Competitive rifle club shooting was held in Cowra as early as 1878.
First reports of club activities were in 1880 when 30 members participated.
Two team to competed on March 2, 1882 over 200 and 500 yards for scores of 114 and 116.
Another Rifle Club was formed on Feb 22, 1915. Membership by the end of that year totaled 115. At the time shooting competitions were held at Woodstock and later, at Cowra’s own range, on Campbell’s property, Jerula, which was used until the Army built a new range on the Bellevue Hill common.
First President was W H Wordsworth. The club used the Bellevue Hill range until 1940, when it was forced into recess at the out break of WW2.
Reformed in 1946, the club used a range on Bob Campbell’s “Cudgelo” property, before returning to Bellevue Hill. Charles Pengilly was the first club Captain to be elected after WW2. John Thurtell was the first Cowra member to be elected in a NSW State team. He also won the Champion of Champions shoot in Sydney.
Due to the rapid growth of Cowra, the Bellevue Hill range was forced to close. The last shoot there was on December 26, 1971. An eight target range was established on “Rocky Ridge” property, near Woodstock. The first shot was fired by Tom Hancock on May 3, 1987.
The club suffered a severe set back with Hancock’s sudden death. He had been the driving force behind the club, an energetic councilor for the NSW Rifle Association and successful coach in the NSW State team. Hancock was instrumental in Stuart MaKay’s success at state team level.
One of the clubs best and most consistent shooters in the 1980’s was John McKay.
Information from the publication “Cowra on the Lachlan”.