Sydney Clay target Club Ltd

Our History


The history of the Sydney Gun Club is dedicated to those members of the club who worked hard,first off to establish the club and then to those members who kept it going and made it what it is to-day.

I would like to thank the following shooters for their contributions and checking of the articles in this history.

Fred Hudson-------Mal Fuller-------Mick Smith

Over the past 39 years I have had the privilege and enjoyment of meeting and shooting with some of the most dedicated shooters from all over the world,this is something I will never forget.

Ray Abrahams 1998


Sydney Gun Club was originally formed in the early 30s.The shooting grounds were at Pagewood the rear of Pagewood Film Studios and Eastlakes Golf Course.On the gun club site General Motors Holden built their Sydney factory.
The club used to hold shoots regularly for any charity or other purpose such as the one held for the 150th Anniversary Sesqui Centenary shoot held in 1938 in which Mal Fuller was beaten by his older brother John for the junior trophy.In the handicap event seven shooters tied and split up the first seven prizes receiving 5 pounds 3 shillings and fourpence each.A.Waters was successful in the shoot off for the trophy.

In the 150th Anniversary Championship the first place Trophy,Championship Plaque and 20 pounds were won by J.W.Raliegh (Queensland) 49 kills from a possible 60.Second place was W.Rainbird (Tasmania) and J.Bryant (Victoria) who received 7 pounds 10 shillings 43 kills each.Third was E.A.Holmes who received 3 pounds for 42 kills.A kill was when the target was broken.There were over 45 competitors in each of the 3 events on the day.

Prior to 1948 clay target shoots were called skeet shoots,trap shoots or clay bird shoots.

Before 1940 other clubs shooting clay birds were The Metropolitan Gun Club which shot live and clay birds in the centre of the Ascot Racecourse which is now the northeast corner of Mascot Airport.

New South Wales Gun Club or Pigeon Club was at Lauriston Park in Lords Road Mascot which is now near the Domestic Terminal.The club was forced out of this property and built a new two storey brick building at Kyeemagh opposite the Kogarah Golf Club and was opened on the 22ndAugust 1941.Soon after the opening this building was commandeered by the army for the 19AA Battery Headquarters by a March in March Out Certificate received 15/5/42.The club was still able to continue shooting using a timber shed as the office,later this shed was relocated to Terry Hills,it was burnt down by a bushfire.After the war the building was returned back to the club where they kept shooting until 1949.In this year the club was told to move out because the land was required for the expansion of Mascot Airport and also Cooks River was going to be diverted across their grounds,the club was well compensated for their property.This old club building was pulled down in 1992 to make way for the extensions to the southern section of the overseas terminal.

A good club man and a great shot Mr.Allan Waters purchased 47 acres for the club at Terry Hills in April 1950 for the sum of 2750 pounds and they started shooting again in the following November.On the 22nd December 1950 the club held their opening day shoot which was very successful.

There were 2 other clubs one at Kyeemagh called the Brighton Gun Club which had their grounds where the Kyeemagh bridge now stands across Cooks River,it stopped shooting in 1940.

The other club was the Tattersall’s Gun Club which had their grounds Booralee Park Lords Street Botany.This property they purchased from Simon Lord a member of the club.

New South Wales,Tattersalls.Metropolitan.and Brighton Gun Clubs amalgamated to form the New South Wales Gun Club.
Sydney Gun Club also stopped shooting in 1940.

In about 1950 gun clubs shooting clay birds were the Terry hills.Hargraves Park at Baulkham Hills,Royal Aero at Bankstown Airport,The Oaks at The Oaks showground,Bowral at Bowral Showgrounds and Stonehedge at Thornleigh.

Hargraves Park closed in 1956,Bowral closed in 1957,Stonehedge closed 1958,The Oaks closed in 1964.Hawkesbury Gun club was formed and started shooting at Hawkesbury in 1958 also there was an illegal club operating at Blacktown in the early 60s.

