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300pd Blackpowder Cannons at Williamstown
The cannon construction techniques which were pioneered by William Armstrong in the 1860’s led to more powerful and more accurate weapons. The 6.3″/160mm bore cannons which were shown in yesterday’s post, (and modelled by me,) were rapidly followed by larger cannons. The larger cannons were required to counter the iron clad steam ships which were replacing wooden warships. The colony of Victoria purchased 9″ muzzle loading black powder cannons for the defence of Melbourne, and yesterday I visited Williamstown to see 4 of them.
The 9″ rifled bore cannons fired projectiles weighing 300lbs! Cannons of this size were described according to the bore diameter, in preference to the weight of the projectile.
A fort was constructed at Williamstown (Fort Gelibrand), and 2 of the cannons are located inside a military establishment, unfortunately not accessible to the public.
I was sure that I had seen some photographs of similar guns at Williamstown which were accessible so I asked some locals, and was directed to the foreshore.
These 9″ guns are rifled (6 grooves), made in 1867, and muzzle loading blackpowder. They are very similar to the 10″ guns which were mounted on the monitor HMVS Cerberus, but these are garrison mounts whereas the Cerberus guns were rotating naval mounts.