Large turnout for Longshot event at Ranelagh Club

Over 120 people attended a successful Project Longshot information afternoon at the Ranelagh Club, in Mt Eliza on Saturday,

Project Longshot is the mission the find the first Allied shot of the Great War: a 40 kilogram steel shell that Australian forces fired at the German cargo ship SS Pfalz from Fort Nepean on August 5th, 1914

The two-hour presentation introduced the First Shot story to Ranelagh Club members and guests from across the community.

Ranelagh Club president Lawrence Henderson opened the day with an emotional tribute to the Ranelagh Club’s longest-serving member and Kokoda veteran, Lionel Smith, before former Victorian Premier and Chair of the Victorian Anzac Day Committee, Mr Ted Baillieu spoke about his passion for Melbourne, its history and the global significance of the first shot.

Major Bernie Gaynor, Chair of the First Shot Committee eloquently recounted the events of August 5th, 1914 and entertained the audience with his enthusiasm and  knowledge of  the first Allied shot of the Great War.

He described the ill-fated life of the  SS Pfalz. After Australian forces seized the ship, the Pfalz became the HMAT boorara and served as an Australian troop-carrier in the Dardanelles and the North Sea. She was twice torpedoed and ended her life as a shipwreck off the Vancouver coast.

Margaret Robinson, grand-niece of Montgomery Robinson, the Australian pilot who allegedly scuffled with German captain Kuhiken for control of the Pfalz, shared some papers and cartoons of her famous relative with audience members.

Ken Penaluna, Grandson of gunner Edward Quirke, also attended with memorabilia.

Mount Eliza Secondary College students Harry Maxwell and Josh Daly built an information display for the event, centrepiece of which was a beautiful replica shell that Josh Daly and his grandfather made during the recent school holidays.

Project Longshot Team Leader Mark Ryan outlined a timeline for the mission and spoke about the technical difficulties of searching for a small object in such a vast area and the equipment they will need to find a six-inch shell under a metre of sand. Mr Ryan is founder of Souther Ocean Exploration, Australia’s moct successful shipwreck discovery team.

Filmamker Terry Cantwell spoke about the importance of local stories and closed the day with a call for community involvement in Project Longshot.

On August 5th, 2014 a special commemorative event will be held at Point Nepean fort, which is open to all Australians.

Visit

Project Longshot

The First Shot Event at Point Nepean

The Ranelagh Club

 

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Upcoming First Shot Event. August 5th, 2014

Whitewater is proud to be associated with the First Shot Commemorative event.

The First Shot Committee is hosting a commemorative event at Point Nepean on August 5th, 2014, which will acknowledge the centenary of the beginning of WW1 with a reenactment of the First Shot from a Howitzer canon at the fort.

This is a major public event which will begin four years of World War 1 commemorations in Australia.

Please visit the First Shot website if you would like to register your interest in attending.

gun crew

The Point Nepean duty when the shot was fired.

From the First Shot Website:

Between 2014 and 2018, Australia will commemorate the ANZAC Centenary, marking 100 years since our nation’s involvement in World War 1. The first shot in the the British Empire was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement No.6 at Fort Nepean, Portsea, Victoria on 5 August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared in London.

The shot was fired in order to prevent the German merchant vessel SS Pfalz from escaping Port Phillip to the open seas. The shot was successful – the Pfalz surrendered.

To acknowledge the significance of this historic occasion, a special commemoration open to all Australians is to be conducted at the Parade Ground at the former Officer Cadet School within the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean National Park.

This event will be the very first of many commemorations to be held all around the world in those countries that comprised the former British Empire. The anniversary will coincide with the opening of conservation and visitor access improvements at Fort Nepean that will enhance the telling of Point Nepean’s war time heritage stories.

 

Youth landcare project

This is an inspirational little story about Tony O’Connor’s attempts to restore Balcombe Creek in Mount Martha back to a landscape where native vegetation and wildlife can flourish.

SInce last year Tony has been overseeing an energetic community land-care effort with the help of young people from schools around the Mornington Peninsula.

This video was shot and edited by students from Mount Eliza Secondary College’s Real Time Learning program with some help from Whitewater.

This is a wonderful example of how young people, given the opportunity to be involved in their community, won’t disappoint.

Good on them and good on Tony

(There are a few Youtube conversion problems with this vid, so best to play in HD)