Topics will never forget the day we took our kids to see the little gun go off at Fort Scratchley a few years back.
A small crowd of littlies, parents and seniors gathered to see the fort volunteers light the fuse of the muzzle-loaded two-pound field gun for its daily 1pm firing.
Well, when the thing finally exploded into life, an elderly lady at the back of the crowd reacted with an involuntary volley of loud and colourful language that made even Topics' kids blush.
We have also been up close when the fort's big gun has let rip, but something (almost) no one has heard in a century is the thunder of an 80-pound gun the Fort Scratchley Historical Society has been restoring for the past two years.
As reported by the Newcastle Herald today, that will change on Australia Day, when the society lights up the 200-year-old weapon in the fort's western barbette. (Confession: Topics had to look up "barbette", which is a gun fortification.)
The gun has been cleared for action after a "small test shot" before Christmas and will be the centre of attention on Sunday, when the fort will fire its guns, including the "new" one, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
The society says to bring your ear plugs because even the test shot was, quote, "loud".
Grandmas, you have been warned.
IT'S YOUR CALL
Topics remembers a time when the choice of local "celebrity" to grace the cover of the Newcastle phone book was the source of much anticipation and excitement in the community.
But what do you do with the Yellow Pages or White Pages phone book when it lobs on your doorstep now?
Redirect it straight to the recycling bin? Or do you still let your fingers do the walking?
Sensis, which publishes the directories, says on its website that "more than one in three" Australians now use them every year, including 59 per cent of people aged over 50.
It has said in the past that its printed phone directories are "carbon neutral", even though only five per cent of households opt out of receiving them.
Ever-vigilant Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery is now calling on residents to do their bit for the environment by hopping on the directoryselect website and cancelling their delivery.
"Like me, many residents get the White Pages and Yellow Pages delivered annually and either put them straight in the recycling bin or in some corner of the house to collect dust or raise the height of their computer monitor," Sonia told Topics.
"I know many people like to receive their White and Yellow Pages, and they can still do that, but the majority just end up in the bin."
She plans to try to convince Sensis to switch to an opt-in system, but, given they make their money selling widely distributed advertising, that may be easier said than done.