During September, the community of Flinders was once again invited to participate in a guided tour of the Royal Australian Navy’s Flinders Gunnery; one of only three remaining installations of its kind in the world, where navy personnel can learn live firing across the open sea.
The facility was previously a coast-watch position for the Australian Army, and the original bunkers remain within the grounds. The Flinders Gunnery was established by the Navy in 1959 and trains around 1000 sailors each year. Nearly everyone in the navy today has undertaken training at Flinders at some point in their career.
The guided tours, conducted over two consecutive days, attracted 57 FCA members, guests and other community members. The tours included a detailed safety briefing, the importance of the training facility and the types of guns that are fired. Our host, Lieutenant Commander Peter Arnold reminded visitors that the red flag (and now also a red beacon) above the Gunnery, signals firing practice and boats and other vessels must keep clear of the exclusion zone. He also described the outcome of a recent environmental impact study which found no signs of contamination of sand, seaweed or water where the firings occur. And when pods of dolphins, whales and other sea life are spotted, firing is suspended. The same rule also applies for boats and people! The tour concluded with examples of live firings of a 12.7mm gun and a 25mm canon.
The FCA would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to Lieutenant Commander Peter Arnold for allowing these tours to be conducted this year; and the ongoing support that the Gunnery provides to the Community, particularly the Anzac Day commemoration.
Proceeds from the Open Days have been allocated to future infrastructure projects for Flinders. For details of firings, a monthly schedule is displayed at the Flinders General Store, Flinders Post Office and Flinders Golf Club.