Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fort Nepean

Photo source:
Breech-loading end of barrel for 6-inch Mark VII gun.
See also: Point Nepean

Historic Gun Barrels
From Point Nepean and from the same gun, ... [these salvaged, restored, and memorialized historic gun barrels] had fired the first shots by an allied army in both World War I and World War II.
Read more:

First Shots Fired
"... On the morning of 5 August 1914, the German freighter Pfalz was being hurriedly loaded by it's nervous crew at Victoria Dock in Melbourne. The ship's captain wanted to reach the open sea before war was declared -- but he was too late. As the Pfalz set out across Port Phillip Bay ... [Fort] Nepean received the news that Great Britain and Germany were officially at war.

... Fort Nepean ... was ordered to halt the Pfalz. The German captain ignored the signals to stop so ... a 6-inch Mark VII breech-loading gun, was ordered to fire a shot across the ship's bow. Within five minutes the Pfalz hove to and surrendered.

The story of the first shot of World War II is somewhat more prosaic. At 1:30 a.m. on 4 September 1939, within hours of war being declared in Europe, a small Bass Strait freighter, the Woniora, ignored an order from Fort Nepean to identify itself as it tried to enter Port Phillips Heads ["the Rip"]. A warning shot was fired from one of the Mark VII guns and the freighter, on it's way to Melbourne from Stanley in Tasmania, quickly complied ...

Among the facinating range of military hardware to be seen at Fort Nepean ... is a rare disappearing gun mounted in 1888 and one of only two in Australia in it's original position ..."
Read More: Victoria's Heritage [PDF]

Also see the blog: Just Outside My 30 Mile Radius, Conservation Weekend (scroll down to photo: The first shot of World War I).