GROUP of young offenders have brought the RSL’s treasuredwar relic back
to its former glory.
The 25-pounder Howitzer, which has been a familiar sight in front of
the North Ipswich RSL club for many years, was handed over to the
Ipswich RSL Sub Branch at a ceremony at the Brisbane Youth Detention
The 10-week restoration project, dubbed Operation Shelldrake, involved
plenty of grinding, rust removal, polishing and painting under the
supervision of soldiers from 7th Combat Brigade of the Royal Australian
Artillery’s 1st Regiment.
The regiment brought in the Howitzer’s modern day equivalent, the M777,
for the ceremony, which towered over the 25-pounder.
But the Howitzer stood out as an important piece of history, with brass
polished, a shining muzzle and new paint after thorough preservation
work by a group of young offenders at the Wacol centre.
The project also gave the presentation an impressive backdrop with a
mural showing the pride the youths took in the work, painting the words
Respect Anzac, courage, teamwork and initiative.
Project creator East Coast Apprenticeships CEO Alan Sparks said the
project was a great opportunity for young offenders to give something
back to their community.
“It’s been a real joy watching the young people return the 25-pounder
to its former glory and learn some valuable skills in the process,” Mr
“They also discovered some long-forgotten brass features on the gun,
which they have restored.
“It’s hoped that the young people involved may consider a trade or
military career upon their release.”
sub branch president Phil Gilbert accepts the gun from East Coast
Apprenticeships and members of the Royal Australian Artillery’s 1st
Ipswich and Railway RSL sub branch presidents
and Ray Watherston said the project was vital in protecting the war
relic and they would push ahead with plans to locate the gun at
Memorial Gardens, outside Soldiers’ Memorial Hall at Nicholas St.
Ipswich RSL Sub Branch president Phil Gilbert said the 25-pounder would
be a landmark outside the hall and its war museum, but Ipswich City
Council was yet to agree to the location.
During the Second World War the 25-pounder gained legendary status
because of its exploits in the deserts of the North African Campaign
and in the jungles of New Guinea. It remained the artillery’s primary
field weapon until the mid-1960s.
Partners in the restoration project included the Department of Justice
and Attorney-General, RSL Queensland, East Coast Apprenticeships (ECA),
1st Regiment Royal Australian Artillery, TAFE Queensland SkillsTech and
Ipswich City Council.
RSL Queensland State President Stewart Cameron CSC said the project
connected young people to Australia’s service men and women and the
country’s proud military history.
“This is a wonderful hands-on experience which I’m sure will live long
in the memories of these young people,’’ Mr Cameron said.
“It’s particularly significant that its completion comes in the lead up
to ANZAC Day and in the year that marks the centenary of the RSL.”
back in its rightful place at the front of the Ipswich Soldiers