Find is gun in a mil­lion

For­mer land owner Ted Macken­zie, cur­rent land owner Mur­ray Glass and Rochester His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Lor­raine Haines with the piece of buried trea­sure.

Campaspe News - - NEWS - By THOMAS HINSS

A GER­MAN nee­dle gun from the 19th cen­tury is one of the last things you would ex­pect to find in coun­try Vic­to­ria, yet that is pre­cisely what a Rochester farmer ploughed into.

The dis­cov­ery of the bar­rel of one of the ear­li­est nee­dle guns to be pro­duced has left the Rochester His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and the Glass fam­ily who found it per­plexed as to how it got there.

‘‘We re­ally have no idea how it got here, but for it to sur­vive as long as it has shows the qual­ity of the metal that was used,’’ said Rochester His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety sec­re­tary John Fos­ter.

‘‘There are no ma­jor poke marks along the bar­rel, which is sur­pris­ing for a bar­rel that’s been left aban­doned for as long as this one has.

‘‘These guns in good con­di­tion are prob­a­bly worth around $7000, but this one is not go­ing to get near that stage with the wear it has sus­tained over the years.’’

The bar­rel is be­lieved to be­long to a Dreyse model of the gun, which be­gan mass pro­duc­tion in the 1840s.

Mur­ray Glass owns the prop­erty on which the gun was found, hav­ing bought it from for­mer owner Ted Macken­zie in 2011.

‘‘My old­est son, Vaughan, ac­tu­ally found the gun while he was put­ting up new sheep fenc­ing; he saw it stick­ing out of the ground and col­lected it,’’ Mr Glass said.

‘‘No one knew what it was when we found it but the breach was jammed when we found it so we soaked it in sump oil and that did the trick in free­ing up the bolt to move.

‘‘We asked Ted to see if he knew what it was but he didn’t ei­ther so we gave it to Ben Dwyer and Owen Wat­son, who is a bal­lis­tic ex­pert.

‘‘Af­ter dig­ging around on­line they man­aged to fig­ure out what it was.’’

The bar­rel, which is bent slightly af­ter the dam­age sus­tained be­fore dis­cov­ery, is on dis­play at the Rochester His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

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