Tamworth Pistol Club History
The foundation meeting of the Club was held at the Tamworth Services Club on 19th February 1965.
Present at that meeting were – Ron Mills – Avery Winterton – Allan Thomas – Mike Downey – Ralph Masters – Fred Cartright – Col Hemmings – George Hombsch – Bill Coleman – Dr Ces Baker – Clive MacAlpine – Tony Smyth – Harold Watters – Ian Bofinger – Terry Merrick and Brian Lord
The first Annual General Meeting held on the 15th April 1966 ratified the adoption of the Constitution and set in motion the application to join The Amateur Pistol Association. A motion was adopted to limit the Club Membership to twenty members, subject to review as necessary.
The first Club shoot was held at 2.00pm on 29th May 1966, at The Tamworth Rifle Range on Daruka Road which was located behind where The Tamworth Tech. College is now.
On the 7th October 1966 an Extraordinary General Meeting was held and it was decided to lease a two acre site on a Dairy Farm on Manilla Road at Oxley Vale, this lease was negotiated with the Sipple Family for the purpose of constructing a Pistol Range and facilities. The site was located behind Nazareth House, at the top end of what is now Lemon Gums Drive.
The Oxley Vale Range served the Club well for the next ten years, however, this area became increasingly valuable for Housing due to the urban sprawl and the Club had to find an alternative site.
On 4th February 1977, with assistance from Tamworth City Council and the Department of Lands, the present site at 328 Daruka Road was selected and leased by the Club. When the Club took up the lease on this site we had a huge amount of work ahead of us. To borrow a phrase – we did not have anything that even remotely resembled “a level playing field”- as can be seen from the existing landscape, it was hilly and rough.
Major earthworks were required, this started with the generous loan of a Bulldozer from a local contractor Reg Dickinson and a member of the Club, Ian Donaldson was the guiding hand with this arrangement and it was agreed that the Club would pay the Bulldozer driver and also supply the fuel, this arrangement was helped along by some members donating fuel and money towards the project.
We soon had a level area of approximately 50 x 30 metres for use as a range, this was in the general proximity occupied by range 4 today, and at last we had a facility for our 30 odd members to get back to shooting. – no covered bays - out in the open - planks on drums for shooting benches – targets on wire strung between posts – no power – no water – primitive toilets – but we were once again back in action. Building progressed slowly; utilising materials salvaged from the ex-army huts, which had been part of the Oxley Vale site, shooting bays were constructed.
Our shooting program at that time consisted of – Free Pistol – Rapid Fire – Centre Fire – and Combat (the forerunner to today’s Service Pistol match) the timing for these matches was provided by a stopwatch and a whistle, - Standard Pistol and Air Pistol were the next matches to be introduced as interest and increasing area permitted.
Our next project was to develop the 25 metre range, this was located below the first range (in the vicinity of our existing ranges 2 & 3) which was now in use and was separated from this range by a wall of tyres, some of which are still buried in the bank between the two ranges. Numerous working bees were held at Jack Hawkins place to manufacture concrete blocks to be used in the construction of the “Generator/Compressor” shed which is still in use today as a “storeroom / compressor shed” and also to build the “Clubhouse/Bunker” which was equipped with the strongroom door obtained from the old Commonwealth Bank, this unfortunately has had to be demolished to make way for our new Clubhouse, which is currently under construction.