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Cannons in Hopetoun Gardens

A key feature of Hopetoun Gardens in Elsternwick, these 80-pound cannons are two of only 25 of their kind. They were built at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, England in 1866, before the Victorian Government bought them to defend Port Phillip against a perceived Russian threat.

The cannons were originally installed at Fort Gellibrand in Williamstown. In 1908, Caulfield Council mooted the idea of obtaining obsolete guns from the Defence Department for a newly planned park. In putting forward the motion, Councillor Dunbar said -

‘It would be a fine thing from an educational point of view to have the guns there. Boys would learn the necessity for being prepared for the defence of the country’ (Brighton Southern Cross, 19 September 1908). 

The motion was successful and the canons were erected in Hopetoun Gardens in 1910.

There's a similar 80-pound gun at Portland Battery, in Portland, south-west Victoria. It's listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as an extremely rare example of nineteenth century naval artillery and is of scientific (technological) significance.

In 2013, Glen Eira City Council engaged conservators from the University of Melbourne's Grimwade  Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation to assess and repair the cannons. Having celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2016, the cannons are now safely preserved for current and future generations to enjoy.