Historical information

The history of the Thunderchild gun is not known. It was presumably manufactured in Torquay in the second half of the 19th century. Such guns were often attached to a ship’s rail through the holes in the swivel base, as in the base of this gun. The guns fired grapeshot and were originally used on ships to repel boarders. They were also used to launch whaling harpoons and were sometimes employed for signalling. The relatively late date makes the latter application most likely.

This Thunderchild gun is complete with ramrod and wad remover. It is in good working order and easily assembled. It is used locally for special ceremonies and for Whaleboat Races as a starting gun.

(Guns and Cannon, South Wester Victoria, May 2008, ref W/F/03)


The small bore cannon is part of a collection of nineteenth century Flagstaff Hill Guns and Cannon, which is classified as being a high level of significance, on State, National and World

The nineteenth century artillery pieces are a very rare and representative collection of artillery of this era. The artillery pieces, individually and as a collection, are highly significant for historical, scientific and aesthetic reasons at the state, national and world levels.

The artillery pieces are excellent examples of nineteenth century artillery designed for the shore defence of western Victoria in the mid to late 1800s. The collection demonstrates the system of nineteenth century Imperial Defence implemented by Britain and of the recycling of obsolete technology to the colonies by Britain.

The collection represents the methods of artillery technology, its advancement and its modifications in order to remain active. It also illustrates the transference of defence technology from Britain to Australia and demonstrates the level of reliance Australia had on British defence equipment. The artillery pieces form prominent elements in their landscapes and, together with the batteries and sites in which they are located, create a strong visual link to the region’s defence history. Importantly the artillery pieces, individually and as a collection, represent a very rare and intact group of nineteenth century artillery. Very few examples of nineteenth century artillery have survived worldwide, the largest collections being sited in Canada.

The collection is a rare collection of artillery which demonstrates the advancements made in artillery technology during the nineteenth century, and is one of the largest collections of nineteenth century artillery in Australia. Further, the collection is extremely intact, with most pieces retaining original carriages and many located within their original emplacement.

This collection of artillery, with their carriages and in their locations, are of exceptional national significance as they represent the largest intact collection of artillery within a single defensive network, outside of major colonial ports.

The collection of nineteenth century carriages and slides are in themselves an extremely rare and important collection, however their significance is enhanced by their placements within batteries and with guns.

(Conservation Management Plan for Victorian Guns and Cannon, South Western Victoria, May 2008)

Physical description

Cannon; small 1pdr cast iron, smooth bore muzzle loading swivel gun, painted glass black. 19th century cannon has polished wood handle, two detachable metal stirrups and metal swivel base with cuff, attached to block of wood by four bolts. Accessories are a wood tamper and wood ramrod. Name on gun is Thunder-Child, Torquay, Vic. There are Maker’s Marks on the gun and base, and a number on the cannon..

Inscriptions & markings

Marks; Barrel "Thunder/ Child". Base cuff " THUNDER / -CHILD / TORQUAY / VIC ", Trunnion "2825/H"