Historic cannon 'dumped'

By James Ihaka

Joan Morrow with the cannon. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Joan Morrow with the cannon. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Newmarket residents are miffed that a historic 125-year-old cannon has been "dumped and forgotten" while the Auckland City Council has approved $120,000 for a book on its own history.

Joan Morrow, who was secretary at the Newmarket RSA before it closed three years ago, is disappointed the cannon has been left "completely out of sight" at Olympic Green, having previously stood at Lumsden Green.

She said old soldiers had approached her wondering what had happened to the seven-tonne cannon, which dates back to 1885 and was part of fortifications overlooking the Waitemata Harbour to defend against a feared Russian invasion.

"It's just been dumped up there and left out of sight. It's ridiculous because it is such an important part of our history," said Mrs Morrow. "We want it mounted and with a plaque in front so that people can have the pleasure of seeing it and understanding it."

Her calls have been supported by Newmarket Business Association chief executive Cameron Brewer, who said that if the Auckland City Council had $120,000 for a book on its modern history, it should also find the money to honour a rare piece of the city's military history.

"Everyone from council seems to be now ducking for cover," he said. "This is a national treasure. We agreed to the council relocating it to nearby Olympic Reserve, but we didn't anticipate that they would do a dump-and-dash."

The cannon was moved from its original site to Lumsden Green in 1911 but buried during World War II. It was unearthed in 1968 and placed on a traffic island on Broadway, but this proved to be a hazard so it was moved back to Lumsden Green.

The cannon became the Auckland City Council's responsibility when the Newmarket Borough became part of the enlarged city in 1989.

"It could be a nice paragraph in their new book, about how the city council inherited some great treasures from the old borough councils and did the right thing," said Mr Brewer.

Hobson ward city councillor Aaron Bhatnagar said he would check with the council today.

"I would agree that if the cannon is not being respected then we should ... if we are going to remember our military history we need to do it properly."

- NZ Herald

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