With no clubs south of Sydney in 1952 Sydney Gun Club was reformed one mile south of Waterfall Station in the National Park the present site of the Toll Gates on the Southern Expressway.Sir MacArthur Onslow was president Bill Rutty was the club captain and R.Aimes was the secretary (all of the history,papers and programs were burnt after the death of Mr Harold Knight a foundation and life member and later Patron of the club).

The club erected 2 complete trap layouts with I.C.I snipe traps manual type operated by a 4 foot pushed the lever fully forward to cock and allow the trapper to put a clay target on the plate and then pulled the lever back against a stop and when the the shooter called for his target you would jerk back the lever to release the target.The person who put the target on the plate was called a trapper and the person who worked the lever was called a puller.These were mostly paid position but in some clubs shooters did the pulling with the result of fast and slow targets.

Mick Smith of Smith’s Sport Store and Bruce Hill from Hillier Engineering installed the first trap in position and Mick Smith shot the first target released on the grounds.

In 1958 the president was Bill Rutty,Vice Pres.Harry Townsend,Secretary Treas.Allen Vidler.In 1961 Allen Vidler was our first Life Member,Allen was not a shooter but loved the sport and was always envolved in the running of the shoots since 1953,the only time he had a shot was at the christmas shoot when all workers shot for a trophy.All of the clay targets used at the club were made by a member who lived at Sutherland and his daughter was a trapper for the club up until 1960.

At the annual meeting in 1961 President Bill Rutty V.P.Harry Townsend Sec/Trea Allen Vidler Club Captain Ray Abrahams,these position remained the same up until 1966.

In 1966 the Australian Clay Target Association ordered that every club must have their own constitution,previously most clubs acted under the A.C.T.A.constitution and by-laws.Sydney Gun Club accepted the draft copy of the constitution sent by the A.C.T.A.with minor changes.

At the 1966 annual meeting Pres.Bill Rutty V.P.Tom Dixon Sec/Treas Allen Vidler Club Captain Ray Abrahams,it was at this meeting that the names of B.Rutty and H.Knight were recommended and excepted as Life Members,this made 3 life members in our club.
In 1967 and prior to the annual meeting Bill Rutty suffered a heart attack whilst shooting at Sutton Forest Gun Club and passed away two days later.Sutton Forest had only started shooting in the late 1965 and was formed by past members from The Oaks Gun Club M.Quirk and C.Tickle being the main ones.This gun club was down the back corner of the Sutton Forest Hotel,it was later moved to where it is to-day called The Forest Gun Club.

At the annual meeting in 1967 Pres.R. Abrahams V/P.T.Dixon Sec/Treas.A.Vidler Club Captain H.Townsend,it was also moved at this meeting that Mrs.Rutty be presented with a Honorary Life Membership for all of the work she had contributed to the club.
In 1969 following the death of Tom Dixon,Kevin Moxey was elected as Vice Pres.of the club.

Sydney as a club competed and won the Fred Hudson and Mick Smith Shields plus many other awards and competitions.

In 1969 we were informed by the Dept.of Main Roads that they preposed to start building the Southern Expressway and that our shooting grounds were required for the road and toll gates and that our lease would not be renewed when it ran out in 1974,however if the club co-operated with them they would help us to relocate to another site. The club suggested that if the Dept.of Main Roads would help us to get a new ground and pay towards the relocation we would move out before our lease would expire.Over the next 12 weeks we looked at properties at Douglas Park, Picton,Razorback,Camden,Blacktown,Waterfall,Liverpool and Menai.We accepted Menai and the Dept.of Main Roads helped us to secure a lease and to survey the property which was Federal Land under the control of the State.The main reason for selecting Menai was because there were no private houses or buildings within I mile,the only building was The Atomic Energy which was just over 1 mile away.The D.M.R. offered the club $1600.00 for relocation which was accepted for we were having pressure put on us by the National Parks to cancel our lease that year unless we accepted the offer from the D.M.R.

