Shoot­ers seek new venue

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

SHOOT­ERS must leave the 104year-old Swan­bourne ri­fle range at the end of this year and are with­out a venue for their 106th Queen’s Prize com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s dif­fi­cult for us, most def­i­nitely, and very sad as we are a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion and a niche group,” WA Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Kate Ludgate said.

In July, De­fence Min­is­ter David John­son told the as­so­ci­a­tion it had to move, mean­ing the fi­nal test of marks­man­ship at the range neigh­bour­ing the SAS’s Campbell Bar­racks will be the 105th Queen’s Prize from Septem­ber 25-29.

The in­creas­ing sen­si­tiv­ity of SAS train­ing and op­er­a­tions means about 250 shoot­ers from Fre­man­tle, South Perth, Bassendean, Su­bi­aco, East Perth, Ar­madale, Man­durah and Mun­dar­ing ri­fle clubs will be home­less for a year.

The as­so­ci­a­tion plans to move to a $6 mil­lion, State Gov­ern­ment-funded re­place­ment range near Wan­neroo by the end of next year and will in­ves­ti­gate us­ing a Kal­go­or­lie range for next year’s Queen’s Prize be­cause the Gold­fields hosted the first year of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Ms Ludgate said the range’s clo­sure had been ex­pected for sev­eral years and as­so­ci­a­tion ac­cess had been on an an­nual ba­sis un­til re­cently, but the fi­nal move would still be a shock be­cause the ashes of dead shoot­ers were at the range, in ad­di­tion to a memo­rial for the as­so­ci­a­tion’s war vet­er­ans.

“It was wet and windy in 1961, at my first Queen’s Prize meet- ing, and the Swan­bourne range re­ally hasn’t changed too much but Sandy Cir­cle used to have lots of lit­tle huts which are no longer there and be­fore that we used to camp in tents,” 1968 Queen’s Prize win­ner Jim Moore, of Katan­ning, said.

The last shoot­ing at Swan­bourne will in­clude a Cham­pion of Cham­pi­ons com­pe­ti­tion, fi­nal awards and an RAAF fly­over to com­mem­o­rate the range’s links with the de­fence forces that started with its pre­de­ces­sors used by pre-Boer War mili­tias.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d426068

Jim Moore at Swan­bourne Ri­fle Range.

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