Williamstown dockyard until it closed down, upon which it was transferred to the HMAS Cerberus naval training base, where it still survives. The ship’s mast was saved and erected on the front lawn of the home of a naval officer in Kew, Melbourne. In October 1977, the mast was presented to the Maritime Trust of Australia for display at Williamstown. One of HMVS Cerberus’ original pole masts was erected at some unspecified time outside an elderly citizens’ club in Williamstown.(5)
The principal historian of HMVS Cerberus, Bob Nicholls, has suggested that the ship’s engines may have been removed at or shortly after Federation (6). Alternatively, the engines or what was left of them may have been finally removed after the vessel was sold for scrap in 1924.
After the selling off of HMVS Cerberus in 1924, most of the Lowmoor iron, which made up the ship’s breastwork was stripped from the vessel. The greater part of it was sold to the Victorian Railways to make railway lines. The salvage company to which the ship had been sold also set about cutting up the hull with oxyacetylene equipment, but only removed some iron from the aft turret before it realised that the task was uneconomical. At the same time, the engines, boilers, twin propellers, light superstructure and other valuable items such as brass and bronze were stripped from the vessel. In order to remove the boilers, the funnel was completely cut away. The propellers were melted down and turned into souvenirs.(7)
(1). Illustrated Australian News, 22 April 1871, quoted in R.J. Herd, HMVS Cerberus: Battleship to Breakwater: Historic Iron Monitor Warship of the Victorian Navy, Sandringham Historical Series No. 3. May 1986, p. 19.
(2) Ross Gillett, Warships of Australia, Adelaide, Rigby, 1977, p. 113.
(3) The Age, 4 March 2005
(4) Herd, HMVS Cerberus: Battleship to Breakwater, p. 15; Effenberger, ‘HMVS Cerberus Historic Shipwreck Archive Directory’, p. 22.
(5) Herd, HMVS Cerberus: Battleship to Breakwater, p. 14; Effenberger, ‘HMVS Cerberus Historic Shipwreck Archive Directory’, p. 22.
(6) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 146.
(7) Captain J. Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, Melbourne, Hawthorn, 2nd edition, 1979, p. 100; Effenberger, ‘HMVS Cerberus Historic Shipwreck Archive Directory’, pp. 7, 20, 21-2; Ross Anderson.
1. Naval Defence for Colonial Victoria
In December 1851, the month following Victoria’s separation from New South Wales, the new colony’s Lieutenant Governor, Charles LaTrobe, asked the British Secretary of State for the Colonies to provide one or two warships to protect Melbourne and the ships carrying valuable cargoes from it. With the discovery of gold in Victoria, Melbourne was developing into one of the most important commercial ports in the southern hemisphere. But, at this time, Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay lacked any sea or shore-based defences with which to safeguard the port from foreign raiders or invaders. Ships of the Royal Navy’s East Indies Squadron were supposed to provide some measure of protection, but they mainly confined their visits to Sydney. In late 1852, LaTrobe complained that only two Royal Navy ships had called at Melbourne in the previous two years.(1)
As a result of LaTrobe’s complaints, the British Admiralty added a 14-gun 400-ton sailing vessel, the Electra, to the East Indies Squadron and assigned it specifically to protect Port Phillip. The Electra arrived in Melbourne in April 1853. Within a year, however, a Select Committee of the Victorian Legislative Council concluded that the ship was ill suited to defend the port. Instead of a sailing ship, the Committee wanted the Admiralty to provide a 6-gun 1,000-ton paddle steamer. At LaTrobe’s instigation, meanwhile, the colony was in the process of acquiring its own screw steam vessel. Initially, this vessel was to be unarmed and was to perform various official maritime – but not naval – duties, such as towing off grounded vessels and ferrying senior government officials from port to port. But LaTrobe’s successor as Governor of Victoria, Sir Charles Hotham, himself a Royal Navy officer, was aware that the Navy’s arrangements for the protection of Melbourne were inadequate, especially since war had broken out between Great Britain and Russia. Hotham now saw to it that a larger armed ship was provided for the defence of the port. The ship was Her Majesty’s Colonial Sloop (HMCS) Victoria which arrived at Port Phillip in May 1856.(2)
Victorians remained uneasy about Melbourne’s vulnerability to attack and in 1858 a Royal Commission was appointed to enquire into the colony’s defences. In an interim report in mid-1859, the Commission recommended the installation of fixed batteries of shore artillery at South Melbourne, Williamstown and St Kilda to protect the town and its roadstead at Hobson’s Bay. Because the artillery pieces then available had a relatively short range, they would not be able to provide complete protection for the roadstead. To cover the gap, the Commission recommended that the colony acquire either a steam-powered floating battery shielded with iron plates and armed with at least sixteen guns or a steam block ship mounting 60 guns. Floating gun batteries were first used by British and French forces during the Crimean War, while block ships were obsolete ships-of-the-line of smaller size which were cut down, fitted with steam engines and equipped with batteries of muzzle-loading guns; the Royal Navy used them extensively from the late 1840s until the mid-1860s. In the Royal Commission’s proposal for a floating gun battery or a block ship lay the origins of the colony’s later decision to acquire the turret ship HMVS Cerberus.(3)
The report of the Royal Commission also resulted in the dispatch to Victoria of an officer of the Royal Engineers, Captain Peter Scratchley, who was charged with the task of investigating and making recommendations on the colony’s defences. Scratchley recommended that a series of artillery batteries be established at Port Phillip Heads to guard the entrance to the bay and that forts be raised from shoal water to protect the bay’s South and West Channels. Although the projected works were beyond its means, the colony embarked on and completed some of them before work was halted while a Select Committee on Naval and Military Forces conducted another review of Victoria’s defences. The problem for the Victorians was that the slow rate of fire and of traverse from one bearing to another of guns placed at the Heads meant that they would only have time to fire one or two shots at a ship entering Port Phillip Bay. The fact, too, that ships were becoming faster with the introduction of steam power made this even more the case. In order to provide more effective protection for Melbourne, the Select Committee thereupon returned in mid-1862 to the earlier proposal for a floating steam battery to complement the gun emplacements on land. Scratchley agreed and, meanwhile, local apprehensions about the colony’s vulnerability to attack by a foreign power had been intensified by the surprise, but friendly, arrival of a Russian frigate in January 1862. Another such ship appeared similarly unheralded a year later.(4)
Following the Select Committee’s recommendation, the Victorian Government contacted its honorary agent in London, Hugh Childers, to see about obtaining the floating gun battery it wanted. For his part, Childers canvassed the opinions of naval experts in London as to the best means of defending Melbourne. Their view was that the colony should buy two ironclad gunboats at a cost of ₤60,000 each. The Victorian Government accepted this advice and included the cost of one of the boats in its budget estimate for 1863. It intended to do the same in 1864 for the second boat (5). In this respect, the Australian colonies in general, without munitions production or the necessary, large-scale ship-building facilities and technical expertise, were dependent on Britain for both armaments and capital ships, a situation which prevailed throughout the nineteenth century.
