Salute marks 150th Gunners anniversary

The Gunners' role is inflict casualties, destroy fortifications and eliminate enemy resistance.
The Gunners' role is inflict casualties, destroy fortifications and eliminate enemy resistance.

A synchronised gun salute fired from locations across the states and territories has marked the 150th anniversary of the Royal Australian Artillery's service to the nation.

While events in Sydney, Melbourne and southeast Queensland were cancelled or postponed due to COVID lockdowns, 75 rounds were discharged at a series of military sites around the country at lunchtime on Sunday.

"There will be many proud family members and friends today as we recognise the contribution of our Artillery members and enjoy the services taking place ... in recognition of this significant anniversary," Minister for Veterans' Affairs Andrew Gee said in a statement.

Queen Elizabeth granted the Royal Australian Artillery the title of Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery in 1962, with all Australian gunners considered members.

It traces its origins to a small earthen redoubt built near present-day Macquarie Place to guard approaches to Sydney Cove after Australia's first guns were landed from HMS Sirius.

The regiment's role is to maximise the combat power of the Australian Defence Forces by providing support co-ordination and indirect firepower, surveillance and ground-based air defence.

In combat, regiment members fire long range weapons designed to inflict casualties, destroy equipment and fortifications, and help infantry and armour personnel eliminate enemy resistance.

"Since before the federation of Australia, the story of the Australian Artillery originates on 1 August 1871, when the NSW colonial government funded and raised its first permanent battery, Mr Gee said.

A series of commemorative events between August and December would highlight the ongoing service of the RAA and its various Australian Artillery forebears, Defence Minister Peter Mr Dutton added.

"Now is a fitting time to reflect on the establishment of an enduring Australian artillery capability: the batteries, the equipment and most importantly, the gunners who have served and protected Australia and its national interests for 150 years," he said.

"As we reflect, we must also look to the future of the RAA, an arm that continues to adapt and brings together many of the Australian Army's multi-domain effects ... into a unified and potent outcome."

Sunday's main event took place at Mt Pleasant in Canberra overlooking the Australian Defence Force Academy.

The salute there was to be followed by a Last Post ceremony for the public at the Australian War Memorial.

Residents in areas close to planned activities were assured the gunfire involved posed no threat or danger.

Australian Associated Press