36 Pounder Gun

36 Pounder Gun, City Park, Launceston

Public Art: 36 Pounder Gun (also known simply as a Russian cannon)


Date Unveiled: Unknown

Location: The cannon is located in Launceston's City Park in Tasmania.


This 36 Pounder Gun was captured from the Russians at Sebastopol during the Crimean War 1854-56 and was presented to the town of Launceston by the Home Government, as a result of the charitable efforts of the people of Launceston in raising funds for the patriotic fund. The gun was cast in the Emperor Alexander Factory in the year 1840. Bore 7 1/4 inches.
Documented by the artillery Historical Trust of Tasmania to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the Launceston Volunteer Artillery, 1860-1900.

Background to the 36 pounder guns: The Alexander Factory was established in Petrozavodsk, Russia, in 1756. The 36 pounder guns were used on Russian Navy fighting ships.

During the defence of Sebastopol (1854 -1855) in the Crimean War, the Russians scuttled 8 major warships to protect the harbour. The cannons from these ships were removed and place around Sebastopol in an attempt to fend off the British and the French forces. After a series of battles the foreign forces defeated the Russians.

Following the fall of Sebastopol over 4,000 pieces of artillery were seized. Later it was decided that the most important cities of the British Empire would receive a pair of cannons in celebration of the end of the war. Those cities included  Auckland, Dublin, Gilbraltar, Quebec and Melbourne.

In 1858 Australia received four pairs of Russian cannons. The Melbourne 36 pound cannons take pride of place outside the entrance to the Victoria Barracks. Another pair are in Centennial Park in Sydney. Adelaide's Torrens Parade Ground have a pair. Tasmania is the only state to split their pair, one cannon resides at Anglesea Barracks in Hobart and the other, as you now know, is in Launceston's City Park.


Several of the captured Russian cannons were melted down and recast into Victoria Cross medals. Queen Victoria handed out the first of them in Hyde Park on 26th of June, 1857.

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