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Photos of 19th century gun carriage (from coastal fort?)


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In a park at the top of Wombat Hill (yes, it's really called that!) in Daylesford about 40 minutes drive from my home is a cannon which looks to be from a coastal fort, judging by the carriage. Here are some photos. There are guns with similar carriages in the old coastal fort at Warrnambool and (IIRC) at Fort Nepean at Edgecliffe. I didn't think at the time to look at the barrel for an engraved date. I'll have a look next time I'm there.

 

If anyone wants close-ups of particular details let me know.

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Steven

An_Introduction_to_Hand-to-Hand_Combat_a.pdf

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Thanks for posting Stephen.  This appears to be a Blomefield 8 ft 6 in 32-pdr Casement Gun on a slide.  I will need to go and have a look as it shows some interesting features .  The carriage (top part) was a universal build (size etc common) such that it could just as easily be fitted to a naval slide (Casement gun slide was 16 feet whereas the naval version of the slide was only 11 feet for these 'medium' guns.  The rails of the slides were the same distance apart in both versions to facilitate this cross-usage.  It is more than likely that as you suggest, this is one of the many guns ordered for installing in the coastal forts for the Colony of Victoria.

 

HMCSS Victoria (1855)  was fitted with a 9ft 6 in version of this very gun.

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Thanks, Pat. Next time I go to Warrnambool I'll take photos there, too. It's not Fort Nepean but Fort Queenscliffe that has the others - it is a bit harder to get to as it's a working military base, though there are reular guided tours it's a long drive from home, particularly if the tour isn't on when you get there. But it also has disappearing guns - in working order! I was told by the guy that ran the tour that they fired it off once and broke every window in the place.

 

Thanks, Druxey - I'll look there too.

 

Steven 

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It is interesting that it has wheels on both ends of the slide. It must have run in circular tracks, or at least in arcs, to allow rotation for aiming.

 

Shipboard pivot guns were very similar. They either had a pivot at the center of the slide and wheels/rollers on the ends that ran in a circular track, or had a pivot at one end with wheels at the other running in an arc track. Smaller guns might not have had wheels or rollers, but just had pads that rotated on greased tracks.

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Sorry DR PR, must disagree with the wheels on the naval version of this particular gun.  Naval Blomefield pivot guns were mounted on slides (Improved Ferguson Gun Slides) that had metal plates on the bottom of the transoms that ran on the racers; only the upper carriage had rollers.  The shore/coastal versions did have the wheels on the slides; in the naval version the rollers/wheels did not appear until the 1860s or so.

 

Stephen,  I have a load of photos of the "original' carriage which is stored in a lean to shed at Warrnambool Museum - the curator kindly let me loose on it :)  The gun from this mount is the one either remounted immediately to the front of the museum or up on flagstaff hill (park).    I have also had a good (deep) look at all the guns in the Queenscliffe fort, and please note that they one on a common carriage placarded as being from HMCSS Victoria  - is not - the sign is so wrong in many aspects.  One of the researchers at the fort has done a comprehensive investigation and agrees, but the 'volunteer administration' who run the tours etc leave the sign there as it is 'more interesting' to the tour groups.  Most of the guns on display around Victoria (Bendigo, Ballarat, Queenscliffe, Point Nepean, Melbourne etc,) are coastal defence versions.  There is one 32-pdr 25cwt gun purported to be from the Victoria, owned by the Clunes Museum but on display at SeaWorks, Williamstown Victoria, but the provenenace of this is still to be established.

 

This is the gun I am talking about - it is a 8ft 6 in 42cwt simply mounted on a representative common naval truck carriage.  It is possible this is from HMVS Nelson which did have these as training/drill guns.  As Druxey pointed out, check the markings on the guns and it is possible to determine their year of manufacture and through the records identify where some of these guns are from.  The researchers at Fort Queenscliffe , and John Rogers of the "Save the Cerberus' campaign / website, have a good listing of many of these guns spread throughout Victoria.  Unfortunately, HMCSS Victoria's pivot gun has yet to be located.  If anyone knows....please ...  :)

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cheers

 

Pat

 

 

 

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Pat,

 

I was referring to all pivot/swivel guns in general, as used on ships in many navies. The larger guns definitely did have rollers that ran in tracks - there are numerous photos of these. They were mostly mid to late 1800s. Smaller guns may not have had rollers, but just slid on pads on the underside of the slide that ran on tracks on the deck.

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Thanks for the clarification Dr Per; I thought you were referring to the gun Stephen photographed.  For those interested in guns of this era, there is quite a bit of discussion by Douglas and Garbett in their respective books (both title their works 'Naval Gunnery') on the matter of how these pivot guns worked but not so much on their construction.  Kemmis in his treatise on Gun Carriages also discusses the interchangeability of the carriage part and provides a little more detail on their construction.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Looks like there's a few around, 2 at Port Fairy, 2 at Portland, 1 at Warrnambool, 1 at Moonee Ponds plus yours. I noted there was a recommendation to purchase 19 so there might be some more somewhere.

 

This one is at Port Fairy, I took it back in 2015:

 

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This  is a link to the Moonee Ponds one:

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cannon_located_at_Queens_Park_at_Moonee_Ponds.jpg

 

EDIT, looks like there are two in Moonee Ponds (Queens Park) 10496 and 10498.

 

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More info:

 

Perhaps 15 to 29 of these around!

 

http://www.cerberus.com.au/reenactors/68_pounder_slideshow.html  gives:

 

Ballarat 4 (Eureka Park) 10280, 10284, 10334, 10481 (from another site, perhaps more at View Point, Lake Wendouree attributed to the Nelson but....)

Bonegilla 1 10350

Brighton 1 10504

Daylesford 1 10491

Drysdale 1 10276

Moonee Ponds 2 10496, 10498

Port Fairy 2 10502, 10509 7261, 7271 (numbers off barrel not trunnion?)

Portland 2 10339, 10302

Warrnambool 1 10310 7045 (number off barrel not trunnion?)

 

This site https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/55b77c242162f119c85679d4 gives "There are only seven 32 Pounder SB made by Carron and fifteen 68 Pounder SB made at Low Moor known to exist in the State of Victoria" with (Reference; Victorian Guns and Cannons, South Western Victoria Assessment, May 2008, item W/B/01; Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village datasheets and archives). But I can't find that document.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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