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Bomb found by two Gympie children prompts warning

AN UNEXPLODED bomb found at Victory Heights should prompt caution over Gympie Regional Council's long-term plans to sell the area off as real estate, Gympie shooting advocate Ron Owen said yesterday.

"I used to carry a couple of these when I was a kid in the British Army," he said as he displayed the 1943 vintage "three-inch" mortar bomb found by two children in a creek off Sandy Creek Rd.

Yesterday he confirmed that police explosives experts had collected the not-quite-disarmed bomb from his McMahon Rd gun shop.

"They're going to blow it up," he said.

Much as this would disappoint the would-be collector who had brought it in to the shop, it was probably the safest option, he said.

The main explosive charge, in a waxy form, would need to be steamed to turn it to liquid, so it could then be washed out with hot water.

That would require unscrewing plugs at the end and "it's often best to keep the spanners away from bombs," he said.

Mr Owen says the bomb would be far from unique and many items of unexploded ordnance in the area would be far more explosive.

"The area was used as an artillery range during two world wars and the CMF would have been chucking hand grenades around the place during their exercises over about 30 years.

"This is a bit of a mystery.

"It should have had a cap or a fuse in it, but that's been removed.

"If I saw one of these with the fuse in place and no safety catch in place, well it wouldn't be here."

He says the man who handed it in will be disappointed.

"He saw two kids walking in North Deep Creek Rd with it. He went and bought it off them."

The man wanted the bomb back as a souvenir.

"He's pretty keen on the history of it," Mr Owen said.

"When I was a councillor, the Mick Venardos council always seemed to have an agenda of subdividing the land.

"I kept trying to tell them."

Before they sell it off they would have to clear it of old bombs and unexploded artillery shells, he said.

Mr Owen says the bomb had a shotgun style explosive cartridge which propelled the bomb and extra explosive rings could greatly increase the range. The nose also had a fuse which would ignite the main explosive on impact.

Gympie Times

Topics:  gympie regional council, victory heights trails




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