This 68-pounder gun currently (in 2011) located at Battery Hill was cast at the Low Moor foundry in England in 1861. It was one of the guns purchased in response to the 1863 report by British military advisers on the defence of Port Phillip, which recommended that nineteen guns of this type be bought for the defence of Hobsons Bay (in the northern part of Port Phillip). It is not known exactly when the gun was brought to Portland but it probably arrived in the late 1860s or the 1870s and was used for training purposes by volunteers and part-time militia at the Drill Hall (VHR H2245). It was moved to the park in front of the old court house in 1919 and to Battery Hill in 1922, and following restoration it was placed in its current position in 1984. The wooden gun carriage and traversing slide were constructed by the Royal Carriage Department which was attached to the Royal Gun Factory at Woolwich, most likely at the same time as the gun.
This 68 pounder gun, with the a manufacture number 10339, is a smooth-bore cannon mounted on a wooden carriage and traversing slide which runs on two short sections of traverse rail. The gun is marked 'Low Moor' over '10339' over '1861' on the left hand trunnion (the cylindrical projection from the side of the barrel that rests on the carriage and forms a pivot point), and '7049', an arrow, '95 - 2 - 6' and '1861' on the barrel.
How is it significant?
The 68 pounder gun is of historical and scientific (technical) significance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The 68 pounder gun is of historical significance for its association with the early defence of the colony of Victoria and as a reminder of the importance of coastal defences in the early colonial period. It demonstrates the dependence of the young colony on British military expertise and on the British manufacture of artillery. The relatively short life of the gun as part of the defences of Port Phillip reflects the rapid changes of gun technology during this period, and in particular the introduction of rifled guns of much greater accuracy and range than the old smooth bore cannon, and the subsequent transfer of obsolete weapons to strategically less important sites.
The 68 pounder gun is of scientific (technological) significance as a now extremely rare example of nineteenth century naval artillery, which was designed to be accurate over very long distances. The wooden gun carriage is also a rare surviving example of its kind.