2. Origins of the Turret Ship
The gunboats that Childers had recommended to the Victorians were iron-plated steam-propelled twin-screw vessels fitted with revolving turrets. They were designed by Captain Cowper Phipps Coles, a Royal Navy officer who during the Crimean War in 1855 had improvised a raft on which he mounted a 32-pound gun for the British attack on the Russian fort of Taganrog at the head of the Sea of Azov. Shallow waters prevented the British from getting their ships close enough inshore to bombard the fort effectively. But, drawing only ten inches of water, Coles’ floating battery, which he grandly christened the Lady Nancy, could be oared close inshore to fire on the fort. The gun, for which there was apparently no protection on deck, could be turned to fire in any direction.
Coles’ innovation was a ‘modest success’ and he promptly set about constructing a larger and more elaborate version. This was a raft more than three times the size of the Lady Nancy which Coles equipped with a single 68-pound gun. For the protection of the gun and its crew, he placed the gun behind a fixed hemispherical iron shield called a cupola. Slots were cut in the face and both sides of the cupola so that the gun could be fired in different directions. Like its forerunner, the new raft drew only 20 inches of water. In addition, Coles designed it so that it could be partially submerged through flooding of some of the barrels of which it was constructed, thus making it less of a target. He wished to use the new craft in the attacks on the forts of Sebastopol and Kronstadt, but he did not get the opportunity to do so. His new raft, moreover, ‘met with no encouragement from the Admiralty’. From it, however, Coles conceived the idea of the revolving gun turret, and took out his first patent for it in March 1859.(6)
During the same conflict in the Crimea, the French used craft based on similar principles to attack Russian coastal defences. In October 1855 – after Coles’ innovations – they employed shallow-draft wooden vessels protected by iron plating to bombard the Russian forts at Kinburn near the mouth of the Dnieper River. The Russian guns proved ineffectual against the French ‘floating batteries’, prompting the Russian commander to surrender the forts. Delighted with the success of the batteries, the French decided to build a fleet of iron clad ships – timber ships clad with iron – to counter the power of the Royal Navy. The first of the new ironclads, La Gloire, was launched in 1860, to the considerable disquiet of the British.(7)
It is not known whether the French derived their ideas from Coles, whether Coles got his ideas from earlier French innovations or whether they were independent inventions. It is important to note, though, that the craft used by Coles and the French in the Crimean War contained the seeds of some of the features that would later appear in the HMVS Cerberus. These were a shallow draft for operating close inshore, low freeboard and provision for the guns to fire in different directions. Features of Coles’ second raft that were later employed in the HMVS Cerberus were iron plating to protect guns and crews and partial submergibility to reduce the area that the craft presented as a target. One major difference between the Crimean War craft and the HMVS Cerberus was that the former were specifically designed to carry out attacks on coastal defences, whereas the latter was specifically designed as a vessel for coastal defence.
From 1859 onward, Coles began to bombard the Admiralty with plans to build armour-plated turret ships, turning himself in the words of the historian of the HMVS Cerberus into a ‘first class persistent nuisance’. He first proposed a 9,200-ton vessel with ten cupolas and armed with twenty of the heaviest guns. The Admiralty dismissed the proposal as impractical, but it did perceive the potential of the revolving turret and ordered the construction of an experimental model in 1859. In the meantime, Coles began to enlist the support of the press, parliamentarians and even royalty in his campaign to get the Admiralty to accept his ideas. The support of the Queen Consort, Prince Albert, was crucial in persuading the Admiralty to mount the experimental turret on a floating battery, HMS Trusty, in 1861 in order to undergo an exacting trial.
The proposal for Victoria to acquire two gunboats lapsed with a change of government in the colony in mid-1863. Primary responsibility for providing for Victoria’s naval defences now passed to the new Treasurer, Sir George Verdon. In March 1864, Verdon asked the British government to make a gift to Victoria of a block ship and offered to help meet the costs of another vessel. Verdon described the latter as a twin-screw steam ship ‘of great speed’, weighing no more than 800 tons, partially armoured, with low freeboard and carrying ‘a few guns of the largest size’. He suggested that it might be constructed according to design principles recently developed by the Admiralty’s Chief Constructor, Edward J. Reed. By this he meant a turret ship.(8)
The Admiralty’s Chief Constructor, Edward J. Reed, was Chief Constructor from 1863 to July 1870. During this period, Reed developed his method of ship construction called the longitudinal and bracket frame system, which became the standard for iron battleships throughout the nineteenth century. The system was laid down by Reed in the Bellerophon (1865), the first ship he built after taking office. This ship was a great step forwards compared with the previous iron clad ships of the Warrior class. (39)
Much of the anxiety about invasion was driven by paranoia about the possibility of a Russian invasion of Melbourne, both to hijack Victoria’s wealth and to spite Britain for defeats in the Crimean War. Prior to Federation, each Australian colony was responsible for its own land defences, supplemented by regiments of Imperial troops and naval patrols, which were based in Sydney and visited other colonies infrequently. Victorians regarded the possibility of invasion from the sea as a real threat, due to the potential ease with which foreign ships could sail into Port Phillip Bay unhindered and land an invasion force at any number of locations around and within Melbourne. One of the defensive strategies adopted by the colonial government to counter this was the installation of forts and batteries, armed with cannons, at various locations around the Bay, such as Queenscliff, Williamstown, St Kilda and Sandridge. The efficiency of these forts, however, was greatly inhibited by inadequacy of supplies and personnel, as well as their static nature and slow reaction times.
