Last week, Mayor Gary Johanson joined Commander Andrew Burnett from the
Royal Australian Navy
to unveil a plaque and officially welcome the breech loading naval gun from the HMCS Protector back to Semaphore.
The HMCS Protector was commissioned by the South Australian Government and to this day, she has been our state’s only war ship. The gun never fired a shot in anger, it was purely as a deterrent against an invasion.
The ship’s armament included five 6 guns, one of which, the one that you see before you today, was transferred from the Naval Department and gifted to the Port Adelaide Town Council in 1913. In October 1998, the Council resolved to house the gun at the TS Adelaide Naval Reserve Cadets Base at the Birkenhead Naval Depot.
We then received a letter from the Navy saying that they wanted to move the gun to a museum in Sydney. The Mayor then wrote to the navy and said that it was given to our city and that we would like to keep it.
Locally, the navy were very supportive of the cause and eventually the Royal Australian Navy agreed for it to be kept in our area, however they wanted it to be more visible. This was the beginning of the process of getting this locally significant icon back to Semaphore. In 2014, the Royal Australian Navy and
Le Fevre High School
collaborated on a restoration project for the gun.
We are proud to see this piece of local history reinstalled on Semaphore Foreshore, in a prominent position overlooking the coastline it once protected.