RSL wins $27K for restora­tion

The Western Star - - Front Page - Jorja McDon­nell jorja.mcdon­[email protected]­ern­starnews.com

A WORLD War I can­non will be brought back to its for­mer glory, in the lat­est pro­ject com­mis­sioned by the Roma RSL sub-branch.

It will be the sec­ond restora­tion the RSL has taken on in re­cent years, and once again it has en­listed the help of lo­cal spe­cial­ists, who are hap­pily lending their tools and skills to help pre­serve a piece of his­tory.

Known as Gun No.92, the can­non even has lo­cal con­nec­tions through for­mer Light Horse­men from the district.

RESTORA­TION work is about to be­gin on a piece of his­tory at the Roma RSL sub-branch.

The club re­ceived a

$27,250 grant from the state gov­ern­ment to bring back a World War I can­non to its for­mer glory, some­thing pres­i­dent Ge­orge Me­hay has wanted for many years.

“There is a lot of work to be done on the can­non; there is metal plat­ing to be put in, a few pieces to be added on the top, and a fair bit to be cleaned up,” Mr Me­hay said.

“In­stead of the steel wheels which are on it now, it will come back to us with wooden wheels, sim­i­lar to what it would have orig­i­nally had, and will be in a much bet­ter con­di­tion.

“We can’t wait to put it on dis­play where peo­ple can ap­pre­ci­ate it.”

The can­non, a 75mm Schutztrup­pe Moun­tain Gun known as Gun No.29, has links to the town through mem­bers of the Light Horse.

It was gifted to the Roma Town Coun­cil in 1920 as a war tro­phy to thank them for the hun­dreds of peo­ple from the district who served.

“The can­non was taken in Septem­ber 1918 by the 5th Aus­tralian Light Horse Reg­i­ment at Amman, Jor­dan,” Mr Me­hay said.

Restora­tion work will be done by lo­cal busi­nesses, led by Roma steel fab­ri­ca­tor Lau­rie Shea­han.

“These kinds of restora­tions only come through my work­shop once in a blue moon, and we en­joy do­ing them,” Mr Shea­han said.

“The first one we did for the RSL was a lit­tle 76mm mor­tar from World War I and it was a bit of a chal­lenge but every­one was proud of the end re­sult.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting a start on this one be­cause I think it will turn out just as well.”

The RSL sub-branch is one of nine groups to re­ceive a Queens­land Vet­er­ans’ Memo­rial Grant, awarded this week by Pre­mier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“Our memo­ri­als play an in­te­gral role in hon­our­ing the ded­i­ca­tion, con­tri­bu­tion and sac­ri­fice of our ser­vice­men and women and are an im­por­tant part of our com­mu­ni­ties,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“It is won­der­ful to see this fund­ing go­ing to some wor­thy ini­tia­tives.”

PHOTO: JORJA MCDON­NELL

PRE­SERV­ING HIS­TORY: Roma RSL sub-branch pres­i­dent Ge­orge Me­hay and Lau­rie Shea­han, who will re­store the club can­non.

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