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Fort Lytton Historical Association

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THE BEGINNING OF A TOURIST ATTRACTION
AND THE CONSTRUCTION, AS NEAR AS POSSIBLE,
OF FOUR OF THE ORIGINAL GUNS OF FORT LYTTON, FROM 1886 TO 1943

When World War II ended in August 1945 the old Fort Lytton became redundant and was abandoned and emptied of all equipment, except fortunately two RML 64lb 6" Barbette Mounted Guns, of 1878 vintage, and four original barrels, of 1886 vintage, of the 6" RBL Disappearing Guns. The 64 pounders were stored in Brisbane and the four barrels left lying in the Fort area, two of which were at some time removed, one to Ampol Refinery, where it is now mounted in concrete at the Main Entrance, and the other to 11 Field Regiment at Dudley Street, Annerley, which is also now redundant and part of history.

After the cessation of hostilities in 1945, the old Fort was left to the wind, rain, sun and occasional grass fires, which eventually destroyed a lot of the wooden construction within the Fortress area. In 1956 Ampol purchased most of the site to build a refinery and tidied the place up. The original bridge into the Fort had been burned down, plus the buildings inside. Eventually part of the moat in front was filled in to get inside the Fort to clean it out of rank undergrowth etc. and a causeway was built and it became a sort of picnic area.

In 1988 the word went out that Ampol was to give the Fort area back to the Government as an Historic Tourist Attraction. Very quietly, on a particularly wet Saturday afternoon the same year, there was a gathering of near doddering, old ex-service WWII gunners and much younger National Parks and Wildlife personnel and a few current Army personnel. The idea being to form a Tourist Attraction, volunteer guiding groups handled by the veteran gunners, and eventually the possibility of future refurbishment of the gun emplacements.

The old Quarantine Station Laundry was given on a loan basis, with an old refrigerator and furnished with tables and chairs by National Parks and Wildlife to be used as a Canteen and part Museum. The Museum in the Fort area was restored by the Department of Works and stocked with memorabilia. Two of the guns inside being part of the original Fort armament, one 9lb RML horse drawn field gun and a four barrelled Nordenfeldt garrison and naval gun, a so-called machine gun which was actuated manually and very effectively.

One of the two 6" barrels mounted at the entrance is the barrel that was at 11 Field Regiment for a number of years and the other barrel is off No. 2 Disappearing Gun. The Fort is now managed by National Parks, who are ably assisted by survivors of the original group of gunners who up till the time of writing still carry on voluntarily as Guides to the public. It is worth mentioning that the original group who started in 1988 were a mixture of gunners, NCOs and officers, all returned servicemen from WW II who pitched in to get things going, notably led by Ray Cook, and went from nothing to the present state at the time of writing. At the beginning, the original optimistic group consisted of Ray Cook, Bert Lonie, George Ludinski, John and Ian McKenna, Fred Shelberg, Howard Williams, Bernie "Max" Beare, Harold Campbell, Dan Hunter, Alan Brooke, Eric Bingham, Col Fraser, Dick Phillips, Frank Davis and Jim Meehan, the only Signalman with the artillery. Over the years the older men fell by the wayside and their places have been taken by others, Jim Cross, Don Morrison, Tom Trevannion, Frank Heywood, Harry Lynas, Morrie Maguire, John Allen, Frank Pellat, and Ray Jell (for a period of nine months).

In 1992 permission was granted to go ahead with the construction of the Disappearing Gun in No 1 Gun Pit, which was completed in five stages as money became available and was finally finished in time for Easter Camp 1996. The only original part being the barrel. Soon after work began on a 6 Pounder QF Hotchkiss in No. 3 Pit, which was completed by Xmas of the same year. There were no original parts used in the construction of this gun. Later again in 1997 more patterns were made by Ray Cook and Dick Phillips and once again with the tremendous assistance of Bryan Davidson, a consummate welder from National Parks, a replica of a QF 4.7" Naval Gun, vintage 1898, was slowly constructed and mounted in No. 4 Gun Pit in the Fort. There were no original parts used in the construction of this gun.

After a brief respite and a lot of thought, as a tremendous amount of time and money had been put into these three pieces of armament and though the wish was there, it was decided that though the minds were willing, the bodies were much weaker, age was taking its toll, and it was decided to finish on that note, that for men approaching eighty it was felt that they had done enough. BUT, charged with confidence and the fact that the Fort would be complete only if the last gun was built, it was decided by these three men that they would go ahead and do the job with the assistance of others. So consequently a twin barrelled QF 6 pounder gun was built for No 5 Gun Pit from nothing and, when finished, you will now be able to see if along with the other three inside the Fort. They are a monument to those old ex-servicement who thought enough of the future generation to show what used to be there at Fort Lytton from 1882 (when it was completed) to August 1945, when the war ended, and there was no further use for this sort of fortification in case Brisbane and Ipswich were attacked from the sea. Everything had become old hat, so to speak, and but for the foresight of Ampol, the Government, National Parks and Wildlife, and a small band of dedicated men there would have been naught to show for it.

In 1992 Ray Cook was honoured with the Order of Australia Medal for his untiring efforts and his dream of seeing the Fort brought up to its present standard, much to the pleasure of his mates. In 2000 this same honour was accorded to Dick Phillips. Special mention must be make of Col Fraser, Dan Hunter, Bert Lonie, George Ludinski, John McKenna and Harold Campbell for their unbroken continuous attendance from the instigation of the Fort Lytton Guides to the time of writing. Without the tremendous efforts also of George Ludinksi and a much younger Harry Lynas this history and the publication of it would never have been accomplished.

Dick Phillips & Harry Lynas 1998
(Updated 2001)

 


FORT LYTTON HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION INC.

RULES

NAME

1. The name of the incorporated association shall be Fort Lytton Historical Association Incorporated (in these rules called "the Association").

OBJECTS

2. The objects for which the Association is established are:

(1) To foster research and record History of Fort Lytton and associated Defence Forces.

(2) To provide members who have been suitably briefed on the history of Fort Lytton and its Ordnance.

(3) To provide the members with suitable literature and aids, to enable them to properly carry out their duties.

(4) To maintain liaison with the Department of Environment, Fort Lytton Office, with respect to the number of members required for tours arranged by that Office, or day to day visitors.

POWERS

3. The powers of the Association are:

(1) To subscribe to become a member of and cooperate with any other association, whether incorporated or not, whose objects are altogether or in part similar to those of the Association, provided that the Association shall not subscribe to, or support with its funds, any club, association or organisation which does not prohibit the distribution of its income and property amongst its members to an extent at least as great as that imposed on the Association.

(2) In furtherance of the objects of the Association to buy, sell and deal in all kinds of articles, commodities and provisions, both liquid and solid, for the members of the Association or persons frequenting the Association's premises.

(3) To purchase, take on lease or in exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any lands, buildings, easements or property, real and personal, and any rights or privileges which may be requisite for the purposes of or capable of being conveniently used in connection with any of the objects of the Association. Provided that in case the Association shall take or hold any property which may be subject to any trusts the Association shall only deal with the same in such manner as is allowed by law having regard to such trusts.

(4) To enter into any arrangements with any Government or authority that are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects and the exercise of the powers of the Association, and in particular, but not to limit the generality of the foregoing to cooperate with the Department of Environment, in Queensland.

 

 
 

 

Site last updated 16 March 2013

This site is dedicated to those soldiers who trained at Lytton and gave their lives for our freedom .

  2007 Fort Lytton Historical Association
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