Lake Macquarie City Council restoring Minenwerfer German trench mortar from Speers Point Park

LAKE Macquarie City Council has removed a rare piece of military history from Speers Point Park to have it restored.

The 25cm Minenwerfer German trench mortar has stood sentinel in Speers Point Park since 1926.

But it is now in Sydney undergoing specialist care.

Council said the restoration was part of a council project to revamp war monuments and memorials in Lake Macquarie.

Australian troops captured the fearsome trench mortar weapon in August 1918, during the decisive Battle of Amiens, in France.

Council’s integrated planning manager Wes Hain said the mortar was shipped to Australia two years later as a war trophy.

It has since deteriorated significantly after more than nine decades of exposure to the elements.

“Relatively few of these giant mortars were deployed to the battlefield and a far smaller number still survive today,” Mr Hain said.

“With Remembrance Day on Sunday, it is timely to recognise the importance of preserving and respecting war monuments and memorials across our city.”

Relatively few of these giant mortars were deployed to the battlefield and a far smaller number still survive today.

- Wes Hain

Crews used a crane last month to remove the mortar from its plinth in the park and place it on a truck for transport to Sydney.

Mr Hain said the restoration was expected to be complete by early December.

The revamp would include a new support system for the mortar to reinforce its badly corroded base, removal of rust from the gun and other parts, and treatment of the entire piece with a protective coating.

Restoration work is also under way on war memorials at West Wallsend and Killingworth, he said.

West Wallsend’s Soldiers Memorial, at the corner of Carrington and Hyde streets, is a traditional sandstone obelisk, with marble plaques commemorating locals who fought and died in World War I.

The Killingworth memorial is an unusual example of a World War I monument because it has a globe sitting atop a cylindrical marble pillar.

Council and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs have jointly funded all three restorations.

More than 10 per cent of the 1000-plus World War I servicemen linked to Lake Macquarie never made it home. The youngest was aged just 18, while the oldest casualty was aged 47.

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