Melbourne’s vulnerability under this system was emphasised by the friendly but unheralded arrivals in 1862 and 1863 of Russian warships. At this time, it was thought that Melbourne’s defence might best be achieved from the water. The HMCSS Victoria, which was Victoria’s first naval vessel was a steam sloop that served Victoria well, especially in the Taranaki Wars in New Zealand (1861-62). However, the Victoria lacked the heavy armaments that would prove a deterrent to potential invaders and was most useful as a militia transport vessel. Subsequently, the Victorian Government established a select committee to investigate the Colony’s defensive capabilities, which recommended that two ironclad gunboats be purchased from the British Admiralty at a cost of ₤60,000 each.
While the Victorian Government procrastinated on the acquisition of two gunboats, another foreign arrival reinforced the urgency of the colony’s defensive needs. In 1865, towards the end of the American Civil War, Melbourne was visited by a Confederate commercial raider, the CSS Shenandoah, which had been harassing Union supply ships in Pacific waters. While the Victorian Parliament had issued a formal decree of neutrality in the American conflict, Melbourne’s defences appeared powerless to prevent the Shenandoah docking in search of repairs and new crewmembers. While the Shenandoah posed no direct threat to Melbourne, the ease with which it breezed into Port Phillip unhindered once again underlined Melbourne’s vulnerability.
Finally, in response to this perceived helplessness, the British Parliament passed the Colonial Naval Defence Act 1865, which gave the colonies the power to make laws to provide for their own naval defence. The colonies were to be permitted to maintain their own warships, on the condition that they were placed at Britain’s disposal in times of crisis and war. In 1866, the Victorian treasurer, George Verdon, visited London in a bid to secure two ships for the Royal Victorian Colonial Navy. The first of these ships was the HMS Nelson, a line-of-battle ship laid down in 1814 and a veteran of numerous conflicts. By the late 1860s, ships of the Nelson’s ilk were becoming surplus to the Royal Navy’s needs, and it was passed to the Victorian Government on permanent loan.
The other vessel procured during Verdon’s London trip was to be HMVS Cerberus. The Admiralty offered to Victoria the construction of an ‘armour plated monitor or turret ship ... capable of carrying 22-ton guns’. The new concept of turret ships, like a floating fortress, was believed to be ideal for harbour defence. The Admiralty offered the sale of this ship for ₤125,000, of which ₤100,000 would be met by the British Government and the remainder by Victoria. By the time the HMVS Cerberus had been laid down, put together, crewed, provisioned and sailed to Melbourne, it had cost Victoria over ₤40,000. Construction was entrusted to the Palmer Ship Building and Iron Company of Jarrow-on-Tyne.
For their money, the Victorian Government received what was, at the time, the culmination of a range of new technologies in warship design. The HMVS Cerberus was the first British naval ship in which sail power was dispensed with and which utilised steam only, it was the first ship to have a central superstructure, with gun turrets above deck both fore and aft. It was also the first British warship to use low freeboard and the first to have iron breastwork protection. All these things combined, HMVS Cerberus has been posthumously designated one of the key prototypes in the chain of development for the modern battleship, something of a link between timber sailing ships and iron-plated steamers.
Nonetheless, the restrictions of naval architecture at the time prevented the turret concept from immediately taking hold. Principally, the concept of a rotating turret above deck was problematic, given the potential for inflicting significant damage on one’s own masts and sailing rig. While many naval vessels had been converted to steam power throughout the 1860s, sail power had not yet been superseded, with respect to the fuel economy of wind over coal power, especially in the context of long ocean voyages. Nonetheless, the concept of the turret ship remained prominent with the relative success of the awkward but innovative American ironclad, the USS Monitor, used by Union forces in the American Civil War. The Monitor, as well as its Confederate adversary, the CSS Virginia, also utilised a ground-breaking concept of the shallow draft, whereby a large proportion of the vessel’s structure was submerged, thereby reducing the amount of surface area for enemy guns to aim at. The success of the Monitor appears to have guided warship design, with ‘Monitor’ class ships appearing among the more advanced of the world’s navies, in terms of the use of shallow drafting, gun turrets and iron cladding. However, the need to maintain sailing rigs, especially for ocean faring, remained a significant problem. For defending harbours like Port Phillip, however, many regarded the ‘Monitor’ concept as ideal.
The design for the HMVS Cerberus, therefore, incorporated many of the concepts of the ‘Monitor’ class, as well as a number of new elements, such as the central superstructure and the two-turret system. The British Admiralty, highly impressed with the concept, had one of its most highly regarded architects, E. J. Reed, produce a final design for the ‘breastwork monitor or turret ship’ that had been offered to the Victorian Colonial Navy. A contract was put to tender and awarded to Messrs Palmer and their shipyard on the Tyne. The HMVS Cerberus was laid down in September 1867 and completed in September 1870. Within a few months of its laying down, the Admiralty commenced construction of two other identical breastwork monitors for the Indian Government, the Magdala and the Abyssinia, for defence of the harbours at Bombay and Madras. The Magdala and Abyssinia were completed one and two months after HMVS Cerberus respectively, making the HMVS Cerberus the first of its class to be built (9). The design was a product of the turret ship proposals put forwards by Coles and Reed’s need to produce an armed vessel, which met the needs of the navy as well as those of good naval design. (39)
The HMVS Cerberus was a flat-bottomed craft with a shallow-draft, approximately 225 feet long. It was built with specially designed tanks that allowed it to be lowered into the water by taking on up to 500 tons of water, so that the deck was covered in water, leaving only the armoured breastwork, superstructure and the turrets above the surface as a target. This design reflected the concept that, in a conflict situation, the ship could cruise into position, submerge and fire-at-will, whilst rendering it difficult to be hit itself. Within the breastwork, vital functions, such as the storage of ammunition, turning mechanisms for the turrets and alleyways to allow for movement of the crew, were well protected.
