Geelong back in competition
After a break of more than seven years Geelong Field & Game is again hosting Australian Simulated Field clay target events.
More than 400 people, including 234 competitors, attended the first shoot at Geelong Field & Game’s new ground, a shared complex on the Little River Game Ranch, 20 minutes from Geelong and 30 minutes from Melbourne.
The relocation, including clubrooms and traps, was supported by a $100 000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Shooting Sports Facilities Program.
Geelong’s last permanent shooting ground closed in 2004 when the owner sold the property.
“We were only leasing Wurdiboluc, so we basically had to move on, unfortunately,” Geelong FGA president Trent Lean said.
“We’ve been on the hunt for a ground ever since, and Peter Anderson and a lot of others have put a lot of work in to find another ground of our own. We ended up at VCAT unsuccessfully on one property and then the opportunity to settle here came up.”
Temporary set-ups and the more than seven-year gap without a club competition demonstrate the importance of sporting clubs having security of tenure. Deniliquin Field & Game’s New Year’s Eve shoot was also the last it its long-term home, again due to the break up and sale of the main property.
“It has been a huge amount of effort leading up to the shoot but the subcommittee has done a great job; it is a credit to them — the execution and the numbers that have turned up," Trent said.
Geelong’s outstanding contribution to wetland conservation is all the more impressive given it has been achieved without the revenue derived from shooting sports.
“Our membership base still had consistent growth even though we didn’t have a ground for many years. We’ve always had a strong conservation presence and hunting and that has held us through the years when we didn’t have a ground but this move really completes the equation,” Trent said.
“This is the missing piece of the puzzle we haven’t had for years and we hope it will provide growth and the financially security we haven’t had.”