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http://www.nraa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ATR-131-web-5.pdf

100 years on Bathurst Rifle Range 1915 - 2015
Whilst Bathurst, throughout 2015 has been celebrating it's Bi-Centenary, the year also marks the Centenary of the Bathurst Rifle Range at it's current location.

Boxing day 2015 will be 100 years to the day since the first shots were fired on the then new Bathurst Rifle Range.

Below is an excerpt from the National Advocate Monday 20th December 1915.



http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158153349

National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889-1954), Monday 20 December 1915, page 3


New Rifle Range nearing completion

It will come as no surprise to the majority of the people of Bathurst to learn that the new rifle range is just on the point of completion, and will be opened on Monday next. It is situated on the Bald hills, at the rear of the Experimental Farm, and about a mile to the left of the stone quarry The old range on the Carcoar road is about two miles from the town , and the new range can be reached by journey about three miles by the Government road, through the Experimental Farm. Riflemen however will be prevented from getting to the range by that route by an obstruction in the shape of a creek. The surest way of reaching the shooting ground is to follow the telephone line, which is right on the range. The new range is one of the best in the State and it is to be regretted that the spot was not located before as only a few years ago over £1000 was spent in making the old range up-to-date. The danger of stray bullets from the old ground, however, was so great that it was decided to secure a new range. The work has been carried out by day labour, under the supervision of an officer from headquarters

at a cost of about £2000 and land to the extent of 800 acres has been resumed and fenced in. The pavilion has been removed from the old range and rebuilt. On the new range there will be 12 targets, instead of 10, as on the old. The longest firing point will be at 900 yards. The targets will be wood and iron and the working parts entirely of iron. The target pits are all built of concrete and the telephone is laid on to the targets from every range. It is expected that the first shoot will be held on Boxing Day. It is interesting to note that the old range was opened in 1868, 47 years ago.





Another article nine months later complains about the distance out of town, members at camp and the front causing a lack of numbers at the weekly shoots.




http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109941521

The Bathurst Times (NSW: 1909-1925), Thursday 14 September 1916, page 1

Civilian Rifle Club Annual Meeting The Report

The annual meeting of the Bathurst Civilian Rifle club was held last night, the annual report read:-

“ In presenting the annual report, your committee regrets having to report a year of failure and a very considerable decrease in the weekly attendance at practice. This is due in great measure to the distance to the new range, and to the state of the road leading to it. Another factor is that 20 members are in camp or at the front and these include some of our finest shots.







Below is an excerpt from the National Advocate regarding the presentation of Life Membership to Maurice Colley and below that is a photo of the Certificate of Life Membership presented in November 1915



http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158153334

National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889-1954), Monday 20 December 1915, page 4

Rifleman at 74

Presentation to Mr. Maurice Colley. Reminiscences of old times.

One of the State’s most prominent riflemen, and perhaps, the oldest active club members in Australia, Mr. Maurice Colley was entertained by the members of the Bathurst Rifle Clubs, at Heath's Café, on Saturday night, and presented with an illuminate address, containing the names of all the old club members who are still in Bathurst, and also all present members of the club.

Dr. Machattie presided, and proposed the health of the guest of the evening in a complimentary speech in which he spoke of the unique career as a rifleman of Mr. Colley, and of his many good qualities as a sport, and wished him many years of continued usefulness.

In proposing the toast of kindred associations, Mr. P. Neal also referred to Mr. Colley’s conspicuous services to rifle shooting, as did Captain Hitchcock (Railway Rifle club) , and Lieutenant Snowling (Militia)

Mr. J. R. Jones was then called upon for something in the shape of reminiscences of old times. He said he was one of the founders of the rifle club movement in Bathurst, but it was Mr. T. C. K. McKell that got it going. Mr. Jones was on the range when the first shot was fired, and said it was from a muzzle loader. (Another old rifleman who was there had his doubts about the muzzle loader).

Mr. W. S. Hodge was also called upon, and also unburdened himself of reminiscences. He gave the scores and the names of the shooters in the first teams’ match that Mr. Colley shot in. It was against Lithgow and shot on the Bathurst range and Mr. Colley was top scorer.

Messrs. A. Kefford, J. Wright, E.A.Wright, Edwin Cutler, Horace Hansard and Allan Howard also spoke of their guest as a man, a sport and a rifleman One of the speakers concluding his remarks, said that their guest was one of the “truest men in Bathurst to-day”.

Mr. Colley was received with prolonged cheers on rising. In a few well chosen words, he thanked the club members for their presentation, and kind references to him. He would value what he had received as an ever pleasing reminder of happy associations. (Applause).

The singing of the National Anthem ended one of the most pleasant evenings ever spent by riflemen.

It might be mentioned that Mr. Colley was now in his 74th year, and still regularily shoots. The shooting on Saturday afternoon was the last on the old range, and as a fitting parting shot Mr. Colley was asked to fire it and he did. At the opening of the new range on Boxing Day, we suggest he be asked to fire the first shot.






(Photo of certificate kindly sent to us by Terry Colley (Great Great Nephew of Maurice))

As a side note, what has the last 100 years done to the oldest sport in the country?

Note the names of the members listed, some very important names in Bathurst's history. Even more significant is the number of members, 110 including Maurice Colley & Thomas Machattie (Captain). Today membership numbers like this are unheard of in Fullbore Target Rifle Clubs across Australia.


Back on topic, Bathurst Rifle Club will be quietly celebrating this significant milestone by holding an unofficial day of shooting our old .303s or similar vintage firearms on 26 December (Boxing Day) 2015.

All members are encouraged to participate & visitors are welcome.
 
Posted by Graham on Friday 25 December 2015 - 20:00:29printer friendly create pdf of this news item
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