Council unveils WWI trophy guns on Remembrance Day
Published on 11 November 2015
Rockhampton Regional Council joined RSL and State Government representatives to commemorate our fallen soldiers at the John Leak Memorial this morning and to unveil two restored WWI trophy guns.
Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said November 11 had special significance for our community on many different levels.
“Remembrance Day commemorates our fallen soldiers from all wars and conflicts since WWI and has such a deep significance for their families, friends and the military,” Mayor Strelow said.
“Their legacy of bravery and their ultimate sacrifice resonates with and continues to move our entire community and nation each year as we remember them on the 11 November.”
Mayor Strelow said a Queensland Centenary of ANZAC Grant enabled Council, businesses and volunteer groups to restore two WWI trophy guns in time for the Remembrance Day service.
“In 1921, the City of Rockhampton was fortunate enough to accept two WWI German field guns, which have now been meticulously restored thanks to a State Government Centenary of ANZAC grant of just over $16,000,” Mayor Strelow said.
“The restoration work really has been a community effort with several volunteer groups and businesses involved from investigating the original paint to providing technical advice and undertaking the foundry to ensure the guns are as authentic as they once were.
“The guns will now be permanently in place outside the entrance to the 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre in honour of all military personnel who have fought for and served our country with pride and distinction.”
Restoration Work contributions
- In 2015, Council successfully applied for a State grant of $16,364.25 under the Queensland Centenary of ANZAC Grants Scheme to refurbish the guns.
- The National Servicemen’s Combined Central Sub Branch of the RSL (Qld) pledged $2500 towards building new wheels for the guns.
- Foundry and paint work was undertaken by Anvil Engineering at Gracemere with in-kind labour
- The wheelwright skills to reconstruct the wooden wheels was provided by the volunteers of Rockhampton Heritage Village.
- Technical advice on authentic First World War German artillery paint schemes was provided by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
- In Principal Support to the project was given by the 9th Battalion AIF Living History Unit.
At the end of the First World War, the British Government set up War Trophy Committees throughout the Commonwealth for the purpose of distributing captured German weaponry amongst Commonwealth member countries as wartime memorabilia. These items were intended to be put on display in public places as symbols of victory which was the customary practice at the time.
In July 1920, the Queensland State War Trophy Committee allocated two captured First World War German field guns to the City of Rockhampton. One came from a pool of German guns captured on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918. The other had been captured by the 41st Australian Infantry Battalion at the Battle of Amiens in northern France in August 1918.
The two guns arrived in Rockhampton on board the steamer S.S. Barwah on 27 April 1921 and after being officially handed over to the Rockhampton City Council in a public ceremony they were positioned outside the old Council offices near the corner of Alma and Derby Streets.
When these offices were demolished upon completion of the new City Hall building in Bolsover Street in May 1941, the guns were moved to Victoria Park. They remained at Victoria Park until 1960 when they were moved again to the main entry of the (then) newly-constructed 2nd World War Memorial Pool on Lion Creek Road.