Russian cannons in Centennial Park
I lived in Eastern suburbs in Sydney for nearly 10 years and visited the biggest and the famous park in Sydney -Centennial Park- many times. On my regular walks I would observe people, dogs, birds and nature and I never paid an attention to cannons, which are located opposite the Centennial Parklands Dining.And the cannons have been there all the time.
The cannons are Russian and are from the times of Crimean war of 1853-1856.
Cyrillic letters reveal that one cannon with a cannon ball of 36 pounds (16.5kg) was cast in 1852 at the Alexander Factory. Both carry the double eagle of the Russian Tsar and one is stamped with the initials `M.A.’ – the translation of which is provided by Centennial Park administration as “Morskaya Artilleria (meaning naval artillery)”. I was unable to find an explanation to these initials, except for locating a photo with M.A. initial on similar cannon in Sevastopol.
The Alexandrovskiy Zavod (Factory) was established in Petrozavodsk in 1774. The restructuring of the factory began in 1786 and coincided with the appointment of the new director, who was invited to Russia to improve cannon foundry – British metallurgist Charles Gascoigne, director of the Carron Company in Scotland. With Gascoigne came English and Scottish experts, who brought new equipment and most importantly knowledge. During the period 1843 and 1859 the Director of the Alexandrovskiy Zavod was Nikolay Fedorovoch Butenev.
His name together with the cannon identification number #31585 are engraved on one cannon. For your knowledge, the cannon located on Malakhov Kurgan in Sevastopol has a number # 30328 and was casted in 1848.
During 1853-1856 Crimean war Russians were defeated. Many cannons drowned in the sea along with the ships, some were buried under the walls of the ruined fortresses, over 4,000 artillery pieces were captured in the fight for Sevastopol and were taken by allies as trophies.
In celebration of the victory over Russia it was decided by British government to distribute cannons seized at Sevastopol to each of the most important cities in the British Empire – including Gibraltar, Quebec, Dublin, Auckland and Melbourne. Today you will find similar cannons at the front entrance of Victoria Barracks in Melbourne, City Park in Launceston (Tasmania) and near the monument to the first Prime Minister of Canada in Hamilton. You can also find some Crimean war cannons in Russia. I was able to find references and photos of cannons in Petrazovodsk (home of Alexandrovskiy Zavod) and Sevastopol.
When next time in Centennial Park come and have a look at cannons. They are magnificent in their size. If you dare, climb (like many kids do). The cannons need some polishing.