H.M.V.S. Cerberus | Historic Shipwreck

H.M.V.S. Cerberus | Historic Shipwreck

HMVS (Her Majesty's Victorian Ship) Cerberus has rested in three metres of water at Half Moon Bay since being scuttled to form a breakwater in 1926.

To the casual observer there appeared to be no deterioration until a major collapse took place in 1993. Since then Cerberus has continued to collapse at a rate of approximately 16 mm per year.

Cerberus had the unique distinction of serving in three navies of the one nation. Firstly, she served in the Victorian Colonial Navy from 1871 until 1901. Then, from 1901 until 1913, in the Commonwealth Naval Forces following Federation. Finally, from 1913 until 1924, she served in the Royal Australian Navy. In 1926, a Melbourne salvage company bought her and, after removing the engines and boilers but leaving the 1,800 ton armored barbette, the four 18 ton guns and the two 400 ton turrets - scuttled her as a breakwater, 150 metres off shore at the Black Rock Yacht Club.

On the 27th of December 1993 Cerberus succumbed to the elements and in a 90 knot north westerly storm, the 2,000 ton+ superstructure collapsed and sealed her fate forever. After this demise, the Cerberus was considered to be a danger to the public and was declared an Historic Shipwreck, and a 25 metre exclusion zone was placed around the site. This zone prohibits any activities within its boundaries. Plans have been proposed to restore the remains of the Cerberus, or to remove the turrets and place them on shore, but it is most likely that these will not eventuate due to a lack of funding.


Launched in 1868 Cerberus is the only remaining breastwork monitor class warship left in the world. Cerberus not only has its hull but also its gun turrets and its guns.
Cerberus was the first of the modern battleships.
Preceding HMS Devastation by almost three years, Cerberus was the first British warship to dispense completely with sail power and to incorporate the shallow draft.
Cerberus was the first, and is the only remaining example, of a Monitor having a central superstructure.
The design for the Cerberus was the first in the world to incorporate the combination of a central superstructure with fore and aft gun turrets.
Cerberus is the only substantially intact surviving warship of any of Australia's pre-Federation colonial navies.
Cerberus is the oldest as well as the only surviving inaugural warship, to have served in the Royal Australian Navy.
Cerberus represented Cutting Edge Technology from the 1860's.
Cerberus was the flagship and most powerful warship of the Victorian Navy. In addition it was the most powerful warship of any of the Australian Colonial Navies.
Cerberus incorporated the latest developments in metallurgy, steam power, gun turrets and the use of low freeboard.
Cerberus was the first armoured warship built for Australia.

Friends of the Cerberus Inc.

Friends of the Cerberus Inc. which consists of enthusiasts, works hand in hand with Heritage Victoria, the National Trust of Victoria and the City of Bayside. Our sole aim is to preserve HMVS Cerberus for future generations. We invite individuals and organisations who share our aim to join us as we get closer to achieving our goal.

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HMAS Cerberus | Royal Australian Navy HMAS Cerberus | Royal Australian Navy

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