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This year marks a significant centenary in Australia’s history, that being the start of the First World War in 1914. One hundred years ago this year, Australia was changed forever and began preparing for war. We even began producing our own military rifles at Lithgow in New South Wales. United States company Pratt & Whitney, which had never made firearms before, won a contract over much-fancied British manufacturers to establish manufacturing of the SMLE rifle. Some 13,800 rifles were made there between July 1913 and July 1914 and this ramped up to producing 100,000 SMLEs at Lithgow from 1913 to 1918. If you have one of these rifles, cherish it and preserve it for future generations because it not only tells a story of Australia’s military commitment, but also a proud story where we as a country made things and made them well.

Over the next few years coinciding with the Anzac Centenary, I will be doing my best to ensure that the Australian Shooter includes an article that reminds members of those gallant Australians who fought for our country, as it’s important that the SSAA and its membership remember their sacrifice. I absolutely believe that the freedoms we enjoy as Australians today are due to their sacrifice. Importantly, let’s not just say ‘Lest we forget’; let’s make sure we remember and do something about it.

Another role I have is as a founder of the Australian Remembrance Foundation (ARF). We take on projects related to remembrance of the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in WWI. One of our objectives is to build a Remembrance Centre on the Western Front in France and ultimately, Belgium. With 48,000 dead and hundreds of thousands wounded, these men need to be remembered, and Australia currently does not have a place of our own dedicated to them. Read more >

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