27 Mar 2013

Rare gun barrel surfaces in Wellington

10:11 pm on 27 March 2013

Army engineers have almost completed digging up the barrel of a rare so-called disappearing gun on Wellington's Miramar Peninsula.

It was discovered partially exposed above ground last year by Department of Conservation staff working in the Fort Gordon area.

Only 10 of the 8-inch Breech Loading Hydro Pneumatic coastal defence guns were ever made.

They gained their name because they recoiled downwards into a pit after firing, out of view of the enemy.

Defence Force senior adviser of heritage, commemorations and protocol, Matthew Buck, says they had to be careful digging it up.

He says it is on quite a steep slope and weighs 13 tonnes.

Mr Buck says it has been a three-day process but engineers are hoping to complete it on Thursday.

Mr Buck says the guns were installed from the late 1880s to protect Wellington harbour from rival powers, notably Russia.