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Colonial Naval Guns
Naval guns in Queens Park overlooking the Mary River are a marvel of 19th century gun technology and include an early version of a machine gun used to arm the ships of Queensland’s Maritime Defence Force. The largest of the guns, a 5-inch Armstrong Mark IV 50-pounder breech loading weapon, was mounted on a hopper barge for river or harbour defence of Queensland ports. The single-barrel Nordenfelt 2.8 pound breech-loading gun was originally mounted on gunboat, HMQS Gayundah, while the two-barrel 1-inch Nordenfelt gun was part of the armament of HMQS Midge, a timber-hull piquet boat. By 1914 these guns were of no further use and the Commonwealth offered them to Maryborough City Council.
The cannon had been discovered in sand on an island in the Torres Strait, north of Queensland. It is believed to have come from an unknown Dutch East Indies ship! The cannon was restored and fired for the first time in 1878. The cannon ceased to be used to tell the time in the early 1890s and it was moved to Queen’s Park. By the 1950s Council feared it would be stolen and it was eventually removed. A replica was made and it is now fired every Thursday on Market Day in Maryborough.