Saturday, June 19, 2010

Searching for Newmarket's RML gun

I posted about Newmarket's rifle muzzle-loaded gun back in January last year.

Since then, the work on Lumsden Green has been completed, and dignitaries reopened the reserve earlier this month. I popped across Broadway yesterday to have a look -- and to find the gun.

It was nowhere to be seen.

Lumsden Green looks very neat and tidy. The big artwork by Marté Szirmay, the 1969 Smirnoff Sculpture, is there ...

... and there's a memorial plaque to Newmarket Borough Council mayors, town clerks, and councillors.

But -- no gun.

I came home, and looked on the internet. I found one report of the reopening of Lumsden Green, where Mayor John Banks did the honours on 8 June 2010 (same day Avondale Train Station was opened). In the text was this note:

"The 19th century cannon from the Green has been refurbished and relocated to Olympic Park."
Two thngs: the gun is not a cannon, and Newmarket has an Olympic Reserve, not an Olympic Park (the latter is actually over here, between New Lynn and Avondale). Still, at least I now had a location. I set out today, with finding the gun on my agenda for my Saturday journey.

I found Olympic Reserve. It's on the north side of the swimming pools complex.

On crossing over, I looked for the gun, and found it.

It looked for all the world as if it had just been dumped in the midst of a bed of tussocky plants.

It isn't even on its own stand, as it had been at Lumsden Green, just to the south. Just a couple of bits of concrete. The muzzle is now on the ground, and it looks like the gun is just left on its side.

It would appear that, being such a nuisance to the development of Lumsden Green as it must have been, the gun was simply shifted over as a bit of old metal, and used as piece of old stuff just on the landscape. No signage, no context about what it was all about, that it's at least as old as the late 1870s and part of Auckland's great Russian Scare.

There's probably an explanation for its fate, lying there like a piece of rubbish discarded in the greenery, but right now in my opinion it's appalling to see it end up this way. I'd appreciate readers' views.


  1. Nice way to treat a bit of history dumping it in the grasses like that. HELLO!!! I think some people need to wake up there and sort it out. Good on you for saying something about it. That's wrong. Reminds me of the same crowd trying to get rid of the Suffrage Memorial outside the art gallery

  2. Although it is history, I think it can now be viewed as a piece of art, and therefore I can say that it is disrespectful of art as well.

  3. Thanks Liz and Andrew. If this had happened in Avondale, I'd be at the next Community Board meeting in a flash expressing my views. I'm surprised local historical societies nearer to Newmarket have let this happen without any apparent word.

  4. pfft that's terrible to read! We have to treasure these relics of bygone times! How are others to learn. >:( bah humbug.... thanks for taking the time to track it down.

  5. Cheers, Sandy. Good to know I'm not the only one who thinks this treatment of an heritage object is not on.

  6. That's a shocker, maybe a phone call to the media to highlight how history is discarded like old trash could shame someone into fixing the situation?

  7. What a indictment on all concerned! What a way to treat an item that may have once stood to defend Auckland. Would have looked better than the art piece if mounted back on its orginal site

  8. Thanks for all your comments, folks. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks what has happened isn't right. Cheers.