HMAS Protector

Protector in South Adelaide, c.1900-01. Photo in the collections of the Australian War Museum.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

HMAS Protector was an ironclad gunboat laid down in 1882 in the aftermath of the 1870s Russian Scare. Commissioned in 1884, she was classified as a light cruiser, and could be rigged for sail. Her armament mainly consisted of one 8" and five 6" guns, and lighter guns. Her crew had available one hundred cutlasses and thirty boarding pikes. Protector was volunteered for service during the Boxer Rebellion, operating as a survey and dispatch vessel under British control. From 1913, she was mainly used as a tender, and supported the occupation of the German colonies in New Guinea and the Solomons during World War I. She was named HMAS Cerberus in 1921, and was sold off in 1924. She was converted to a lighter, with all of her workings removed. In July, 1943, Cerberus was commandeered by the US Army, but she collided with a tug on the way to New Guinea, and ran aground and abandoned. She was sunk off Heron Island as a breakwater, and the wreck is reachable by walking at low tide.

Bonus Photos

The hulk of Protector seen in 2008. Photo by Sirrob01 on Wikimedia.