History of the Werribee Rifle Club
The Werribee Rifle Club was formed in 1902 and has been operating at the Mackereth Rifle Range since 1990.
Historical records show that the Werribee Rifle Club initially on forming in 1902 used the Metropolitan Farm rifle range at Werribee and moved to its own home range at Horseshoe Bend on the Werribee River 9th May 1906 and subsequently at Werribee South (near the RAAF base) in 1981. Members used the Werribee South (Point Cook) range for only a few years up until October 1984 when the club moved to the new premises in 1988.
We have found articles and newspaper cuttings that have provided us with some insights of the shooters and the culture of the club.
One interesting find was an Oath of allegiance which a member of any rifle club had to take before membership was granted. We found this form in amongst our club documents which shows how intricately linked to national defence we were. Members could have been called up in times of war.
The Werribee Rifle Club was operating out of the Point Cook Range and one competition was won by the late Glen Mackereth, then aged 77. Glen Mackereth remains in our memory because of his generosity not only in financial terms, but also in his wisdom in this article "Going on 77". Along with the Victorian Gun Club, Glen Mackereth gave generously to the establishment of the current Werribee International Shooting Complex. It was for this reason that members dedicated the range to Glen Mackereth.
Funds were often raised for charity through competition shoots and one event in 1979 was won by Bill Austin who still remains our club member. From what we understand, this event was held at the Werribee Rifle Range in Point Cook.
Further insight to the Club’s history was a Prize Meeting November, 29, 1981. This particular prize meeting was supported by Tino’s Ballan Holden of Werribee, offering the prize of a Holden Commodore for the perfect score. From our accounts, no one won the coveted prize of the Holden Commodore.
After a short period between 1981 and 1984, we learnt that the Werribee Rifle Club held its final shoot at the Point Cook Range on October, 7, 1984. Whilst we have moved away from the Point Cook location, the original clubhouse still exists.
The closure of the Point Cook Range marked a new beginning. With the financial contributions of Glen Mackereth and the Victorian Gun Club, the Werribee International Shooting Complex was started in 1986 and we still operate in Ballan Road, Werribee.
A significant feature of the new venue was the planting of some ninety-three Aleppo Pines at the Werribee International Shooting Complex. These Aleppo pines are descendants of the Line Pine that stood high above the trenches at Gallipoli and were purchased with the expressed intention of preserving a part of Australia’s history within the local community.