The Gun from Her Majesty’s Colonial Ship (HMCS) Protector stood in this site on the Semaphore Foreshore for 85 years from 1913 when it was gifted to the Port Adelaide Town
Council, until 1998 when she was moved to an alternate locate in Birkenhead. She was reinstated into her original position in 2018 after a refurbishment project, which was a collaboration of the Royal Australian Navy and Lefevre High School.
The HMCS Protector was commissioned in 1882 by the South Australian Government and to this day, she has been our state’s only war ship.
Built in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, The Protector cost £65,000 to build. 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.
Her official emblem was that of the 1837 Great Seal of South Australia, depicting Britannia arriving from over the ocean and extending the hand of friendship to an Aboriginal seated on the shore.
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 CP Walcott, RN before undertaking passage to Australia via the Suez Canal. She arrived at Semaphore, flying the Blue Ensign, on 30 September 1884.
In June 1924 she paid off for disposal and was sold to Mr J Hill of Melbourne for £677.10.0d
In 1943 she was damaged in a collision and the ship was sunk near Heron Island off the Queensland coast for use as a breakwater where her rusted iron hull is clearly visible.