Old cannons restored

2015-11-10 06:00
 The two cannons at the entrance to Muizenberg Park have been mounted on replica carriages as part of the Main Road rehabilitation project.

The two cannons at the entrance to Muizenberg Park have been mounted on replica carriages as part of the Main Road rehabilitation project.

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Two restored cannons at the entrance to Muizenberg Park were ceremonially unveiled on Saturday.

The two 24-pounder cast-iron guns, mounted on new gun carriages, were originally cast in Sweden in 1782.

The cannons were probably used by the Dutch in the battle of Muizenberg and later owned by the British army, explains Muizenberg History Society’s Chris Taylor.

“These guns could hurl a 10kg cannon ball up to 5km, and sensible people kept out of their way,” he says.

They are now 233 years old, as they are dated on their trunnions, and weigh around three tonnes.

Recently restored, the gun carriages were designed by Peter Wright, Muizenberg surf shop owner and active member and gunner of the Cannon Association of South Africa (CAOSA). The carriages are close to authentic and the guns now look very much as they did in the days they were in deadly use.

The Association works to preserve South Africa’s old muzzle-loading cannons.

The building of the two new replica carriages is part of the Main Road rehabilitation, which sees the upgrading of the road between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek.

The mounting of the two big guns has created a special starting point for the Heritage Mile, explains Taylor. This is envisaged to incorporate the Railway Station, Het Posthuys, the Police Museum, Casa Labia, the Battle of Muizenberg, Rhodes Cottage, the Shark Centre and other historic and cultural features of the coastline.

“There is no other place like it in South Africa. The recent work by the City council is greatly welcomed by historical and tourism bodies in the Deep South. There are already walking tours offered that incorporate the two cannons,” he says.

“By preserving and displaying ancient artefacts like these, new generations are able to gain an impression of what life was like hundreds of years ago, and to develop a better understanding of decisions made long ago that often still affect us today. Our history is always part of us; in South Africa it is often a big part.”

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