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"Swivel Guns on the Colonial Australian Frontier" Topic

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Henry Martini04 Mar 2019 4:50 p.m. PST

In past TMP posts I've mentioned that some frontier stations included naval swivel guns amongst their defensive measures. I've been corresponding with Ray Kerkhove, author of the paper 'A Different Mode of War'. He's emailed me a table of 108 textual references to defensive architecture and associated features he and a fellow academic have found in the literature. One of those references is the most detailed description I've yet seen of a station swivel gun (Whiteside station, Pine Rivers District, Moreton Bay region), and is therefore worth repeating here:

'He had brought up a swivel gun and mounted it on a stump in front of the house…Another caller at the homestead… being interested, took more details… The swivel gun which was mounted on a stump outside the corner of the house, could be taken at short notice and mounted on a post at the opposite corner, and thus the area was pretty well covered. The swivel gun had a two-inch bore and was converted from flintlock to percussion cap firing… the gun (had) a range of 60 to 70 yards. The projectile charge was a double handful of marble sized water worn stones collected from the river. A bucket full of these was kept ready at hand nearby… (firing) just outside the effective range of their spears.

Note that the local tribes didn't use the woomera (spear thrower), hence the short range of their spears.

FoxtrotPapaRomeo04 Mar 2019 6:14 p.m. PST


I used to live at Redcliffe (I still have family in that area) and I find your posts very informative. Now I know where Whiteside Station was PDF link and that the locality of Griffin has nothing to do with Harry Potter's Griffindore. There are articles on the station and the conflict. Just wait until I tell my family (or, bore them silly) about thisn.

* Ray Kerkhove has some of his works available as PDFs on the web.

* This blog has some history and some wargaming of the period link (Is this one yours?)

* This site lists frontier conflict in Queensland link

Have a Great Day! FPR

Henry Martini04 Mar 2019 7:15 p.m. PST

The Whiteside link came up 'page not found', FPR.

The blog isn't mine, although I have read all the relevant pages, and even commented occasionally.

That painting on the Queensland Frontier Conflict site, 'Bulla', by one of the participants, depicts the Burke and Wills expedition's supply party fighting off an attack.

And you! HM

FoxtrotPapaRomeo04 Mar 2019 8:01 p.m. PST


The correct link was link I will try and post a survey map from the time but you get a good idea from the descripton "28 square miles of land on the north bank of the North Pine River stretching from the seacoast (Hay's inlet I presume) as far west as Terror's Creek (just before Dayboro) and northwards nearly as far as the Caboolture River".

Henry Martini04 Mar 2019 9:56 p.m. PST

The family history certainly suggests that obtaining a swivel gun would have been relatively easy.

Henry Martini07 Mar 2020 12:44 a.m. PST

This station gets a mention in the book I've just obtained and reviewed here on the 19th Century Media board, 'The Battle of One Tree Hill'.

For anyone who might be interested, googling 'Whiteside Station' brings up an interesting paper by frontier conflict historian Libby Connor, and googling the same with 'swivel gun' added gets you a detailed history of the place and some more information about the swivel gun.

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