By LAURA BANKS 3 Dec. 2012.

SANDRINGHAM FORESHORE ASSOCIATION president Vicki Caralis is pleading for urgent action to free up $500,000 in federal government funds to save the HMVS Cerberus. Those fighting to preserve the 1868 battleship learned last week that the grant could be used to shore up the ship's gun turrets, which are in danger of collapse. Heritage Victoria had previously wanted the money spent on an onshore display.

Plan to brace collapsing Cerberus

By LAURA BANKS 3 Dec. 2012.

THE HMVS Cerberus is one step closer to preservation. An internal review of the vessel will be carried out this week by the Defence Science Technology Organisation and the Naval Reserve with a view to designing an internal bracing system for the gun turrets.

The turrets, each weighing 200 tonnes, are at risk of collapse.

Friends of the Cerberus president John Rogers said Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Population and Communities Tony Burke had advised the group last week that the Federal Heritage Department was willing to allow the $500,000 granted in 2008 to be used to brace the turrets if the design received a Heritage Victoria permit. Previously, Heritage Victoria had wanted to build a display piece on dry land and let the vessel sink. "The $500,000 grant funds have been unable to be accessed since April while issues regarding the bracing project were sorted out," Mr Rogers said. "After ascertaining what internal support structure remains after 86 years in Half Moon Bay, a support structure for the gun turrets can be more effectively designed."

Sandringham Foreshore Association president Vicki Karalis pleaded for urgent transfer of the funds.

"We'd like to see the Cerberus restored, but in the meantime while the funds are available we need to shore-up the Cerberus," Dr Karalis said.

The Cerberus was scuttled in Half Moon Bay in 1926 to form a breakwater.

NOTE: The correct spelling of the two individuals named above is Vicki Karalis and John Rogers.