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Club 90th Anniversary Press Release

Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle Club

90th Anniversary Celbrations

The Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle Club recently held a luncheon in celebration of its 90th Anniversary at Spilter's Restaurant, The Spit, Mosman.

Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle CLub 90th Anniversary Emma Rusiti and Ray Franklin cut the cake

Ray Franklin and Emma Rusiti cut the cake

Seventy-four members, past members and friends of the Club attended along with special guest Shirley Jenkins, Mayor of Mosman.

The Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle Club was formed on 27th March 1915 in response to the community calling for a Rifle Club to be formed so as to train men in rudimentary military drills before they enlisted in the AIF. Under the Captaincy of Alderman A.D. Walker, the Club membership soared to 707 with 243 of those enlisting. The remainder, usually those too old for active service, spent their time raising funds for Comfort Parcels to be sent to those on the front line and some became involved in building homes with the local Volunteer Workers Association for returned servicemen, or the widows of those killed in service. Sixteen Club members died on active service. The Club members practiced their military drills and miniature shooting at 3 locations in the area, Mosman Oval, Reid Park and the quadrangle of Neutral Bay Public School.

Following the war, the Club members remained together and turned their attention to competitive target shooting. They were soon to become a major force in competition throughout the Commonwealth with many members being selected to represent the State and Australia, as well as winning countless individual and team competitions at home.

The Master of Ceremonies for the 75th anniversary, Neil Gibbins, returned to his role for the 90th and welcomed everyone gathered, especially the Mayor of Mosman, Councillor Shirley Jenkins. The club executive and members were delighted that she could join in the celebration, as the first Captain was the then Mayor of Mosman, Ald A D Walker, a position he held for six years, before becoming President for a further seven.

Other special guests were John Fitzgerald, Chairman of the New South Wales Rifle Association, Bill Barry, President of the Metropolitan Rifle Association, Ray Franklin, Patron of the club Past President Jack Buchanan, present President Graeme Berman, and Daniel Cotterill, Editor of the Australian Target magazine.

Throughout the history of the club, there have only been twelve club Captain, five of whom were present. Rod Evans, 1964-68, Phil Somerville, 1986-90, Mark Rea 1990-96, Steve Negus 1996-2002 and Wendy McGuigan, the first woman Captain, 2002 until the present day.

Club Captain Wendy McGuigan has represented both Australia and New Zealand. Wendy expressed her delight in the group gathered, emphasising how everyone present, had, in some way, had an important impact on the club. She spoke of the honour in being the captain of such a prestigious club, her immense pride in the history, the excitement and challenge of the present, and the hopes for the future, with the Club having a number of enthusiastic and talented young shooters.

Club President, Graeme Berman, spoke of the shooting movement through his own involvement as a member and that of his father, H.W. Berman who landed at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915. Graeme's daughter, Karen, is also a member of the Club, completing 3 generations of family association. Both Karen and Graeme are competing in England later this year.

At the conclusion of formalities, the Club's oldest member, Ray Franklin, who joined in 1936 and serves as the Club's Patron, and the newest member, 17 year old Emma Rusiti, cut a cake to mark the 90th milestone and the countdown to celebrations of the Club's 100th year in 2015.