Gun, mortar restored for RSL Club display

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

At the conclusion of World War I the Australian Light Horse, returning from their victories against the Turks, brought with them a number of captured artillery pieces.

In 1921 a 75mm field gun and a 7.85cm trench mortar were presented to the Deniliquin Council for public display.

Both pieces were manufactured by the famous German armaments firm of Krupp.

They were duly set up in Waring Gardens with the proviso that the council would take good care of them.

Unfortunately both gun and mortar slowly fell into disrepair.

In 2004 the council removed them to the depot ‘‘to avoid accidents’’.

In the same year, the Deniliquin RSL Sub-Branch wrote to the council requesting help in restoring the guns.

A sub-committee was formed and a grant of $4000 was received from the Department of Veterans Affairs in early 2006, together with a donation of $2000 from the Sub-Branch.

Unhappy with the time it was taking to start the actual restoration work, then Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick got things moving.

He contacted the Sovereign Hill Museum Association and arranged for the gun’s wheels to be sent to Ballarat to be completely restored. This was done at a cost of $7140.

The next step was to work on the main part of the gun and the mortar.

Work started on the gun at Bill Young’s steel workshop by Lindsay with help from Bill and Len Jones.

The Menshed and Bill Collins mainly looked after the mortar.

Lindsay received vital technical advice on both gun and mortar from Commander Damien Allen, a noted artillery historian.

The completed artillery pieces remained in the custody of Deniliquin Council but finally on April 25, 2011 Mayor Renwick presented them to the Sub-Branch.

They can be seen on display in the foyer of the Deniliquin RSL Club.