AFTER standing for more than 90 years in the Lismore district as a vivid reminder of the horrors of warfare a historic World War One cannon has vanished.
The German field gun and carriage, which had been fastened to a concrete slab near the old Mount Bute primary school, was stolen by brazen thieves who would have needed considerable muscle-power or lifting machinery to remove the artillery piece estimated to weigh 150 kilograms.
“This theft is a poor reflection on society,” said local resident Robert McDonald whose uncle fought in WWI and father in WWII.
“It would be a fairly rare gun and had been originally installed when the former Mount Bute station was split into soldier settlement blocks.
“It had been refurbished a few years ago with a grant from Corangamite Shire Council and measured about five feet by three feet.
“We were going to put a plaque on it.”
Mr McDonald contacted police after noticing the relic missing last week.
Another local resident Sheila Brett said she noticed gates at the old school had been left open, but didn’t initially realise the cannon was gone.
“There was a family reunion there last year and the cannon looked great,” she said.
“Before the restoration it had been hidden in long grass for years.”
Sergeant Leigh Wheatley of Warrnambool police said it was an unusual theft.
“It’s not the sort of crime you hear of every day,” he said
Anyone with information regarding the theft or location of the cannon is urged to contact Warrnambool criminal investigation unit or Crime Stoppers.