29 August 2009

Letter to the Editor

Save our ship of significance

IN THE Cerberus, Victoria and Australia have a warship of national and international significance. Built in 1868, she was the genesis of the design of all major battleships from about 1870 onwards. In addition, she is, easily, the oldest surviving ship to have served with the Royal Australian Navy. For years now, campaigns have been run to try to save this unique ship, only to fail due to Government apathy. Yet other nations save their historic ships: the SS Great Britain, once a rotting hulk in the Falkland Islands, is now an educational and tourist attraction. Likewise, HMS Warrior (1860) and HMS Gannet (1878) have been restored. All these ships make money today. Surely Australia can do as well in restoring its maritime heritage? The National Trust, Australian Heritage Commission, Heritage Victoria and National Heritage have listed Cerberus as of unique importance, yet the Federal Government has come up with only a relatively small amount of money, not matched by the State Government. The Cerberus would not only be a tourist attraction, it would be a fitting memorial to the men of the Victorian Colonial Navy and the early Royal Australian Navy.

Ted Browne, Hawthorn