SSAA Newcastle Branch
New South Wales Club Profile
With 3248 members (3055 adult male, 119 adult female, 60 male juniors and 14 female juniors) the Newcastle Branch in NSW is going strong and proving that shooting is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.
The Branch was formed on September 12, 1969 and in 1970, eight wooden benches were erected on land leased from J & W Bruce. The opening shoot was held on May 9-10 that year and consisted of sporter and light and heavy varmint events, with profits going to charity. Just two years after the Branch’s formation, membership stood at a healthy 90.
The facility has changed quite a bit since 1970, with a 24-bench covered firing line erected in 1980; an 18-position covered field rifle firing line in ’81; a rimfire silhouette range in 1993, a new clubhouse also in ’93 and the completion of a building for a proposed air rifle range this year. The original eight wooden benches are now mere memories of the club’s grand beginning.
With its current set-up, the Branch is equipped to host various shooting competitions. It has been host to the National Benchrest Championships, the New South Wales Field Rifle Championships and the National and State Hunter Class Championships. This year it will again run the NSW Hunter Class Championships for both rimfire and centrefire in December.
As well as working together to run the successful club, members - of all disciplines - make time to help out in various activities throughout the community. A number of the Newcastle members currently provide instructions for safe handling and cleaning of firearms to Air Force cadets.
A few of the Branch members worthy of mention include Tony Allinson, John Dark and Ross Hicks, who represented Australia in the world benchrest championships, and Michael Fahey, who competed at the world muzzleloading championships. Also, member John Patmore received the Port Stephens Sportsperson of the Year Award in 1981.
Disciplines shot at the Newcastle Branch include benchrest, black powder, field rifle (3 and 4 position), metallic silhouette (rifle .22 LR only) and lever action.
For contact information check the SSAA NSW state branch list.
This club profile was originally published in Australian Shooter July 2001.