History of the muzzle loading cannon on the Tygerberg Hills nature reserve
The original 12 pounder Dutch signal cannon was moved in 1994 to the entrance of the Parow Municipal Building.
In 1996 Vice Admiral Simpson – Anderson organised the donation of the current cannon, a six pounder Finbanker.
This long, slim style of gun was cast at several foundries in Sweden between C. 1620 and C.1750. The primary users were the Swedish, Dutch and Danish navies, merchant fleets and shore defences, but many found their way into the hands of other users. The original calibre of this gun was determined from the outer dimensions and compared with many other guns of the same style and make.
On suggestion from Friends of Tygerberg Hills Chairperson Jürg Zimmermann, the six-pounder Dutch Finbanker cannon on was restored by Gerry De Vries from “Cannon Research Projects” to full firing power in early 2005 and fired for the first time officially on 24 September 2005.
First official firing of the Tygerberg Hill
Signal Cannon on Heritage Day
24 September 2005
On a grey overcast day, 65 people attended the first official firing of the signal cannon on Tygerberg Hills since 1806. Our Guest of honour was Vice Admiral Simpson – Anderson who in 1996 organised the donation of the current cannon, a six pounder Finbanker to the reserve. The gunner firing the first shot was none other than Master gunner Gerry de Vries from the Cannon Association of South Africa, who is responsible for the restoration of hundreds of cannons all over South Africa.
Gerry explained that between 53 and 56 of these guns were mounted on strategic heights to form a signal chain that extended from Salt River to Citrusdal in the north and Swellendam in the east. The purpose of this chain was to call the burghers to arms in defence of the colony and it fell into disuse in January 1806. He also explained the usage of the various implements used to clean, load and prime the cannon. Then the long awaited moment arrived, the count down began, and at noon the gun was fired.
Firing the muzzle loading cannon
On various public holidays our fully qualified gunners, fire the 12 pounder muzzle loading gun next to the Sentech mast in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve.
Cannon can also be fired on a special occasion such as wedding , a birthday for a fee to cover black powder cost.
More info from gunner Jürg Zimmermann 083 7018496 or gunner Neville Potgieter 021 913 4618.
Jurg firing 6 pounder