We informed the Dept.that we would move out after we had conducted the 200 year commemoration of the landing of Captain Cook shoot on behalf of the Sutherland Council.After this shoot we conducted another the following month on the Saturday and on the next day we packed everything on trucks and moved over to Menai,we just drove the trucks through the scrub and unloaded them just left of the present club house.

We started clearing the site using a contractor with a small dozer but after the first day he had not done much,his dozer was too small at this rate we would spend all of our money just clearing the grounds so Ray Abrahams approached Mr.Hill the Shire Clerk at Sutherland Council to try and get some assistance in preparing our new grounds.Mr.Hill told us that he was a clay shooter shooter back in Victoria and how could council help.We told him that we had a contractor clearing the grounds but that his dozer was too small.The town clerk told us there would be a dozer and driver there the next day.We arrived at the grounds on Tuesday morning at 8am and there was the biggest dozer I have ever seen being unloaded,the council foreman asked us what had to be done.We told him to clear the car park first and then start on the roadway where the Police had told us where it had to be,he passed this information on to the driver and told us he would be back in the afternoon at 4.00pm.When he returned in the afternoon it seemed that the machine had not done much at all so he told us to get in touch with Mr.Hill because the work would not be finished that day.When we rang Mr.Hill he said that we could have the machine the next day to finish the job if council had no work for it,WOW we endered up having the dozer for 41/2 days it did everything cleared and level.

The next Saturday Tony and Roy Alvaro turned up and built the trap houses out of concrete blocks the concrete floors in these houses are the old yardage slabs from Waterfall (the rest were stolen).

The following Wednesday the roofs were formed and poured.the door frames and doors were made by Ray Abrahams and fitted the next weekend all construction was under the control of our Vice Pres.Kevin Moxey who was a builder but at that time owned the Gymea Bay Sports Store.The next weekend the No1 trap lanes were dug and concreted and we started installing the snipe traps.The trap houses were finished and traps installed No1 trap was complete but No2 trap layout had only blue metal lanes but we held our first shoot on our new grounds the next week only 4 weeks after moving.

We constructed a long drop toilet left of No1 trap,but we had to carry all of our drinking water from home every day.
At the 1970 annual meeting Pres.R.Faunt V/C.K.Moxey Sec/Treas J.Dean John was also Sec/Treas in 1969.

At the 1971 annual meeting Pres.John Blundell V/P K.Moxey Sec/Treas Mrs Nancy Lucre.Kevin Moxey left the club and moved up to Wyong,he became the President of Wyong Gun Club and held that position for many years.

At the 1971 annual meeting Ray Abrahams was recommended and excepted as a club life member.

At the 1972 annual meeting Pres.Ray Lucre V/P J.Blundell Sec/Treas Nancy Lucre.It was from this time that the club started to progress with meetings away from the club and a business approach being applied to all paperwork by Nancy and Ray.During this time we built the concrete block club house with steel roof and the toilets were upgraded.

On the committee at this time was a member by the name of Les Whithorn who was always trying to talk the committee into buying electric traps (Mick Smith had purchased one and it was installed at Royal Aero Club)In the end he convinced us to buy 2 electric Winchester White Flyer traps also 2 Honda 240 volt generators.The electric traps were installed in the trap houses and Barry Casey kept the 2 diesel generators at his factory and transported them out to every shoot.

The next year we found a big generator at Coffs Harbour and Barry Casey went up and purchased it for the club.A new generator house was built and the generator installed and wired up,it was started by swinging on a great cranking handle like hell (no self starter).With this big power unit we installed lights and started night shooting also an extra day shooting each month.Later that year another electric trap was purchased and installed in a steel trap house which was built at Ray Lucre’s factory at Kirrawee by members of the committee.

The railing at the rear of the traps was acquired by R.Abrahams it was previously around Benelong Point Tram Depot the present site of the Sydney Opera House.

I hope that someone else will continue where I leave off.

Sydney Clay Target Club