The red flag fluttering at the entrance to the Isis Rifle Range at the weekend was a welcome sight for Childers Rifle and Pistol Club members.
The flag signified that the range was once again in use with members beginning to return to their favoured recreation and enjoy the challenge that target shooting provides.
Ray Cole, a foundation member of the Isis District Smallbore Rifle Club which formed in February 1980, said it was pleasing that members were now allowed to return to the sport in compliance with the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
“We have plenty of room, so social distancing is not a problem. It’s just great to catch up with fellow club members and enjoy everything our facility has to offer.”
Fellow shooter Anton Perk said the social aspects of the sport had great appeal for him.
“It’s just an enjoyable sport. I have missed the fellowship that being in a club can provide. Even the simple things like sharing morning tea or just making fun of the poor results you may have achieved during a round of shooting – it’s nice to share the company of fellow club members.”
Rebecca Hill currently makes the trip from Hervey Bay to participate in club shoots.
“Actually we have just purchased a property in the Childers area so we will be moving here shortly,” she said.
“I have been a member since 2016 and I don’t mind the drive to come to Childers for a shoot.
“It’s a good club, very social and they have a really good facility here. I would like to see more women participate in the sport.”
Rebecca and a couple of other club members were participating in a silhouette shoot, usually shot from a prone position, while Ray and Anton were engaged in a standard target shoot with bench mounted rifles.
The Isis Rifle Range has a long and interesting history.
Local history buff Ailsa Cole said the range dated back to the late 1800’s when it was used for big bore (.303) shooting.
“The range which was around 40 hectares or almost 100 acres in size, was owned by the Federal Government and administered via the Army through the Department of Administrative Services.
“It eventually fell into disuse and the Big Bore Club disbanded,” said Ailsa.
“In 1979 the Queensland Smallbore Rifle Association hoped to increase the popularity of shooting silhouette targets with .22 rifles and sought to establish more clubs across the state.
“Bundaberg, Maryborough, South Kolan and Childers were locations that expressed interest in forming clubs,” she said.
The Isis District Smallbore Rifle Club commenced competition shooting in 1980 but a bureaucratic roadblock was soon to throw the club’s future into disarray.
Ailsa said that in 1984 the Federal Government advised that it was selling off its rifle ranges.
“The Isis Smallbore Rifle Club continued to shoot at the site for the next five years while the club sought to gain tenure over the land.
“I can’t begin to describe the incredible amount of correspondence that passed between the club and the government involving the attempts to secure the land,” said Ailsa.
“Local politicians made representations and club members offered to put up the $12,500 the land was valued at but there always seemed to be red tape blocking the club’s attempts.
“Finally the Isis Shire Council, under then Chairman Alf Plath, stepped in and forcefully negotiated the sale of the land to Council and it remains a reserve for the use of the Club.”
The club holds its regular shoots of a Sunday morning and new members are always welcome.
The range also caters to air pistol and shotgun shooting disciplines.
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