FROM LEFT: Rotarian Laurie Smith, gun builder Adrian Watts, artillery expert Phil Rowson, Palm Beach Rotary president Kerilee Dawson, replica originator Ken Gray, and Port Peron Rehabilitation Committee chairman Phil Edman.
ABOUT 50 people assembled around a huge replica gun for its official handover to the Point Peron Restoration Committee on Sunday.
The Rotary Club of Palm Beach officially handed over the make-believe 155mm 1917/18 GPF gun to Point Peron committee chairman Phil Edman.
The club organised the building of the replica after failed national and international attempts to buy a real long-range field gun like that which protected local shipping in World War II.
The 1.8-tonne replica was the brainchild of Rotarian Ken Gray after Mr. Edman suggested replacing one of the two long-gone Point Peron K Battery guns that had once guarded local waters.
Rotarian Laurie Smith, then chairman of Palm Beach Rotary’s community, arts and innovation committee, and Mr. Edman led fund-raising for the $26,830 it cost to build — plus other donations from business and wellwishers.
Rockingham City Council and the South-West Group (six South-West Metropolitan Region councils — Cockburn, East Fremantle, Fremantle, Kwinana, Melville and Rockingham) and Palm Beach Rotary Club put up most of the cash.
The massive axle was given by a well-wisher for “a carton of beer”.
Westrac donated the massive wheels, valued at $8000, and Hames Paint of Ballarat reduced the price of the paint to protect the replica from the harsh weather on the point.
Adrian Watt of Sheet Metal Fabricators in Spearwood built the replica gun. He was asked to quote because he had produced a faithful replica of a WWI mini-submarine for the Maritime Museum in Fremantle.  TAFE students getting work experience at his business joined his staff in working on this project.
And the piece was painted by Palm Beach Rotarians, mainly James Girling (also a metal fabricator) with Lyall Pember alongside. Mr. Girling, who now lives in Mandurah, was heavily involved as the technical go-between between Rotary and Adrian Watt.
The Department of Conservation and Environment moved it from Adrian Watts’ workshop and installed it at Point Peron.
 Mr. Edman told the gathering: "Some battles are outside and some battles are within, which I personally know.  "Today we remember the 3000 Australians who died on our on soil and waters. We remember them on the first Wednesday of September, being Battle for Australia Day."
 "This gun and the interpretive signage throughout the park will educate people on how close Australia was nearly invaded by Japan and a reminder that if we don’t protect ourselves it could happen again."