Latest on the battle to save HMVS Cerberus….

Back on December 8th, 2008, I posted about a 1.1200th scale model that was available about HMVS Cerberus. I also mentioned in that about the battle to save the real Cerberus which is currently ruasting away ion Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne. There has been an update to the real ship and the following comes from the Friends of the Cerberus.

At the monthly meeting of the City of Bayside Council last night, Council decided to advise the federal and state governments that Bayside wishes to proceed with the bracing of the Cerberus gun turrets. Before the recommendation to Council was discussed, Peter Tully and I spoke for three minutes each. We stated our position that Friends of the Cerberus appreciated its close working relationship with Bayside and urged Council to accept the recommendation before it and Save the Cerberus. That all seven councillors spoke in favour of the motion was encouraging as were the comments made regarding the importance of saving Cerberus. Councilor Frederico summed up our view regarding the letter from the federal heritage department which she described as hilarious given their proposal that photos in an interpretive display somehow made up for allowing Cerberus to collapse. Councillor Hayes also took on board the irony of both the Commonwealth and St ate Heritage departments suggesting doing nothing and allowing Cerberus to collapse.

What was particularly pleasing was the gratitude expressed by councilors to Friends of the Cerberus for our work in campaigning to Save the Cerberus.

Councillors Frederico, Norris, Hayes and Mayor Cooper-Shaw all strongly expressed their gratitude. My suspicion is that the other three councillors, who also supported adopting the recommendation, were also grateful but it had all been said by the time that they spoke. The recommendation that the bracing proceed was passed unanimously. Council will now formally lodge an application for a permit to complete the bracing project.

For those who don’t remember, the City of Bayside is the legal owner of Cerberus as well as the project manager for the bracing project.

In summary, after the meeting both Peter and I were greatly encouraged and confident that Friends of the Cerberus in conjuncion with the City of Bayside and the National Trust will be able to convince the federal and state heritage bodies to reverse their opposition towards bracing Cerberus.

Friends of the Cerberus ask us to keep the letters going to Federal Minister for Heritage Tony Burke:

The Hon Tony Burke
Minister Heritage
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au

and the Victorian Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy:

The Hon Matthew Guy
Minister for Planning
Level 7
1 Spring St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Matthew_Guy@parliament.vic.gov.au

Write, call, email, support!

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The Victorian Fires

There are times when the events that occur are so momentous that they shake your life, your being, the way you feel about other people and where you either question or clarify your identity. The bush fires in Victoria are such an event. As the fires unfolded last Saturday I had a feeling of sadness and horror over the number of people that had died then. I think it was 14 at that stage. The feeling was compounded by saying to myself “but this is 2009 and we have so much experience with bush fires in Australia, how can this happen?”

As the fires intensified and spread over the weekend and earlier this week, that sadness moved to a numbness and then to a feeling of abject disbelief. Now the toll is 181 and the expectation is that it will grow, perhaps to over 300. It hurts to think about the pain suffered by those involved – and that means the victims, the victims families as well as those working to put the fires out and support the victims.

Now, almost a week has passed, and with one or two exceptions, most Australians are now in the mood of “bugger what happened, let’s just muck in and fix this as best we can first, then we can sort the other crap out later.”

This is what Australians are doing now. They are illustrating what was best described by Barack Obama in his presidential election campaign, appearing as a Can Do type with his “yes we can” slogan. Australians are illustrating this attitude well with just getting stuck in to fix the problem. Bugger the financial system meltdown, bugger the economy, bugger everything … there are a lot of people hurting and who need help so let’s just help them.

There will be many stories come from this tragedy, good and bad, noble and evil, encouraging and disheartening. One thing that is certain though, at this particular moment in my life, I have never been more proud to be an Australian than I am now.

So folks, don’t be timid either, give to those in pain. Give a little, give a lot but give what you can. Give it to the Red Cross in Australia as every cent donated there goes to the victims – no administration fees. The link is to the Red Cross Australia.