The Maryborough Smallbore Rifle Club was formed in 1960, mainly by members of the Maryborough Fullbore Rifle Club. The main reason for forming the club was to allow the fullbore shooters to practice as practice on the fullbore range was difficult requiring people at the stop butt to mark the targets, meaning practice very rarely happened. The original smallbore range was located on the left hand side of the fullbore range about 200 metres in front of the current range location.

Official Opening 9 June 1963

Marion Ditchmen and Ray Melody at the old clubhouse

The original smallbore range consisted of 4 earthen shooting mounds as almost all smallbore ranges were built on this style in the 1960’s. The stop butt consisted of 10mm checker plate placed at a 45 degree angle to deflect the bullets into the dirt. The ranges were for 20 firing points at 25 yards, 50 yards ,50 metres and 100 yards with the shooters shifting between the various ranges. The 50 yard and 50 metre ranges were joined together where 50 yards was shot from the front of the mound and 50 metres was shot from the back of the mound. Also in the early years 25 yard night shooting was held at the Army Barracks in John Street. The club used the fullbore club house which was located behind the 100 yard mound. After termites invaded the clubhouse it was burnt down in the late 1980’s.

25 yard night shoot at John St Barracks
Ray Melody, Henry Bugden, Alan England
Kevin Fraser, Robbie Anderson, Jan Osborne, Harry Nichols, Steven Melody

Rod and Marion Faint shooting on the old range

In the mid 1970’s a new stop butt was pushed up behind the old smallbore range and this was the start of the modernisation and present day smallbore club. In the early days to protect the shooters from the sun and rain a portable tarpaulin cover was made and the shooters shot from under this. Night shooting was also introduced at the new range with the use of a 5 KVA generator and fluorescent lights. On one occasion a visiting bus load of travelling New Zealand shooters were quite amused at the night shoot the club had organised for them.

In 1980 the new shed for the firing point was built with provision for 24 shooting bays. On the roof four mercury vapour lights were installed for the regular night shoots that are now part of the clubs shooting programme.

In 1982 the modern club house was built out of besser blocks. This was quite an achievement for club members. The concrete slab was laid and left for three weeks to cure. On the fourth week a working bee was called; fourteen club members turning up to mix mortar and carry bricks, while the club employed four bricklayers. This meant the building was built from floor to roof in 1 day. The next day the brickies came back and put the shower and toilet walls in. Two weeks later the roof went on and the building was finished free of labour cost apart from the 4 brickies. This is a trend that continued for many years as the club has been fortunate in having tradesmen in the club to do any work the club might want done.

Bruce Black, Laurie Cowman,
Roy Muller, Laurie Howard, Rod Faint

Rod demonstrating the 20/50m TCMs

Rod demonstrating the 10m TCMs on the Air range

In the early years of the club only prone target rifle shooting was done as this was the same style of shooting done by the fullbore club. However in the 80s prone silhouette shooting was added as an easy means of introducing new members to the sport of shooting using only basic equipment before eventually progressing onto the more demanding discipline of target rifle. Then in the mid 2000s, bench rest shooting was added to the list of events. Also during this time with the demise of the former Wide Bay Pistol Club, the remaining members joined the smallbore rifle club and pistol shooting was also introduced. This prompted the name change in 2013 to our current name, the Maryborough Rifle and Pistol Club.

Kim Faint prepares at the
1994 Wide Bay Championships

Jason Rossiter, Leslie Perk, Janelle Rossiter and Rod Faint

The two main competitions for the club each year are the Wide Bay Championships and the Maryborough Masters Games. For many years the Wide Bay Championships was held over the Queens birthday long weekend in June, however this has recently been swapped to the first weekend in May. The Masters Games shoot is held on the first weekend in October as one of many different sport that make up the masters games festival. Both of these events attract shooters from all over Queensland and New South Wales.

The happy workers at the food stall

Jenny McDonald, Peter Shannon, David Gaze, Laughlan Potter inspecting the TCMs

The club has operated a food stall at the Maryborough Show each year since 1978. This is the major logistical operation for the club members who help setup, operate and pack up the stall each year. It is the major fundraising activity for the year and has enabled the club to continually improve and expand upon the facilities at the Walker St range complex. It is considered by many to be the best facility of it's type within Queensland outside of the state range in Brisbane.

The range is built on land currently owned by the Department of Defence. In 2011 a process was initiated to transfer ownership of the land from Commonwealth government to local government. In January 2012 this resulted in the temporary closure or the range. This process was completed in mid 2019 with the Fraser Coast Council as the new land owners.  However before they would lease the land back to the club, substantial renovations on the facilities needed to be conducted as well as an environmental management plan be put in place to ensure future operations would be conducted sustainably.  With the exception of the major grounds works, all of this work was done by a small team of club members who attended working bees each weekend and also often mid week.

These works are were completed and the club re-opened for shooting in February 2020.