One last blast of group's top gun

RECOVERED from the dark recesses of a Brisbane storage shed and lovingly restored by the TS Bundaberg cadets, their 1901 naval field piece cannon will be fired tonight for the last time.

TS Bundaberg executive officer Reg Rayner said the Australian Defence Force Academy wanted to “borrow” the cherished piece, meaning the cadets would likely lose their cannon forever.

“It will be the last time the cannon is fired in Bundaberg,” he said.

Lieutenant Raynor said the cadets had found the cannon in a poor state of repair three years ago and spent a few months painstakingly restoring it.

He said they were disappointed it would soon be gone.

“At one point I wanted to pour concrete down the barrel,” Lt Rayner said.

“It was a labour of love - you couldn't put a dollar value on it. “But that's life, and life isn't fair.”

The cannon was adapted using safe operating procedures, and theatrically fires, but still gives off an impressive six-foot flame.

TS Bundaberg cadet Travis Hinton has been a member for the past five or six years, and echoed Lt Raynor's lament.

“It's a pretty big loss. We restored it, we loved it,” he said.

“It's a great showpiece.”

Lt Raynor said the unit got permission to take custody of the cannon from a cadet unit in Brisbane.

“It belonged to the Australian Navy Cadet system, and was lying idle and not being utilised,” he said.

“But we've used it to our best advantage, we've done what we could.

“We hope it'll still be looked after, not stuck in a corner like we found it.”

As the sun sets over Anzac Park (next to the RSL in Quay Street) at 6pm, the TS Bundaberg cadets will fire their cannon for the last time at the traditional Ceremonial Sunset service.

The service will see ex-members of HMAS Hobart in attendance and, being part of the Crush Festival, everyone is welcome.

The TS Bundaberg unit is also currently recruiting. For more information, telephone 4159 4352.

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