The “Lady Denison” was a wooden hulled brig built in Australia in 1859. As stabilizing ballast she carried four old cannons acquired from the first fleets of ships bringing British settlers to Australia.
During the 1860s the “Lady Denison” traded across the Tasman and was purchased by the Wanganui firm of Taylor and Watt. On the 12th June 1865, while inward bound with a load of flour, she went ashore on South Beach near the mouth of the Whanganui River. In order to refloat her the cannons were removed.
Two of these cannons were placed beside the steps of Mr Watt’s new home, Sandridge Hall. Mr Watt willed the cannons to the City of Wanganui and upon his death they were repositioned at Virginia Lake. In 1979 the cannons showed signs of deteriorating and were removed to Whanganui Regional Museum where they were remounted and placed on their present site at either side of the Veterans’ Steps.
The cannon on the left (western) side is an American SBML 6-pounder made around 1830 by J Clark & Co, Bellona Foundry, Virginia. The other is a carronade type gun without markings.
The cannons are currently in storage awaiting restoration.