Adelaide* W1 Crimea Cannons* Back to Search

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Details

Location Torrens Parade Ground Victoria Drive / King William Street, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Type Weapons
Description

Two captured Russian war trophy 36-pounder field cannons on their carriages from the Crimea War, on the top of the barrel is the embossed insignia of the Royal House of Russia.

Australia's isolation and early distribution of war trophies into the care of local communities, or military authorities, have been major factors in their survival, including one small group of trophies from the Crimean War (1853-56). At the end of the Crimean War, a large number of trophies were supplied to Britain and distributed to cities and towns in the United Kingdom and her Empire. An address to the House of Commons during 1863 provides a list of 1165 Russian guns taken at Sebastopol.

Included on the list are 730 iron guns and 324 iron carronades. The trophies were to be distributed among the Australian colonies in accordance with their contribution to the Patriotic Fund. Australian colonies donated the following amounts in pounds to the Patriotic Fund designated to assist the war effort:

Colony Amount

New South Wales £64 916
South Australia £6,297
Tasmania £28,375
Victoria £47,711
Western Australia £818

In recognition of these contributions, each colony, except Western Australia, was awarded a pair of Russian trophy guns. Adelaide's two trophies were first installed in the Botanic Gardens during February 1859. In 1867 they were used to announce the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Some time later, they were removed from the gardens and were handed over to the military authorities, which placed them in front of the armoury, which was located on North Terrace.

One of the guns was fired daily as Adelaide’s time signal for midday.

In the mid 1930s, they were moved to their present position on the Torrens Parade Ground. They were subsequently moved to the Keswick Army Barracks but were returned to the Torrens Parade Ground in 2004 where they are currently on display.

The cannons are located either side of the main entrance to the Torrens Drill Hall. The cannons were repainted in March 2014. New photographs pending

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Built Not yet discovered
Opened Not yet discovered
Inscription

Left cannon:

Left trunnion:  N-19186

 AAKCHD-3BD 

H: F /AAOHЪ.

Right trunnion:

24-H. 

120-P.

1824-T.

 

Right cannon:

Left trunnion:

N-21112.

{C}{C} AAKCHD-3BD

 HAT: F/AAOHЪ.

 

Right trunnion:

24-H.

120-P.

1825-T.

Condition

MAINTAINED BY: State Government, RSL


PECULIARITIES/DAMAGE: Nil

View Tributes of Honour Description

Stories

Intermittent firing of the Crimea Cannons by Army Reserve soldiers

There is an 'urban legend' dating to the 1970s and 80s that the Crimea Cannons were occasionally fired, without authorisation, by Army Reserve soldiers based on the Torrens Training Depot, generally at night when few witnesses were about.

The technique was (apparently ) to ram a hand grenade simulator down the bore followed by a rolled up telephone book or a doormat.

The resulting explosion would blast smoking bits of shredded phone book across the Parade Ground like pyrotechnic confetti, the boom would echo along the river bank of the nearby River Torrens, seagulls would be startled into flight and random pedestrians would get the fright of their lives.

According to the story the cannon fire was on occasion supplemented or replaced by blank fire from several percussion rifles in the upstairs Officers Mess, a fact which seems to narrow the focus on who might have been responsible for these goings on.

This practice appeared to die out as the grenade simulators were retired from service (they were probably assessed as a WHS risk) and authorities became less tolerant of the boisterous antics of the local soldiery. .

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