Target shooting is one of the oldest organized sports in Australia with records dating back to British Marines at Sydney Cove in 1788. Early competitive matches were often conducted in the grounds of local hotels with substantial prizes offered by patrons.
In 1860 the National Rifle Association of New South Wales was formed to encourage general rifle proficiency in the community and give permanency to the Volunteer Corps. The Association’s first home was the Paddington Rifle Range where there were local competitions organised for a quarter of a century. In 1890, due to the opening of Centennial Park and safety concerns over the boundaries of the range, shooting ceased. A replacement range was established at Randwick, near the present day Maroubra Junction.
During the First World War Rifle Clubs flourished as they were seen as ideal training grounds where men were taught to shoot and drill. The Government supplied ammunition free and rifles could be purchased very cheaply. After the Great War ended many of the returning soldiers rejoined the local rifle clubs and shooting as an organised sport thrived.
By 1923 the township of Maroubra had grown and once again the range was surrounded by an expanding suburban sprawl. The range was closed and the Association moved to the Anzac Rifle Range at Liverpool.
In 1968 the Liverpool Range was closed as once again the land surrounding the range was needed for housing. The New South Wales Rifle Association as it was then called moved once again. This time to the Maroubra Rifle Range that was renamed Anzac to perpetuate the name.
At the present time the only other major rifle range in the Sydney Metropolitan area that can cater for long range shooting is in the northern Sydney suburb of Hornsby
Other interesting facts.
1860 – Formation of the UK National Rifle Association to regularize competition among the Volunteers. Inauguration of the Sovereign’s Prize by HM Queen Victoria.
1876 – First World Long Range Championships for the Palma Trophy, Creedmore USA.
1966 – Shooting events included for the first time in Commonwealth Games at Kingston, Jamaica.
2006 – Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Bruce Scott and James Corbett, from Australia, came first and second respectively in the open Fullbore competition. Bruce shooting a magnificent score of 403 out of a possible 405.
In the pairs match Bruce and James came a very credible second place.
2007 – The Australian Palma Rifle Team wins Bronze in the Palma Match in Canada.
- This is the first time Australia has won a Palma medal for 19 years, since 1988.
- Australia outshot the previous Palma world record by 51 points.
- Australia also won Bronze in the Under 25 International Match.
- Australian team members top scored in both the Palma and Under 25 Matches.
In order to increase the ability of Britain’s marksmen following the Crimean War, Queen Victoria inaugurated the first Queen’s Prize Shoot by offering £250 to the best marksmen in Britain. The first long range shooting match was held at Wimbledon in 1860 and other Commonwealth countries followed suit soon after.
Teams competed in the National Rifle Association matches in England at Wimbledon for the first time in 1886 and at Bisley in 1902. In 1876, Australia competed for the Centennial trophy in the first world long range championships at the Creedmoor Range in the USA, using muzzle loaders at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. The Palma match, as it is now known, is believed to be the oldest international shooting match in the world.
Fullbore first began in the mid 1800’s and the first recorded Annual Prize Meeting was held by Sydney Rifle Club, NSW, on the 1st January 1845. Around 1860 the individual colonies started forming what are now termed ‘State Rifle Associations’. Following in the footsteps of Britain, the ‘Queen’s (or Kings) Prize’ came into being shortly after.
A shooter can choose the level of competition in which to compete from Club competitions through District, State, National and International right up to the Commonwealth Games. The choice is yours.