HMVS Cerberus was powered by two 2-cylinder horizontal double-acting engines and twin screws, each twelve feet in diameter with four blades. Steam was generated by four, square, coal-fired boilers, giving the ship a speed capability of up to nine and a half knots.
The ship’s armaments, by 1860s standards, were very powerful. The two armoured turrets, fore and aft, each contained two 10-inch calibre muzzle loading rifled guns. Each gun weighed eighteen tons. The turrets gave the guns an approximately 270 degree turning circle, with the 400-pound projectiles fired by the guns theoretically capable of a range of some four nautical miles. One potential drawback in this system, however, was the slow reloading time for the ship’s muzzle loading weapons. By the turn of the century and the advent of breach loading weapons, the HMVS Cerberus’ arsenal was rapidly reaching obsolescence. In order to keep apace with technological developments, the HMVS Cerberus was periodically fitted with new armaments, such as Gatling and Nordenfeldt machine guns, especially in response to the advent of the torpedo boat.
At its full complement, the HMVS Cerberus was to have a crew of between 150 and 160 men, a majority of these to operate the turrets and supply the boilers.
Voyage to Australia
Because the height of HMVS Cerberus’ deck was only three feet above water, it was neither suitable nor safe to undertake a long voyage on the open sea. As temporary measures to enable it to make the voyage to Melbourne, the Admiralty therefore built up the sides of the ship by six feet and fitted it with sailing rig including three masts. Only the tops of the turrets were visible after the sides were built up.(9)
Lieutenant Panter arrived in England in mid-June 1870 and at first intended to take the HMVS Cerberus out via the Cape of Good Hope. This was because he feared that, if he took the ship via the Suez Canal, it might bottom on the canal and damage its screws. Even if it successfully transited the canal, Panter considered that the HMVS Cerberus would encounter unfavourable winds when attempting to cross the Indian Ocean. Despite his misgivings, he was eventually persuaded to take the Suez Canal route. This meant, however, that to make headway against the winds the ship would have to steam most of the way, markedly increasing its consumption of coal and hence the cost of the voyage. As the ship’s status under international maritime law until it arrived in Melbourne was problematic, the Admiralty decided that it would undertake the voyage as a merchant vessel. The ship in any case could not have operated as a naval vessel because, with its built-up sides and sailing rig, it could not have fired its guns. Its registration as a merchant ship for the voyage had another advantage in that it required a smaller crew.(10)
After its fitting out, the HMVS Cerberus was handed over to Panter at Chatham on 16 September 1870. Panter had already been trying to recruit a crew for the vessel, but after the catastrophe of HMS Captain on 6 September few men were now willing to risk their lives in a low freeboard turret ship on the open sea. Over fifty of those who had previously signed on as crew failed to honour their commitment. Panter had them rounded up and imprisoned. He eventually obtained the services of just 25 men – ‘most of them of indifferent character’, he said – but had to get a police boat to circle the HMVS Cerberus constantly at night to prevent them from deserting. By day, life insurance agents, sensing an opportunity, descended on the crew urging them to take out life insurance.(11)
It was at this point that an extraordinary design fault came to light in the vessel. When Panter began to load ammunition aboard the HMVS Cerberus, he found that both shot rooms had been provided on the same side of the ship. Thus, when fully laden, the ship held forty tons of shells on one side as against twenty tons of powder on the other. The imbalance of twenty tons caused the ship to list six degrees. Panter protested to the Admiralty which recommended that, to right the ship, he should flood one of the watertight bottom compartments on the opposite side to the shot rooms and sail it to Australia in that condition. Panter refused. With great reluctance, the Admiralty then agreed to alterations to correct the fault.(12)
Departing Chatham, the HMVS Cerberus made its way down the Medway to the Thames at Sheerness. The original crew of 25 paid off on arrival and Panter set about finding a new crew for the voyage to Melbourne. After, as he put it, ‘raking the back slums of London’, he gathered another crew of 25. On 29 October 1870, the HMVS Cerberus set off from the Thames estuary for Plymouth, on the first leg of its voyage to Australia. Once out beyond the calm of estuarine waters, the ship encountered a gale with a strong head sea. The lower decks were regularly awash.
