Historic handgun unearthed in Bendigo weapons amnesty

A mint-CONDITION handgun, used by a Ballarat police officer in the early 1900s, has been unearthed during a recent weapons amnesty.

Relatives of decorated officer Tom Ward  took his 0.22-calibre handgun, a Harrington & Richardson 1906 model, to Bendigo’s divisional firearms officers as part of the Victoria Police amnesty.

Leading Senior Constable Len Igoe saw he had something special in his hands straight away.

“I thought, we can’t crush this,” he said.

“That was a fascinating piece of history. I said ‘this is something that has to go to the police museum’, and that’s where it now resides.”

Special provisions have allowed the handgun to escape the furnace and instead be put on display at the police museum in Melbourne due to its “cultural and heritage significance”.

Museum curator Sergeant Terry Claven said he was pleased to receive the gun.

“During his years of service in the early part of the 20th century, the police at the time worked through times of great social changes, gangland violence, significant events including World War I and the impact on the community  the aftermath and rebuilding of the police force following the police strike of 1923,” Sergeant Claven said.

“William Ward was heavily involved in all the events as a senior officer with Victoria Police and we are pleased to have a tangible reminder from this period.”

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