It’s Ray’s time to go roo shoot’en

Central and North Burnett Times - - TRIBUTE - A LIFE TO REMEMBER - Erica Mur­ree

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.

PHOTO: ERICA MUR­REE

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.

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