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Kapunda Rifle Club and Kapunda Rifle Range….a long history

A Short History of Kapunda Rifle Club

Written By Joe Doddridge, Sept. 1994

 The history of Kapunda Rifle club appears to have begun as early as 1863. Extracts from information supplied by the Army Public Relations at Keswick reads as follows;

1866. On March the 16th a new Volunteer forces Act was passed under which the existing forces were to be abandoned and a new one created, supported by a reserve of local men who had served for 3 years in local forces. This disbanding order was issued on May 3rd 1866 and recruiting for the new Force was begun at once.

The composition of the new force as follows

S A Regiment of Volunteer Cavalry

No. 1 Goolwa Troop

No. 2 Milang Strathalbyn Troop

No. 3 Robe Troop

No. 4 Adelaide Troop


No. 1 Adelaide Coy

No. 2 Port Adelaide Coy

Adelaide Regiment of Volunteer Rifles

No. 1 West Adelaide Coy

No. 2 Scotch Coy

No. 3 Kapunda Coy

It would appear that this company consisted of men who had already served 3 years in local forces and indicates that Kapunda· Rifle Club had got started as early as 1863. From 1870 to 1876 no volunteer force was recorded, however on May 3rd 1877 an appeal was made for volunteers for a force of 1,000 men.

The Force was a follows

Adelaide Mounted Rifles 1 Coy

Adelaide Artillery

Port Adelaide Artillery

Adelaide Rifles, composed of a company from the metropolitan area, Kapunda, Gawler Saddleworth and Clare.

From 1877to 1897 little is known of Rifle Club History, however amongst a lot of other early records there is a Kapunda Rifle Club score book dated 24h of March 1897 – Feb 14th 1906 which is still in good condition and contains names of local rifle shooters and the clubs and events which took place during that period .One of the first shoots recorded was against Cyclists Club in Adelaide. Kapunda Club still shoot against Cyclists club today.

Some of the clubs competed against were as follows

NB. Some of these events were known as postal shoots and shot on the Club’s own ranges, the scores recorded, and duly posted to the opposing clubs where scores were compared and a winner declared. This system of competition is still conducted today, Kapunda Club having recently competed against a club in Tasmania,

Voral Rifle Club 1897 (Pt Adelaide) won by KRC by 74 points Orroroo Club August 1897 Won by Orroroo by 5 points

Watervale Club Sept 1897 Won by Kapunda 641-572

Renmark  Club 6 Nov 1897 won by Kapunda 134 points

Renmark Club 6 Nov 1897 won by Kapunda 134 points

HMCS Protector April 30th 1897 fired at Kapunda draw 670-670

HMCS Protector May 1898 fired at Pt Adelaide win for Protector  106 points

The Register (news paper) 28th Dec 1898 at Pt Adelaide win for KRC 31 points

In 1904 it appears that Mr J.H. Sampson reported having visited staff office (Army) and Pt Adelaide Range and exhibited a model of a shutter Target which he was employed by Kapunda Rifle Club to make and erect at Kapunda Range, it is believed that this type of target carrying machine is still being used at Pt Adelaide but was replaced by Kapunda in 1988 when new type cantilever machines were built and constructed by voluntary labour .6 machines of this type are now operating on Kapunda range. One of the old Target machines is now at the Kapunda Museum.

It was in 1904 that all (M H) Martini Henry Rifles were called in and returned to staff office, it was at this time that the first 4 MLE Lee Enfield rifles were obtained on loan and allocated to Messrs Captain Hooper, A Patterson, C Scandrett and JH Sampson.

Whilst at this stage there is no official information as to the origin of our Rifle Club property it seems as if it may have been a gift from a deceased estate the land title for which is dated 1902.

The Kapunda Rifle Club incorporated became the official owners of the property in 1981 after the passing of the trustees. This makes the Kapunda Rifle Club one of the few rifle clubs in South Australia and perhaps in Australia to own their own property and would account for the Club still being active, while other clubs unfortunately for them have been on private land when the ownerships changed and found themselves without a range. Angaston, Eudunda, Truro and Tanunda clubs possibly suffered this kind of end and have now transferred their shooting activities to Kapunda.

Today Kapunda Rifle Club has members from Kapunda  Angaston,  Nuriootpa, Tanunda, Gawler and Gomersal.

A new club house was built and opened by the late Sir Condor Laucke in 1974 .This club house is built of Besser bricks and by entirely volunteer labour. It is regarded by the rifle shooting movement as one of the best in South Australia.

Our property now has the pleasure of the presence of Kapunda Pistol Club who are a very progressive and enthusiastic body. They have built at their own expense excellent shooting facilities and are welcomed as fellow shooters to Kapunda rifle range.

the new clubhouse

At a meeting chaired by Capt. Mick Shemmeld held at Greenock on 27 November 1972, it was resolved that a Club-house be built on the Kapunda Rifle Range.

Messrs. Robert Hornsey, Roy Helbig, David Pumpa and Werner Moesing were instructed by the meeting to draw up suitable plans for a Clubhouse measuring approx. 40’ x 28’.

Treasurer John Boyce was to arrange .the finance and several members offered interest free loans to start the project.

Donations were received from the Tanunda Rifle Club, the Trustees of the Kapunda Rifle Club land and Mrs. & Mrs. G. Ahrens.

In July 1973 work commenced on the new building and the raft foundation was laid with builders Helbig & Maesing in charge.

Brick work-commenced several weeks later and after many weekends of voluntary work by members and wives etc., the building was completed in March 1974, and was officially opened on May 1st, 1974 by the late Senator Condor Laucke, at our Annual Prize Shoot.

A credit to all who were involved.

All loans were fully repaid to members by December 1978.

                                                                                       (Joe Doddridge).