The Speech given by Neil Gibbins in honour of Graeme Berman
Graeme Berman Final Shot Ceremony at ANZAC Rifle Range on 6 May 2023
Master of Ceremonies Neil Gibbins
Thank you everyone for attending this special final shot ceremony for our good friend Graeme Berman. Interestingly Graeme was not a fan of ceremonies like this. He thought Final Shot ceremonies interrupted the day's shooting, and he loved his shooting. So, Graeme, we will be brief.
I will say a few words and Graeme's daughter Karen will fire the final shot.
We will then pause for a minutes silence to take time to reflect on our own memories of Graeme.
After that you are all welcome to join us in the Mosman Neutral Bay club house for food and drink, something we know Graeme did enjoy.
Graeme died earlier this year at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife of 67 years Moire, their children Peter and Karen, and their extended families, all of whom he often spoke of proudly. Graeme studied chemical engineering and enjoyed a highly successful career in this field. In later years he was a board member of the well-known Blackmore's natural health company.
Graeme had strong views on many subjects, views he often shared via letters to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. Graeme's well-crafted letters were regularly published. His most recent was within the last twelve months.
Graeme followed his father, Bert Berman, into shooting. He joined the Mosman Neutral Bay club in 1947, and was a member for 75 years. He won the club championship 6 times, a great achievement when you consider the roll call of Queens winners and National representatives that Mosman club has produced. Graeme held many positions in the club including club president and was made a Life Member in 1989.
Graeme made a huge contribution to our sport at an administrative level. He was a committee member and treasurer for the MDRA.
He was Chairman of the NSWRA from 1976 to 1979 and then President in the late 90s.
In recognition of this work, Graeme was made an Honorary Vice President and Life Member of the NSW association. But Graeme’s efforts extended further. He was a Director of the Firearm Safety and Training Council and overseas, his influence and contributions were recognized by being awarded Life Membership of the South Africa Bisley Union, and Vice Presidency of both the British Commonwealth Rifle Club and the National Rifle Association of the UK.
When news of Graeme's passing reached the UK, their respect for him was demonstrated by the flags on the NRA office in Bisley being lowered to half-mast.
Graeme was a highly accomplished shooter. He won 5 Queens prizes in Australia and the Ballinger Belt in New Zealand. In total Graeme won 123 Queens badges including 11 in Bisley. He and Moire enjoyed travelling to Bisley every year and he had a huge amount of success there.
When researching this talk, I found this excerpt in the history of Mosman Neutral Bay about Graeme's first Queens win. It reads “In the 1971 Victorian Queens, Graeme Berman, score 348, shot-off with Jim Sweet for the Number 1 Badge. Graeme scored a possible while Jim dropped an inner on his eighth shot to give Mosman its first Queens winner since Ken Lees win in 1953. During the Queens Graeme had the unusual record of not using a sighter”. That is quite a unique achievement.
Graeme won his last Queens, the 1999 South Australian Queens, at the age of 68.
Graeme also loved team shooting at club, state and national level. For 70 years he was a member of the powerful Mosman Neutral Bay grade teams. In 1970 Graeme broke into the highly competitive NSW State Team.
He represented NSW as a shooter 15 times between 1970 and 1985. His Baggy Blue cap is number 338.
Graeme's first Australian Team was in 1974. He was a shooter, Captain or coach in seven Kolapore teams and five Mackinnon teams in Bisley. He was in six Empire teams, now the Australia Match, including two winning teams. In 1976 he was a shooter in the legendary Australian team to Bisley that won the big triple, the Kolapore, in which he top scored, the MacKinnon and the Empire match. Graeme's last representative team was in 2015 where he was Captain of the Kolapore team in Bisley. I know you will all agree this is an illustrious resume of service to, and competition in, our beloved sport of shooting. It has spanned three quarters of a century.
Graeme always enjoyed catching up with club mates and friends on the range and was still competitive as a shooter well into his eighties. In fact, he scored a double possible at the club when he was 86. Daughter Karen would bring him out, he would have a shoot, a beer, and a chat. His last shoot was in February 2020, and I am sure he would have continued had the world not stopped at that time. Graeme continued to be generous with his opinions, advice, and support right to the end.
We all miss his presence on the mound and in the clubhouse.
I will now ask Karen to come forward and fire a Final Shot for Graeme.
We will now have a minutes silence for all of us to reflect on our own personal memories of Graeme and then the target will be lowered for the last time.
Thank you everyone.
Please feel free to join us this afternoon in the Mosman clubhouse for a drink to remember our good friend Graeme Berman.