The HMAS Protector Naval Gun


The Department of Navy presented a late 19th Century four inch Naval gun from the HMAS Protector to the City of Elizabeth (South Australia) in 1962.

At this time the Navy, in conjunction with the RSL, were distributing wartime memorabilia to communities around Australia, for safe keeping.

HMAS Protector Naval gun, Windsor Green near old John Martins, Elizabeth South Australia 5112

HMAS Protector Naval gun, Windsor Green near old John Martins, Elizabeth South Australia 5112

HISTORY of HMAS Protector: The gunboat Protector was ordered in 1883 and built at a cost of £65,000 for the South Australian Government following a decision to establish a naval force for the protection of the colony’s coasts and harbours. For her size she was an exceptionally heavily armed vessel, boasting a main armament of 1 x 8-inch and 5 x 6-inch breech loading guns.

Protector was launched in 1884 at the Elswick yard of Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. Ltd, of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. She commissioned on 19 June 1884 under the command of Commander John C.P. Walcott, RN before undertaking passage to Australia via the Suez Canal. She arrived at Port Adelaide, flying the Blue Ensign, on 30 September 1884. At the time of her arrival the South Australian newspaper, The Register, reported:

The Protector has a naval look about her, but tapers away rather duck fashion astern, and has a somewhat singular appearance with her immensely long broadside guns projecting many feet beyond the ports. They are so long that if they were run in (which they are not arranged to do) they would extend nearly, if not all, the width of the deck.

Protector with her bilge keel and distinctive forecastle visible on the builder's slipway, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Protector with her bilge keel and distinctive forecastle visible on the builder’s slipway, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

 

Protector as she appeared just prior to deploying for China. In this image she still fly's a blue ensign.

Protector as she appeared just prior to deploying for China. In this image she still fly’s a blue ensign.

 

References J. Bastock, Australia’s Ships of War, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1975).; R. Gillett, Australian & New Zealand warships, 1914-1945, (Lane Cove: Doubleday, 1983).; A.W. Jose, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, Volume IX, The Royal Australian Navy, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1937).; J.H. Straczek, The Royal Australian Navy: ships, aircraft and shore establishments, (Sydney: Navy Public Affairs, 1996).
Category Unit
Related place Herbertshohe
Related conflicts First World War, 1914-1918
Related events Operations against German Pacific territories
Commanding officers
Decorations Nil
Subjects SMS Emden (1908)
Alternative names
  • HMAS Cerberus
  • HMAS Protector
  • HMAS Protector (1884-1924)
Unit hierarchy
Pendant Number Nil
Specifications Class: gunboat; Launched: 27 December 1883; Commissioned: 19 June 1884; Complement: 90; Length: 188 feet [57.3m]; Beam: 30 feet [9.14m]; Draught: 12 feet 6 inches [3.81m]; Displacement: 960 tons; Speed: 14 knots; Armament: 3 x 4-inch guns; 2 x 12-pounder guns; 4 x 3-pounder guns; Armour: not applicable
In July 1943 she was requisitioned for war service with the United States Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA). She was subsequently damaged in a collision with a tug off Gladstone, while under tow en route to New Guinea, and abandoned. What remains of the old gunboat is now serving a useful purpose as a breakwater on Heron Reef, Queensland.
The remains of the once proud Protector aground on Heron Island, Queensland.

The remains of the once proud Protector aground on Heron Island, Queensland.

The Hon Sir Thomas Playford GCMC, Premier of South Australia unveiled the HMAS Protector Naval gun and commemoration plaque at Elizabeth (Windsor Green) in 1962.

For many years the gun stood in Windsor Green (now part of the car-park for Elizabeth shopping centre) before it found its new home at the Elizabeth Navy Club, in Chivell St, Elizabeth South (South Australia).

Naval gun, Windsor Green near old John Martins, Elizabeth South Australia 5112.

Naval gun, Windsor Green near old John Martins, Elizabeth South Australia 5112.

 

The HMAS Protector Naval Gun’s new home at the Elizabeth Navy Club in Chivell St, Elizabeth South.

The HMAS Protector Naval Gun’s new home at the Elizabeth Navy Club in Chivell St, Elizabeth South.

 

The Gun is a mounting that was removed from the HMAS PROTECTOR, relocated outside Elizabeth Navy Club in commemoration of the Naval history of South Australia.

The Gun is a mounting that was removed from the HMAS PROTECTOR, relocated outside Elizabeth Navy Club in commemoration of the Naval history of South Australia.

View HMAS Protector Naval Gun current location on Google Maps

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