Fragile historic cannon not a plaything

CHILDREN will be discouraged from climbing on a historic 1860s cannon at the front of Warrnambool’s Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village so it will last longer.

A shelter has been erected over the cast iron armament and its rare teak timber carriage and chains will be fastened to the shelter posts.

“We want to discourage people from climbing over it to limit damage,” Flagstaff Hill manager Peter Abbott said.

“This cannon has world significance considering it is still on its original teak carriage.

“Recent X-ray examinations were carried out due to concern the cannon’s weight on the teak may lead to a collapse.

“Work was then done to erect a steel frame to support the cannon and take pressure off the carriage.”

Another old cannon in the botanical gardens had its undercarriage replaced by a replica built by the Triton woodworkers group last year.

Its original decaying Burmese teak carriage is now stored at Flagstaff Hill and will be protected by a new shelter next year.

The Flagstaff Hill cannon was manufactured in Bradford, England, in 1861 to fire 31-kilogram (68 pound) projectiles.

It was one of 19 bought by the Victorian government to defend Williamstown and shipped onto Warrnambool for training by volunteers.

Its first base is believed to be Cannon Hill, before being transferred to Flagstaff Hill.

In the late 1880s a garrison was established at Flagstaff Hill and two of those cannons are still used today for demonstration firing, including the forthcoming summer holiday program.

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