‘The men were up to their knees in water and had to bail, for it was found that there were no pumps, and the ship would not steer. Something was the matter with her boilers – she would not steam; her rudder (which had originally been a balanced rudder, but was subsequently altered) did not act properly, and she proceeded at the mild rate of one and a half knots per hour in almost any direction but the right one’.(13)
The ship took refuge at Spithead outside Portsmouth and then stayed in Portsmouth for three days until the gale abated. Setting out again, it ‘narrowly’ missed several other ships before reaching Plymouth. Additional crew members were engaged at Plymouth – described as a ‘rough lot’ by one of the ship’s junior engineer officers – and by now sixty seamen were in prison for failing to honour their commitment to become members of the crew. Of those who remained, Panter had to take them before a magistrate before they would sail in the vessel.(14)
The HMVS Cerberus departed from Plymouth for Melbourne on 29 October 1870. In the Bay of Biscay, it met with another gale and pitched violently in the big seas. Although the Admiralty had warned Panter that the vessel should not be allowed to roll more than ten degrees, it rolled forty degrees and more with, at one point, its bottom coming clean out of the water. In another violent roll, a man in the captain’s cabin was hurled nearly from one side of the cabin to the other without touching the floor. All aboard expected the ship to capsize at any moment, especially as it carried 1,900 tons above the waterline and only 1,800 below. But the ship survived the gale and reached Gibraltar after a ten-day passage from Plymouth. It had just five tons of coal left in its hold, having used up its coal at the rate of forty tons per day. Terrified by the passage from Plymouth, the crew tried to escape from the ship at Gibraltar, but Panter called on local police and military forces to prevent any outbreak.(15)
After replenishing its coal stores, the HMVS Cerberus set sail three days later for Malta. The passage to Malta was uneventful, but on arrival the crew tried to desert the ship en masse. Panter had 25 of them imprisoned, with many of them saying that they would prefer to endure six weeks of prison with hard labour than sail any further in the vessel. Departing Malta on 11 December, the ship had a relatively incident-free passage from there to Melbourne, mainly because it enjoyed favourable sailing conditions for the remainder of its voyage. Panter found that the ship ‘would do nothing under canvas’ and relied on its engines which continued to consume vast quantities of coal. The HMVS Cerberus passed through the Suez Canal in December and, although its bottom touched lightly on two occasions, it suffered no damage to its screws or hull.(16)
The ship arrived in Melbourne on 9 April 1871 after a passage of 123 days from England. Her average speed on the voyage was only four knots, with her best performance six knots on the leg from Colombo to Batavia. The HMVS Cerberus’ voyage to Melbourne was not the first long sea voyage undertaken by low freeboard turret ships. In 1866, the American vessels, the USS Miantonomoh and USS Monadnock, had completed long ocean voyages, the former crossing the Atlantic and the latter rounding Cape Horn. The Miantonomoh crossed the Atlantic in the opposite direction the following year.(17)
The HMVS Cerberus’ arrival in Port Phillip created great interest among Melbournians, with many coming out to view the strange new vessel. Many newspapers marvelled at the impressive appearance of the ship, although others were less convinced. The Australian Illustrated News of 22 April 1871 described the Cerberus as an ‘an elongated gasometer fitted with masts and sent to sea on an experimental cruise.’(18)
Service with the Victorian Colonial Navy
From the time of its arrival in Melbourne, it took several months for HMVS Cerberus to be re-conditioned and stripped of the top-hamper it had been fitted with for the ocean voyage to Australia. It was also re-painted in traditional naval colours. On 25 August 1871, the vessel carried out its first trial in Port Phillip Bay. It turned out to be ‘a very sorry affair’. The crew took an hour to weigh anchor and, soon after getting away, they were all drenched to the skin. Owing to poor visibility, the ship was unable to fire its guns and, to crown a miserable day, Panter had neglected to provide any food for the crew. The next day was, however, better, with several members of the Victorian Parliament travelling on board the ship and even being allowed to fire its guns.(19)
Thus commenced a period of 53 years service which, in the words of one of the HMVS Cerberus’ historians, ‘must rate as the longest and most uneventful of any naval vessel in the world’. As its guns were too powerful to be fired close to shore, opportunities for practice shoots were severely restricted. When the guns were fired close to shore on one occasion, the reverberations shattered many windows, leading to public protests that ensured there was no repetition. Each year, therefore, the HMVS Cerberus carried out just three ‘shoots’ and conducted training exercises at Easter. It never left Port Phillip Bay primarily because it was intended only for harbour defence, but also no doubt because it sailed poorly and was unsafe on the open sea. The historian of the Victorian Colonial Navy has written that the HMVS Cerberus ‘wallowed like a pig even in a slight chop when she proceeded to firing practice in Port Phillip Bay.’(20)
Throughout its 53 years of service, the ship was never required to fire a shell at an enemy. The nearest it came occurred one night in 1878 when a small trading vessel tried to sneak up Port Phillip Bay in an attempt to evade customs duties. The crew of the HMVS Cerberus, which was lying at anchor in Hobson’s Bay, spotted the trading vessel and sprang into action to fire a shot at it. Unfortunately, they had not realised that the tide had turned the ship around so that its guns faced towards the shore. The shot blew the roof off a chemist’s shop in St Kilda. The crew then turned the gun around and fired again, this time hitting the Gellibrand Lighthouse. They were then ordered to cease-fire. The offending vessel was not apprehended until daylight.(21)
The other major incident in which the HMVS Cerberus was involved during its service in the Victorian Colonial Navy occurred during its 1881 Easter exercises. The ship’s captain wanted to demonstrate the laying of a submarine mine, and one of the ship’s boats was dispatched to lay such a mine off Queenscliff. Unfortunately, the mine exploded while the men were laying it and six of them were killed.(22)
By 1884, the HMVS Cerberus was, in the words of the historian of the Victorian Colonial Navy, ‘obsolete as a fighting vessel’. The reason was that ‘the particular turret and superstructure design was [by now] a handicap when involved in a running fight.’ Moreover, the development of faster and more powerful underwater torpedoes meant that a vessel like the HMVS Cerberus, which was designed to operate as a partly submerged floating gun platform, was simply a sitting duck for the new weapons. The introduction of modern breech-loading guns in 1880 soon rendered obsolete the HMVS Cerberus’ muzzle-loaders, which in any case had always been very slow to fire. The ship’s armour plating, too, was now too thin to withstand the force of new shells. The historian of Australia’s colonial navies has said of the HMVS Cerberus that by the mid-1880s ‘Modern developments in gunnery and armour had left her with protection as effective as pie-crust and a seriously devalued aggressive capacity.’(23)
Service after Federation
