It’s Ray’s time to go roo shoot’en
THANKS to the dedication of one man, Biggenden has one of the best equipped rifle ranges in Queensland.
Ray Cook’s love of the sport was highlighted at his wake after he died on May 12 aged 86 years. Garry Stark of Biggenden Bakery made a special cake in the shape of a rifle.
The Biggenden Rifle Club where he was a member since 1948 formed a guard of honour.
Ray was a strong influence in developing the Biggenden Rifle range from a very basic war time practice range into a modern competition range covering all shooting principles.
He was the club captain for 30 years.
Ray’s passion for rifle shooting has seen him successfully competing at regional, state and country shooting competitions and has had a bagful of badges to show for his success.
The highlight of his shooting career was not for the scores he shot but for the first badge he ever received when he represented Queensland in the BSA Shield for the 1960-61 season for small bore.
Ray was born at the Biggenden Hospital on January 12, 1930, the third eldest child of Jack and Gladys Cook. His early childhood years were spent growing up in a dirt floored slab hut on the banks of Woowoonga Ck, Degilbo.
He attended Degilbo and Biggenden schools before going to work on his parent’s farm.
Their farming enterprise consisted of dairying and distilling.
Eucalyptus oil from the lemon scented spotted gums, which supplied the troops in the war as a mosquito repellent.
And as they did in those days to put extra food on the table went trapping and shooting with his father and brothers.
No doubt this is where his love of guns started.
In 1949 at the age of 19 Ray enlisted into the Air Force as an apprentice engine fitter until his discharge with TB in 1953.
Returning to Biggenden, he went to work at Jacobi’s Garage as a motor mechanic.
He married Barbara Windeknecht on April 9, 1955 in the Methodist Church Biggenden and moved into their William St home which they paid 90 quid for.
In January 1956 a beautiful bouncing baby daughter Christine Maree was born. Tragically in September 1956 aged 7month Christine suddenly passed away, they were devastated.
Ray threw himself into his work by starting up his own engineering and mechanical works, from fixing cars to tractors, building stock crates, grain bins, and all things in between.
In June 1960 Ray and Barb adopted Carolyn followed by Raeleen in 1964 and their family was complete.
In 1969 Ray packed up the engineering works and went to work at the Biggenden Mine, for Steetly Industries as work shop foreman.
In these years he decide to build a family holiday home at Burrum Heads with only the help from his father and brothers. The family spent many happy family holidays at Burrum Heads.
If the family wasn’t at Burrum Heads they were on holidays to a shoot somewhere.
If Ray wasn’t out the Range he was in his shed fixing a gun or reloading bullets, or organising a roo shooting trip.
Aged 63 Ray retired from the mines, only to do all the things he didn’t have time to do before. This included breeding budgies, polishing stones, wood turning, furniture and clock making.
All of which he mastered, nothing was done by halves.
He also supported the community through the scout movement, Biggenden Fire Services, and served one term on the Biggenden Shire Council. He was awarded Australia Day Citizen of the Year in 2001.
His greatest achievement was to see his grandchildren grow to successfully fulfil their dreams in their chosen fields.
And through it all was Barb, the love of his life for more than 61-years, who he was completely devoted to.
FLOOD DAMAGE. Captain of the Biggenden Rifle Club Ray Cook stands in front of the three sections of the timber retaining wall of the earth bank that has collapsed following continued rain during the past five weeks.
A FINE RECORD: Ray Cook of Biggenden with the many badges he has won over the years with his rifle shooting.