Coastal Defence Turret Ship/Ironclad Breastwork Monitor
Palmer Shipbuilding & Iron Co
1 September 1867
1 December 1869
Sold April 1924 and scuttled as a breakwater at Black Rock, Victoria 2 September 1926
|Dimensions & Displacement|
|Crew||82 (normal) up to 155|
|Machinery||2 x Maudsley, Son & Field steam engines|
...the vessel created a great sensation, and every possible civility was offered by the Government. Governor Weld himself came on board and inspected the ship.
…the circumstances of her voyage of five months and nine days have been watched with the deepest interest on both sides of the world. Captain Panter expected that it would be the end of April before the ardently hoped-for moment would come when he would drop his ‘mud hook’ off Williamstown; but his skill, together with comparatively favourable weather, has thus materially shortened the voyage.She was first sighted off Cape Northumberland on Good Friday, but the telegraph offices were closed and it was not till Saturday that the public heard of a ‘turreted ship’ being seen off our coast. Later in that afternoon came the welcome news that the Cerberus had signalled the Cape Otway lighthouse, and yesterday morning she entered the Heads and steamed to her anchorage, which was the berth lately vacated by HM Corvette Blanche.
As she came up she excited the greatest possible interest. As might be expected, she was not regarded as a handsome ship by any means. She appeared, as in great measure she is, a huge, long, square box, cut down straight at both ends, and surmounted by stunted masts, the tops of her turrets and her funnel. This is not the shape she will be when she is stripped of her surroundings. Then she will be a monitor, whose deck line will be 3 feet above the water, save in the centre, where the outline is broken by a breastwork of immense strength, above which are two cupolas and a pilot house, covered with the strongest armour plate. But now, this has been built over with iron bulwarks and a temporary upper deck to enable her to stand the voyage, and her outline is consequently of the ugliest.The bay seemed all-alive as she entered Hobson’s Bay, and she was the centre of observation. The Russian man-of-war the Haydamackdipped ensign to her and Captain Koltovsky hurried on board Cerberus to pay his compliments to her commander. The boys of HMVS Nelson crowded into the rigging of their ship, and made the air ring again with peals of boyish cheers; and nearly every vessel in the bay hastened to pay the compliment of dipping colours.Precisely at 1 o’clock the long-wished for moment arrived, and Captain Panter dropped his ‘mud hook’, and the event was immediately celebrated with the frothing of champagne by him and the few friends already onboard, amongst whom was Captain Payne, the chief harbour-master, who had boarded the Cerberus long before.In the meantime a great multitude of boats, crowded with passengers, had put off from shore in hope of their being allowed on board. In this respect, Captain Panter did not think it right to disappoint the curious public, although the ship was not fit to be seen. He gave the required leave, and then started off to pay his respects to the Governor. During the whole of the afternoon the crowd of visitors increased greatly, and several thousands of visitors must have come on board and endeavoured to understand her construction and the working of the turrets.
SUNK AT BLACKROCK. BREAKWATER FOR SMALL CRAFT.
The Argus September 3 1926Yesterday morning the hulk of the old iron-clad Cerberus was towed from her berth at the Williamstown pier, where everything of value had been removed from her, and sunk off the Black Rock jetty to form a breakwater for the yachts and fishing boats. Although the ultimate fate of the Cerberus was decided some time ago, when the Black Rock Yacht Club purchased it for £150 and resold it for the same amount to the muncipal council under agreement that it should be used as a breakwater. the date of the final move was indefinite. This was because the vice-president of the Marine Board (Mr George Kermode), under whose direction the vessel was sunk, did not wish to carry out the somewhat difficult task until the opportunity afforded by the perfect weather conditions presented itself. For this reason the sight of the strange flotilla that appeared off Half Moon Bay shortly after 9 o'clock took residents somewhat by surprise. The word, however, was passed around swiftly, and soon the cliffs were thronged by interested spectators, who saw approaching the grey, squat hull, towed by the tugs Agnes and Minah, and preceded by the Plover and motor-boat to mark the mooring. By 10 o'clock what was left of the Cerberus had been towed and coaxed by the tugs to within 400 yards off the jetty, where her bow was made fast to the existing breakwater, and the stern was slowly swung into position and secured to a temporary mooring. The operation had been timed for high water, when there is a depth of 15ft on the bank selected for the breakwater, and it was estimated that the Cerberus was drawing nearly 14ft. Immediately the hull was made fast three seacocks were opened, and the flooding of the vessel began. Dingys put off from the jetty, and the harbour master's motor-boat took off a large crowd of small boys who swarmed over the decks and down below to watch the rising water. The Cerberus sank almost imperceptibly, going down slightly by the stern. There was a large amount of scrap iron and odds and ends of useless gear, and visitors took away weighty bolts and nuts as souvenirs, after peeping into the turrets to inspect the heavy rusting guns.