Celia Joyce and Laurie Stewart hold the Armstrong
disappearing gun's Institution of Mechanical Engineers'
Engineering Heritage Award, while Ken Tushingham (back
left) and Ross Smith look on. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
It served in Dunedin's coastal defence for more than 30
years, fired 488 rounds and, yesterday, the Armstrong
disappearing gun at Taiaroa Head was formally awarded the 91st
Engineering Heritage Award.
The award recognised ''the efforts of the locals here [in
Dunedin] in protecting the gun in its original environment'',
Institution of Mechanical Engineers Oceania region chairman
Ken Tushingham said, while presenting the award yesterday.
About 80 people were at the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa
Head to watch the presentation.
Mr Tushingham said the gun was an impressive feat of
mechanical engineering as ''although this gun was never used
in anger, the real advantage was it going below ground to
protect the crew, as well as the gun'' when it needed
The gun was installed in 1889 to protect Dunedin, then New
Zealand's largest city, against the threat of a Russian naval
attack, following escalating tensions between the British
Empire and Russia.
After firing, the gun would use the force of the recoil to
rotate backwards into a protected pit, where it would be
reloaded and aimed.
The award was presented to the Otago Peninsula Trust, the New
Zealand Antique and Historical Arms Association Otago branch
and the Fort Taiaroa Education and Resource Group, which were
instrumental in retaining the gun in its original location,
its maintenance and providing public access.
Otago Peninsula Trust chairman Ross Smith said it was a
''very prestigious award for the Otago Peninsula Trust and
the community of Dunedin''.