With the Federation of the Australian colonies in 1901, the new Commonwealth government assumed responsibility for the nation’s defence. HMVS Cerberus, along with vessels of the other (former) Australian colonial navies, was transferred to Commonwealth control in March 1901, although the naval forces and establishments in the states were administered under State Acts and regulations until February 1904. For several years after its transfer to the Commonwealth, the HMVS Cerberus was kept in the care of a maintenance party only.(24) In 1903, a new proposal had emerged to replace the ship’s obsolete muzzle-loaders with modern breech-loading guns. However, the proposal was not acted upon.(25)
The Commonwealth Defence Act of 1903 came into force on 1 March 1904 and Commander (later Sir) William Cresswell was appointed to the newly-created position of naval officer commanding the Commonwealth Naval Forces. An amending Act in the same year established a Naval Board of Administration. This came into existence in January 1905 with Cresswell as its Director. HMVS Cerberus was then one several ships ‘in poor condition and lacking even nucleus crews’ which were taken over from the states and incorporated in the Commonwealth Naval Forces.(26) Cresswell brought the Cerberus and three other aging vessels of the former colonial navies into ‘reduced commission’ and maintained another four ships in running order.(27)
Although the HMVS Cerberus was the Commonwealth Naval Forces’ largest ship, it could not properly be regarded as a capital ship. Because of its unmanoeuverability, instability in open waters and slowness, it could not operate on the open seas and was in fact restricted to Port Phillip Bay. Its muzzle-loading guns, moreover, were obsolete and probably could not be used. In the words of naval historian Dr Tom Frame, the ‘old monitor Cerberus was virtually useless’.(28) In 1906, ‘the elderly ship [was] towed down the Bay as a dumb participant in a final demonstration of the pitiful state of the naval forces that the Commonwealth had inherited.’(29) Together, the ships composing the Commonwealth Naval Forces were woefully inadequate to defend Australia. In a report outlining the state of these forces in early 1909, Creswell pointed out that Melbourne was guarded by the HMVS Cerberus which could not even raise steam.(30) The ship was decommissioned that same year.(31)
On his arrival in Australia two years before to take up an appointment in the Commonwealth Naval Forces, Sub Lieutenant Harry Feakes, who later rose to become a Rear Admiral,(32) described his first posting, which was aboard the HMVS Cerberus:
‘Arriving from England at Melbourne I had reported on board about 9.30 on a cold, wet and cheerless evening. Met at the gangway by a robust, elderly bluejacket carrying an oil lantern, I was escorted below through the dingy gloom of unoccupied mess decks and engine room to the officer’s quarters lit by oil ‘police’ lighting. A sleek, fat rat scuttled through the shadows. It was a bogey experience.
‘With murmured references to seeing the C.O. in the morning, I was ushered into what my escort informed me had always been the First Lieutenant’s cabin. It was a dog box, 6 feet by 6 feet. Passing a curtained cabin I had heard a bottle clink against the rim of a glass, the Officer-of-the-Watch entertaining himself for a while. Lucky beggar! The gloom was enough to drive anyone to drink. Next morning I awoke, and lifting a weary head from the pillows, wondered where I was. Gazing around in the feeble light shed by a small, swinging oil lamp, I saw a wee figure placing tea and toast on a bracket screwed into the side of the narrow, coffin-like bunk in which I had lain through the night. Not since an armoured belt had been clamped around her ample waist upwards of 40 years before had God’s fresh air, or germ-destroying sunshine, penetrated into the vitals of the old ship. Forty years of potted air, and bilge! The smelly oil lamp did the rest. Wishing to strike a friendly note with my new shipmate, and grateful for the new hold on life provided by the hot tea, I enquired, ‘How long have you been in the ship?’ Carrying on steadily folding the mess of scattered folding without lifting his eyes, the busy one replied, ‘Thirty six years, sir.’ (33)
In September 1910, the modern destroyers Parramatta and Yarra, which had been ordered by the Fisher government two years previously, arrived in Australia. Their arrival marked the establishment of an Australian navy as real fighting force. The Australian Navy itself came into existence on 10 July 1911 and in October the King authorised it to use the word ‘Royal’ as part of its title. Although the Cerberus was included in the list of ships comprising the Australian Navy at its the formation and was called HMAS Cerberus, the vessel was not operational.(34) Whatever use it may have been to the new Royal Australian Navy, this steadily declined with the commissioning of a third modern destroyer, HMAS Warrego, in 1912 and the arrival in Australia the following year of the battle cruiser HMAS Sydney and two light cruisers, HMASs Sydney and Melbourne.
The outbreak of war in August 1914 gave the HMVS Cerberus a new lease of life, albeit a much reduced one. The vessel was employed as a Port Guard Ship to help protect Port Melbourne. By this time, the ship’s four 10-inch guns were inoperative and it carried only light defensive weapons, these consisting of two small guns for self-defence mounted on the flying deck. In its role as a Port Guard Ship, the HMVS Cerberus acted as a floating base for naval dock guards and small craft detailed to patrol the harbour. One of these craft rammed and sank the small torpedo boat Gordon. When the threat of enemy invaders evaporated later in the war, the use of the HMVS Cerberus as a Port Guard Ship was discontinued and it was utilised instead as a store for ammunition and explosives.(35)
Following the end of World War I, the British government made a gift to the Royal Australian Navy of several surplus naval vessels, including six J class submarines. A base for these vessels was established at Geelong in 1921. The Cerberus was selected to act as a depot ship for the submarines, providing berthing for them and storage for their spare gear. The ship was duly towed down to Corio Bay and, on 1 April 1921, was re-named HMAS Platypus. The name HMVS Cerberus was given to the old gunboat Protector.(36)
The first of the J Class submarines was laid up in August 1921 and the rest met the same fate in the following few years. By 1924, there was no useful role for HMAS Platypus to perform and it was offered for sale as scrap. A successful bid of ₤409 was made by the Melbourne Salvage Company in April 1924. In May, the vessel was towed from Geelong to Williamstown and dismantling commenced, with the removal of valuable fittings and metals, along with the boilers, engines and parts of the superstructure. In 1926, the salvage company decided that it was not economical to break up the old HMVS Cerberus any further and it offered the remaining hulk for sale. The Black Rock Sailing Club thought that the hulk would make an ideal breakwater to protect its slips from the often rough waters of Port Phillip Bay. After the club was unable to raise the money to buy the hulk, Sandringham Council stepped in and put up the ₤150 required for the purchase. Ownership was vested in the City of Sandringham, now the City of Bayside. On 2 September 1926, the old Cerberus was towed by two tugs into a position off Black Rock in Half Moon Bay and sunk on a sandbar at high tide in fifteen feet of water.(37)
While the HMVS Cerberus’ principal function since its scuttling in 1926 has been as a breakwater, it has also become a local landmark, a marker for yacht races and a diving platform in summer. The vessel’s condition has continuously deteriorated and become dangerous, resulting in the declaration of an exclusion zone around the area in 1996. However, people still visit the wreck illicitly.
