Cannon to make a comeback

By James Ihaka

Joan Morrow with the 125-year-old gun in Newmarket. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Joan Morrow with the 125-year-old gun in Newmarket. Photo / Paul Estcourt

A 125-year-old gun languishing in Newmarket is to be remounted, allaying earlier concerns that it had been dumped and forgotten.

The muzzle-loaded gun, part of a defence arsenal against a perceived Russian threat in the late 19th century, was moved to the nearby Olympic Green as part of a recently-completed $2 million redevelopment of Lumsden Green.

The move surprised some in the community who believed a piece of their history, which had been a part of Lumsden Green for decades, had been dumped and forgotten.

But Hobson councillor and Auckland City Council city development committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar said work had begun on replacing its rotting wooden carriage to restore the old gun.

"The good news is we've started building the carriage and once that is finished the cannon will be topped on it at the reserve," he said.

Mr Bhatnagar did not know when the new carriage would be completed. He also said there were no plans at this stage to include a plaque describing the gun's history.

"But I'm sure that can be easily done and if they haven't budgeted for it as a part of the project I'll be the first to sponsor it at the Hobson community board," he said.

Former Newmarket RSA secretary Joan Morrow, who was initially outraged at the move, said the restoration was "a victory for the preservation of local heritage".

"It's welcome news for us, for sure ... the old soldiers are happy about it," she said.

"I've had a few phone calls and people are certainly looking forward to its completion."

The gun was moved from its original site to Lumsden Green in 1911 but was 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.

It became the Auckland City Council's responsibility when the Newmarket borough became part of the enlarged city 21 years ago.

- NZ Herald

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