Thursday, 6 May 2010

A bit of a loose cannon

In the canon of military history, what we have here is a mortar or a howitzer. Sydney Town is riddled with 'em. Cannons to the right of us, cannons to the left of us. Here are but two examples. There are others: on Dawes Point under the bridge, on Fort Denison, in Macquarie Place, at the Whitlam Square entry to Hyde Park.


This cannon is one of a pigeon pair in Centennial Park which were relocated from the Royal Botannic Gardens in 1920. Originally, they were in use in the Crimean War. Which will eventually bring me back to the cannons to the right and the left.




This cannon, located in Hyde Park across from St Mary's Cathedral, was cast at Carron Works in Scotland in 1808 and bears the royal cypher of George III on the second reinforce. Originally, this cannon formed part of the fortifications of Fort Macquarie on Point Bennelong, and was removed to this new location when Fort Macquarie was converted to a tram terminus in 1905. Why you would turn a fort into a tram shed is an issue for another day.

Fort Macquarie in 1900. This is now the site of the Opera House
The Charge of the Light Brigade is an 1854 poem by Alfred Tennyson written in response to the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. There are six stanzas to the poem. Here are stanzas two and three:
Forward the Light Brigade
Was there a man dismay'd
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd.
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
          Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

19 comments:

Jo said...

Julie;) Tennyson and these beautiful images go so well together.

Serge Cornillet said...

I thought that it was about Canon, you know the brand, these images remind me St Malo (France)Nice pictures as always.
Serge, thanks for your comments!

Eleonora said...

Beautifully crafted ppst, Julie.
In Rome we have a cannon that fires every day at noon, and it's located above the Rome botanical gardens! What a coincidence.

Ciao
Eleonora xx

Sean said...

I admire the time and effort you take with your posts. This is very informative and really nice to read and look at. The photographs are of an increasingly good quality (from a very high base already), and it is always a pleasure to click on your blog and read this type of post!!!!

Mary Ann said...

Thanks for the detail shots! I wouldn't intuitively expect a cannon to be decorated, but I guess I'm glad they are.

J Bar said...

We see these cannons as monuments throughout the city and often don't know the history. I featured the cannon in Hyde Park last year but didn't know anything about it. Your research is fascinating reading. Great work.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Joan Elizabeth said...

Firstly your photos are just superb. Second isn't the historic photo at the bottom wonderful. Third, all wars are awful but they really did do it tuff in the old days.

Jayne said...

Love those pics :)
That future tram shed post going to include mention of Paddy's $100 million headstone, Julie? lol

brattcat said...

Bang up job, Julie.

Clytie said...

I love how you caught my attention with the beautiful pictures of the cannons, and then held my interest with the history, and ended with Tennyson. Wonderful post!

diane said...

Great shots hehehehe thats a pun!
Enjoyed the history of these menacing guns. Tennyson brings home how awful war is.

Vicki said...

The cannon in Centennial Park over looking the football field looks like a coach could use it to motivate the team. Win or be shot.

Peter said...

Love the choice of first photo, crisp and strong - brass and grass.

Jayne said...

Here's the tale on who Paddy is/was ;)

Lois said...

Fabulous post Julie and again I love seeing the historical photograph too!

Marka said...

Noisy things, cannons. Not so bad if they're not in use though.

jennyfreckles said...

That's interesting - I came across a very similar cannon, captured in the Crimean War at Sebastopol. It's on the town walls at Berwick-on-Tweed. I took a pic but it's not on my blog.

Gunn said...

Very nice details!

Piyush said...

What an amazing set of shots. Lovely crisp shot and great details!