29 September 2009

This anchor's away
History Julie McCartin

Tiff over part of shipwreck display

Sandringham Yacht Club historian Graeme Disney.
Picture: PAUL LOUGHNAN. N13SB216

The HMVS Cerberus anchor.
Photo: Friends of the Cerberus

THE Navy has nabbed a historic HMVS Cerberus anchor, Bayside Council claims.

An army reserve recovery unit took the 2½ tonne anchor from Sandringham Yacht Club last month, without council approval. It is now at the navy base at HMAS Cerberus, Crib Point.

Bayside Mayor James Long said he was “disappointed” the navy had taken it without asking the council, the anchor’s legal owner.

He has not ruled out legal action to bring it back. The anchor had been displayed at the club since the 1960s when it was taken from the Half Moon Bay shipwreck.

A Department of Defence spokeswoman, who would not be named, said the navy was borrowing the anchor “for an unspecified period”. She said the anchor needed restoration, which the navy was qualified to do.

She said the move was negotiated with Sandringham Yacht Club. The navy’s museum already boasts 13 Cerberus relics.

“How much more do (the navy) want?” Cr Felicity Frederico said. But it is not the first time the anchor has been taken without permission.

According to Sandringham Yacht Club Commodore Philip Burn, sailors stole it off the Cerberus shipwreck in the 1960s, and brought it back to the club, where it remained until last month.

Mr Burn said the club’s redevelopment meant it now didn’t have room to display the 2.7m anchor and he had not objected to the navy taking it.

Sandringham Yacht Club historian and Friend of the Cerberus Graeme Disney said he would ideally like to see the anchor relocated to a jacked-up Cerberus.

Brought to Melbourne in 1871, and sunk as a breakwater in Half Moon Bay in 1926, HMVS Cerberus is the only remaining monitor class warship.