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Boer War Rifles

Many in the town will be aware of the saga surrounding the rifles that were recovered from a auction house in Wellington after the Thames Museum made a decision to dispose of them four years ago. There was of course a huge kafuffle in the town between those whose believed them to be a part of the town's heritage, and those who could not give a hoot.

In then end, and following substantial intervention by Mayor Barriball at the time, the rifles were recovered, and initially spent time in the Brian Boru in an approved cabinet on the wall of the reception area. The owners of the BB then asked for them to be removed (the positioning was not particularly satisfactory) and they have been held in temporary premises since while their long-term destination was debated. The Police have had an input, and vetoed the use of the Civic Centre for security reasons. And then the Museum people debated their return to their premises, with apparently no particular outcome.

The upshot of all this is that John Isdale and the School of Mines have kindly agreed to their temporary placement (under secure arrangements) in their premises. Heaven knows how long it will take to establish a permanent home - the Museum may be prevailed on to come to the party, but it does seem rather ironic after their removal form there in the first place. Of course, changes of personnel can have an effect on the outcome in these cases, but it remains an enigma.

There is no doubt in my mind as to the value of the rifle collection, and the need to have them secure in this town. As an aside, their history inspired an amazing piece of research by Mike Dwight into the life of Walter Callaway of Coromandel.




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Reader Comments (1)

An update.
The set of 15 rifles will now be securely housed at the Coromandel Heritage Trust archive "The Treasury." I understand that the display will be appropriately interpreted and that Mike Dwight is going to provide some resources to allow the weapons display to be used as part of an educational programme for schools. This would appear to be a good result with (hopefully) some sort of revenue stream for the Treasury and a permanent and secure home for an important set of SAT (South African Trophy) weapons.

August 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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