Towards the end of the 1960s, awareness was revived about the significance of the HMVS Cerberus and calls to raise and conserve the vessel began to gather momentum. In 1969, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) formed a survey and identification committee to investigate the HMVS Cerberus’ conservation requirements and the possibility of re-floating it as a naval museum. These investigations found, however, that the structural integrity of the ship had deteriorated to a point whereby the frame could not support the weight of the two turrets in the event of a re-float. When the fragile condition of the vessel was made public, support for its conservation grew and, partly as a result of an entreaty from the Duke of Edinburgh, the Cerberus Preservation Trust – later called the Maritime Preservation Trust of Australasia – was formed.
A public appeal for conservation funds by the Maritime Preservation Trust in 1972 failed to meet its required target of $500,000. Since that time, a number of organisations have put forward various proposals for re-floating the HMVS Cerberus or conserving it in situ. Proposals and appeals to save ‘the Cerberus’ continued into the year 2001, and still receive strong community support, although the financial goals set for these projects have proven difficult to achieve. Alternative suggestions for conservation vary between conserving the vessel where it lies and moving it above the high water mark.
More recent conservation plans for the ship have recommended it be left in situ, in deference to both its cultural significance as a breakwater and its fragile condition. Many believe, however, that re-floating or raising the HMVS Cerberus above the high water line is the only way to ensure its survival. A 1995 Conservation Plan by the Maritime Unit of Heritage Victoria suggested that, given the current mean thickness of the hull of 3.77mm and the general mean rate of deterioration of 0.122 mm per year, the structure of the HMVS Cerberus would be unlikely to survive more than 5-10 years.
The historian of the HMVS Cerberus, Bob Nicholls, ‘believes that the Cowper Cole turrets are the most significant parts of the hulk’. If the whole of the remaining hulk cannot be conserved, ‘he advocates that one turret be sold (to Britain) which would provide funds to save the other turret.’ The conserved turret ‘could then be preserved onshore somewhere in Melbourne, and perhaps restored to working order.’(38)
(1) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 5.
(2) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 5, 7; Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, pp. 83-4.
(3) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 7-8, 52; Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, pp. 86-9.
(4) Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, p. 90; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 8, 10.
(5) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 10.
(6) Oscar Parkes, British Battleships ‘Warrior’ 1860 to ‘Vanguard’ 1950: A history of the design, construction and armament, London, Seeley Service, revised edition, 1970, p. 44; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 30; Antony Preston, The World’s Worst Warships, London, Conway Maritime Press, 2002, p. 21.
(7) Ian Marshall, Armored Ships: The ships, their settings, and the ascendancy that they sustained for 80 years, London, Conway Maritime Press, 1990, p. 23.
(8) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 10-11.
(9) Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, p. 98; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 89, 90; P.A. Vicary, ‘Monitors of Melbourne and Bombay’, Ships Monthly, vol. 4, no. 6, June 1969, p. 204.
(10) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 91-2; G.C. Ingleton, Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial: Warships Cerberus Records of Service, Adelaide, Golden Lantern, 1934, p. 19.
(11) Ingleton, Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial, p. 18; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 93, 94.
(12) Evans, Deeds not Words, p. 60; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 93-4.
(13) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 94.
(14) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 94-5.
(15) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 95; Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, p. 98; Ingleton, Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial, p. 19.
(16) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 96.
(17) Ingleton, Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial, p. 20; Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, p. 98; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 55; ‘USN Ships—USS Miantonomoh’, http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-m/miantonm.htm
(18) Australian Illustrated News, 22 April 1871, quoted in Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, p. 98.
(19) Ingleton, Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial, pp. 20-1, 23; Noble, Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, p. 98.
(20) Herd, HMVS Cerberus, pp.12, 13; Evans, Deeds not Words, p.73; Ingelton, Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial, p.28.
(21) Peter Charlesworth, ‘H.M.V.S. Cerberus 1867-1926’, http://home.vicnet.net.au/~maav/hmvscerberus.htm
(22) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 144.
(23) Evans, Deeds not Words, pp. 73, 119, 158; Colin Jones, Australian Colonial Navies, Canberra, Australian War Memorial, 1986, p. 89.
(24) Jones, Australian Colonial Navies, p. 138.
(25) G.C. Ingleton, Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial: Warships Cerberus Records of Service, Adelaide, Golden Lantern, 1934, p. 29.
(26) ‘Naval Defence’, in Australian Encyclopaedia, Sydney, Halstead Press, vol. 6, p. 262; entry for Sir William Rooke Cresswell in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 8, pp. 145-7.
(27) Gillett, Warships of Australia, p. 36.
(28) Tom Frame, No Pleasure Cruise: The Story of the Royal Australian Navy, Crows Nest, Allen and Unwin, 2004, p. 70.
(29) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 146.
(30) Gillett, Warships of Australia, p. 38.
(31) Evans, Deeds not Words, p. 44.
(32) Article on Henry James Feakes in ADB, vol. 8, pp. 475-6.
(33) H. Feakes, White Ensign, Southern Cross, Sydney, Ure Smith, 1974, p. 120, quoted in Jones, Australian Colonial Navies, p. 139.
(34) Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 146.
(35) Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships 1914-1945, Sydney, Doubleday, 1983, p. 55; Gillett, Warships of Australia, p. 113; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p.146.
(36) Gillett, Warships of Australia, p. 113; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, pp. 146-7.
