ON APRIL 9, 1871 the HMVS Cerberus entered Port Phillip Bay for the first time.
Now resting as a breakwater in Half Moon Bay, the iconic vessel celebrates 140 years at a special anniversary event tomorrow.
There will be a display of Cerberus artefacts, free boat tours around the structure and a commemorative rifle shoot.
Friends of the Cerberus spokesman John Trewarne said the vessel was an important aspect of Victoria’s past.
“It is vital for young people to know the history of the Cerberus,” Mr Trewarne said.
“The wealth of Victoria at that time was very much linked to the safety of Port Phillip Bay.”
The ship is included on the National Heritage List and the Victorian Heritage Register.
A turret-bracing program is under way to help support the vessel, which is considered at risk of collapsing if no action is taken.
Bayside Mayor Alex del Porto said the Cerberus played a significant role in protecting Australia during its early history.
The open day is on Sunday, April 17, at Half Moon Bay, Black Rock. It begins at 10am.