September 27, 2014
A “cold war” between Murgon and Kingaroy over the location of a World War II 25 pounder artillery piece came to a head on Friday with the gun heading on back up the Bunya Highway to Murgon.
Murgon RSL sub-branch president Jim Kingston and other RSL members have been pressing for the return of the gun to Murgon for years, following its relocation to the Burnett War Museum in Kingaroy.
The opportunity to reclaim the artillery piece – which Jim says was never relinquished by the Murgon Sub-Branch – came with the announcement by Burnett War Museum president Russell Cook last month that museum displays had been handed over to Heritage House in Yarraman.
Local councillor Kathy Duff, also eager for the gun to return to Murgon, contacted a representative from Heritage House who confirmed they did not wish to have the gun.
So on Friday, it was lifted from its concrete stand outside the old Motor Pool building at the Kingaroy Airport to begin its journey back to Murgon.
It was delivered to Bryan Zelinksi Engineering who will now sandblast the war relic and repaint it before it is repositioned outside the Murgon RSL Club on a lawn area near the National Servicemen’s memorial.
Jim said the gun, which is dated 1943, was originally sourced from Brisbane years ago by Harold Seng and situated in front of the club.
However when the club was extended, it was relocated to Lions Park near the Murgon Golf Course.
“It was a good place to have it. The public could still enjoy it there…” Jim said.
This is where the story gets murky.
Jim is adamant the sub-branch never gave up ownership of the gun. However, when Council wanted the tyres replaced for safety reasons, it contacted the Lions Club.
But what happened next stunned the Murgon RSL members.
“A big truck turned up early one morning and picked it up, and it turned up here,” Jim said in Kingaroy on Friday afternoon.
The controversial move hit the headlines, but despite the war of words, the gun stayed put in Kingaroy … until Friday.
- Related article: War Displays Move To Yarraman