Editorial 17 October 2004

supplied by the Herald Sun, & displayed with their permission

She should sail again

THE Sunday Herald Sun commends Mary Delahunty and the State Government for taking the first big step in saving Cerberus, the historic warship fighting her last battle for survival.

It is five minutes to midnight for Cerberus.
It is going to take a mighty effort to preserve her in any meaningful way, but the next storm on Port Phillip could blow away any chance that remains.

That is why it is vital that others follow Ms Delahunty's lead and commit funds -- and vision -- without delay.

Cerberus is a gem neglected too long, a rare maritime treasure that has rusted before our eyes at Black Rock's Half Moon Bay, no authority claiming responsibility because politicians and bureaucrats could not bring themselves to write a cheque in the name of history.

They missed, long ago, the opportunity to refloat a fascinating relic of our colonial navy. Then they looked the other way as Cerberus collapsed in on herself, tearing apart the timbers that support her iron decks and guns that once guarded Port Phillip.

Ms Delahunty's $80,000 grant will pay for the guns to be removed and restored while friends of Cerberus work out how to finance the next stage of the preservation, which will involve jacking up the warship while her hull is stabilised.

The Sunday Herald Sun calls on the State Government to guarantee complete preservation as it seeks help from the Federal Government and other partners in saving Cerberus once and for all time.

Put it on display

As important as many buildings that have been preserved with public money, Cerberus deserves the treatment afforded her ancestor, the Civil War gunship Monitor, on which money and attention is being lavished after fragments of her were discovered off the east coast of the US.

England would have had Cerberus on display on the Thames by now -- NSW would have had her moored as a centrepiece of Sydney's Maritime Museum.

To remind Victorians what we have and how much we have betrayed our roots, the Sunday Herald Sun also calls on the State Government to put the guns on public display while preservation is under way.

They should be mounted in Federation Square, on the banks of the Yarra near the Immigration Museum or in some other appropriate, prominent and dignified setting until Cerberus is ready to rejoin Victoria's heritage fleet.