Addition of Access Hatch
An access hatch was fitted between 1890 and 1893. It replaced the auxilliary compass stand. The compass stand was moved aft of the second skylight.
photo courtesy of "The Museum of HMAS Cerberus"
Mustering on the Cerberus. The Australasian, 31 March 1894 photo courtesy of "Newspaper Collection, State Library of Victoria"
Installation of Cylindrical Boilers
The original Square Box Boilers (below) were replaced by
locally made Cylindrical Boilers (right) in 1883. More Details
Two 4 furnace boilers in HMS Thunderer. (left one damaged)
Installing the Cylindrical Boilers.
Illustrated Australian News, 21 March 1883
sponsored by Greg Curzon-Siggers.
Steam Steering System
As built Cerberus needed up to ten men to operate its heavy steering mechanism. When the locally designed and built hydraulic system was installed only two men were required.
text and diagram reproduced courtesy of the RAN
The sailor at bottom right has his
left hand on the steam steering wheel.
Cupola on Conning Tower
"Captain Mandeville found that the "conning tower" - that is the tower from which the commanding officer fights the ship - was very much confined, and he has had that defect remedied by having a cupola fitted to it. This can be raised or lowered at pleasure by means of screws."The Argus, 13 May 1878.
Image courtesy of
Cliff Sanguinetti & Shirley Joy.
Telegraph System to the Engine Room
In 1883 a telegraph communication system was installed to the Engine Room. One contemporary newspaper report refers to telegraphs in the Conning Tower. However these may only have been the ones communicating with the turrets. (The Leader Newspaper, April 15 1871)
The photo below right (although not of Cerberus) illustrates anti-torpedo nets in use.
In the left photo the net supports are visible. Also just able to be seen (a faint line in the water) are the nets themselves (120 feet long). An effective protection against torpedos, nets were nevertheless cumbersome. Their major disadvantage for Cerberus was that the resulting drag caused a reduction in speed of about 2 knots.
"On the Cerberus one finds some important changes, notably in the appliances for readily hanging out the topedo netting, which when the vessel is under steam lays close to her side. The spars which formerly carried the netting were got out with difficulty and in some cases undesirable delay. Now they are made to swing out like a gate, and the netting is promptly ready for the more vulnerable parts of the turret-ship." The Argus, 10 December 1890
"On the flagship a special interest attached to this work, as the new director was to be subjected to a practical test.
enables him to deliver it at any time, & on any point he may select. He has an all-round view, & he would often see the object when it was out of sight from the gun deck owing to the smoke, darkness, or direction. He takes his sight with the director, he gives his advice with regard to angle & elevation to the men in the turrets by means of speaking tubes, & he fires the guns simultaneously by simply turning a key in the battery of the electric gear. The electric gear on the Cerberus is not complete, & the firing has to be done by the men themselves. It is, however, in process of construction." The Argus 4 April 1888.Details image - The director in use on HMS Thunderer
Delivery Voyage Alterations
For the delivery voyage from Britain to Victoria we know that three masts were fitted to allow sails to be used. The rig has been described as a barque rig.
Delivery Voyage Rig
Image courtesy of the Museum of HMAS Cerberus
We also know that the sides of the ship were raised seven feet and the top covered over. The following quote leads us to believe that the Captain had his cabin in the temporary section.
Cerberus arriving in Pt Phillip Bay with temporary Barque Rig and raised sides.
Australian Illustrated News, April 1871.