36 Pounder Gun
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.