(37) Jones, Australian Colonial Navies, p. 164; Herd, HMVS Cerberus: Battleship to Breakwater, pp. 14-15; Gillett, Warships of Australia, p. 113; Nicholls, The Three-Headed Dog, p. 147.
(38) ‘Save the Cerberus’, Defending Victoria Website, http://users.netconnect.com.au/~ianmac/cerberus.html
(39) Hawkey, Arthur, pp. 20-21, 68-69 and after 144.
|Condition and Integrity|
From at least the 1950s onward, divers have removed many
relics from the HMVS Cerberus wreck. These relics consisted of plate
glass, valves, gangways, fire hoses and copper and brass fittings.(1) |
On 26 December 1993, the intact buoyant hull of the HMVS Cerberus ‘catastrophically collapsed’ in a storm in Port Phillip Bay. The former buoyant hull was then declared to be incapable of providing buoyancy as a floating hull, while all visible buoyant hull framing ‘had been bent, fractured or distorted beyond recognisable original shape or form’. The armoured breastwork and deck had dropped by nearly two metres and assumed a list of about 4.5° to starboard.
A second major collapse occurred in November 1994. From 1994 to September 2002, the wreck collapsed almost another half metre and continues to collapse at a rate of 20 to 30 mm every six months. An inspection in April 1999 revealed that the vessel’s stem post had split, indicating that the break up of the deck was imminent as it stressed and hinged out of alignment. In 2002, few sections of the hull plating remained intact, the main exception being the submerged counter stern with its protruding propeller shafts and sternpost.(2)
The ship’s deck timbers, which are of Danzig oak and are thought to be original fabric, are being attacked by marine borers. The damage by borers can only be arrested by removing the decking from contact with water.(3)
In October 2004, the Victorian Planning Minister Mary Delahunty announced a grant of $80,000 to enable the four guns to be removed from the wreck and conserved. This would relieve some of the stress on the hull. If more funding became available, the HMVS Cerberus might be jacked up to allow piles to be inserted before the guns were put back in place.(4) The guns were subsequently removed to the nearby seabed on 3 March 2005 (5)
In its present state, HMVS Cerberus consists of the collapsed hull, parts of the central superstructure, including the conning tower (or pilot house), most of the timber decking, and the two gun turrets. The hull rests on a sandbank, with its buckled inner support structures barely holding the significant weight of the turrets. The vessel is heavily rusted, and has been defaced with graffiti, much of which features anti-war slogans. For safety reasons, openings around the ship, like the turrets and funnel, have been covered with steel mesh.
(1) Effenberger, ‘HMVS Cerberus Historic Shipwreck Archive Directory’, p. 21.
(2) Anderson, ‘HMVS Cerberus Conservation Management Plan’, sections 1.0 and 5.2.2.
(3) Anderson, ‘HMVS Cerberus Conservation Management Plan’, section 5.2.4.
(4) Herald Sun, 17 October 2004.
(5) The Age, 4 March 2005
Halfmoon Bay breakwater, just off Black Rock.|
Anderson, Ross. Maritime Heritage Unit, Heritage Victoria,
‘HMVS Cerberus Conservation
Management Plan’, September 2002.|
Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol. 8 1891-1939, Melbourne University Press, 1981.
Australian Encyclopaedia, Sydney, Halstead Press.
The Age, 4 March 2005
Cahill, Denis. ‘The Ironclad “Cerberus”’, report by Maritime Archaeological Association of Victoria, August 1983, partial reprint, n.d.
Effenberger, Sue. ‘HMVS Cerberus Historic Shipwreck Archive Directory’, National Estate Study Report for Heritage Victoria, 1995.
Evans, Wilson P. Deeds not Words: A narrative of events connected with the Victorian Naval Forces from their beginning until the emergence of the Royal Australian Navy, Melbourne, Hawthorn, 1971.
Frame, Tom, No Pleasure Cruise: The Story of the Royal Australian Navy, Crows Nest, Allen and Unwin, 2004.
Gillett, Ross. Australian and New Zealand Warships 1914 – 1945, Sydney, Doubleday, 1983.
Gillett, Ross. Warships of Australia, Adelaide, Rigby, 1977.
Hall, H.L. ‘Childers, Hugh Culling Eardley’ in, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Carlton, Melbourne University Press, vol. 3, 1969.
Hawkey, Arthur, Black Night off Finisterre, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, and Airlife Publishing Ltd, Shewsbury, England, 1999.
Herald Sun, 17 October 2004
Herd, R.J. HMVS Cerberus: Battleship to Breakwater: Historic Iron Monitor Warship of the Victorian Navy, Sandringham Historical Series No. 3. May 1986.
Historic Buildings Branch, Ministry of Housing and Construction Victoria, Point Nepean National Park Fortifications, Conservation Plan, 1990.
Ingleton, G.C. Watchdogs Infernal and Imperial: Warships Cerberus Records of Service, Adelaide, Golden Lantern, 1934.
Jones, Colin. Australian Colonial Navies, Canberra, Australian War Memorial, 1986.
Marshall, Ian, Armored Ships: The ships, their settings, and the ascendancy that they sustained for 80 years, London, Conway Maritime Press, 1990.
Nicholls, Bob. The Three-Headed Dog: Towards the First Battleship, Bowral, the author, 2001.
Noble, Captain J. Port Phillip: Pilots and Defences, Melbourne, Hawthorn, 2nd edition, 1979.
O’Keefe, Brendan, HMVS Cerberus Draft National Heritage List Assessment, 2005.
Parkes, Oscar, British Battleships ‘Warrior’ 1860 to ‘Vanguard’ 1950: A history of the design, construction and armament, London, Seeley Service, revised edition, 1970.
Preston, Anthony. World’s Worst Warships, London, Conway Maritime Press, 2002.
‘Save the Cerberus’, Defending Victoria Website, http://users.netconnect.com.au/~ianmac/cerberus.html
Strachan, Shirley, Cerberus Preliminary Conservation Plan, Maritime Heritage Unit for Bayside City Council, 1995.
Report Produced Thu Jul 24 15:16:47 2014