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Water Police Cannon

This cannon presently stands outside the front of the Brisbane Water Police station at Whyte Island, still in its cradle, and still capable of the odd angry shot.

The cannon came from the British migrant sailing ship ‘Young Australia’ which was shipwrecked on North Point, on the tip of Cape Moreton in April 1872, as the vessel was attempting to round the island to enter Moreton Bay. Incredibly, all on board, including the cargo, and one small cannon was rescued

The cannon was given to the water police and stood outside their old offices, near the Port Office at the river end of Edward Street, Brisbane. In the 1880’s during the scare of the Russian invasion, it was mounted on the heavy artillery patrol boat ‘Otter’. With the Russian scare over, the cannon was placed in the grounds of Newstead Park, on the foreshore of the Brisbane River. The massive floods of 1893 washed the cannon into the river.

The cannon was found years later by a bucket dredge working the river and in 1905 was presented to the Marine Board. Once identified as the old cannon originally taken from the water police in the 1880’s, it was returned to the old Water Police Station under the Storey Bridge, where it stood, overlooking Petrie Bight. Once more it went under water in the floods of 1974.

It was spotted some years later by the passing crew of. H.M.A.S. Moreton. They offered to help the water police restore the cannon to its former glory. It was completely stripped down, even to removing two cannon balls jammed in the muzzle, rebuilt, and returned to Brisbane Water Police on 20th November 1984, by Warrant Officer Mike Grischeff, on behalf of the Navy’s restoration team.

The cannon was relocated to Whyte Island on the 9th October 1998.


Courtesy Brisbane Water Police

© 2009 Copyright John Rice
Last Modified June 2009