Another clue has emerged in the case of a mysterious, circa 1800s shotgun with a potential connection to the South Pole.
St Leonards man Dean Thurley went public last week with his quest to solve the mystery of a gun he inherited from his late father, Tasmanian arms dealer Peter Thurley.
The only lead he had on the history of the weapon was a small note he found rolled up inside the barrel.
"Found in Hut at South Pole," it read.
"used on dog sledge for food. Given to me Mason Family N.W. Coast."
Mr Thurley said he had been contacted since the story was published by numerous members of a North-West Tasmanian family by the name of Mason.
"It could have been my grandfather," West Launceston's Rodney Marshall said.
"He had what must have been the largest gun collection in the Southern Hemisphere, and he lived at Ulverstone on a property at Gravel Hill.
"If it's Mason, to do with guns and the North-West, it's probably him."
Mr Marshall described his grandfather as a "formiddable man" who stood at about 6 ft 6 inches and had a wooden leg.
"He was a World War I veteran, and an explosives expert," Mr Marshall said.
"He died in the early 60s and he had a more complete Colt collection than the Colt Company (the shotgun's manufacturer) themselves.
"It was all sold to an auctioneer company ... I think it raised about 260, 000 pounds stirling, which was a considerable amount in those days."
Mr Marshall said his grandfather had collected a whole variety of objects, including coins, stamps and old guns.
"He used to stuff explosives in the walls of his shed," Mr Marshall recalled.
"After he died my parents had to phone up the police to clear the shed ... it was mainly old blunderbusses ... a very scary place."
Current gun owner Mr Thurley said it was hard to verify the link, as the family were struggling to find photographs of the Mason gun collection.
"If they could find a photo I would recognise the gun straight away," he said.
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