RSA brings in the big gun

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By Mick Jensen

An eight-tonne gun dating back to 1890 has found a new home at the Ashburton RSA.

The seven-inch muzzle loading gun was one of nine bought for use around the country and had an impressive range of two miles (3.2km).

It was sited at a battery at Erskine Point in Lyttelton Harbour, but was declared obsolete in 1904.

It was cut up for scrap metal and the barrel tipped over the side of the hill in 1934.

After being rescued and rejuvenated, it was displayed outside the TS Cornwell Sea Scouts clubrooms at Mt Pleasant/Redcliffs for a number of years before it was moved last year due to a land sale.

Ashburton RSA spokesman Dave Gowans said the gun had been stored by Titan Cranes in Christchurch and was surplus to requirements.

Local contacts in the cadet unit had alerted the RSA to the gun and the decision had been made to relocate it to Ashburton.

Mr Gowans said local businesses and RSA members had mucked in to bring it to town on Saturday and had set up on the east side of the RSA building in Cox Street.

Wilsons Bulk Transport had carted it from Christchurch, Ashburton U Hire had helped with a digger, McIntosh Group had made the concrete base and stand and Ashburton Crane Hire had placed it, said Mr Gowans.

Mr Gowans said there would be a plaque made and a lick of paint for the gun over the coming weeks.

The eight tonne gun sits on the opposite side of the RSA main entrance to a 25-pound artillery gun, similar to that used by Kiwis in the Korean War.