Rob McMaster and Jim BreezeRob McMaster and Jim BreezeThe Queensland Rifle Association has made its first property investment to build a new rifle range as part of a strategy to secure the long term future of target shooting.

In a historic move, the Association has signed off on the $1.3 million purchase of a 358 hectare rural block in Werths Road, Jondaryan where a purpose-built facility will be established for the Toowoomba-based Darling Downs Rifle Club.

 

QRA President Andrew Mayfield said the initiative was aimed to grow the popularity of long range rifle shooting with the installation of the latest technology electronic targets capable of shooting up to 1200 metres.

“We are confident this will be a good investment for the Association and help grow our sport. There is potential to secure other sites in the future,” Andrew said.

For Toowoomba shooting veteran and QRA Director Jim Breeze, it’s an exciting new beginning for the sport after five frustrating years since the closure of the Mount Lofty range on the city’s eastern escarpment.

Rifle shooting at the Mount Lofty range, which is owned by the Defence Department, came to an abrupt halt in January 2011 due to regulation red tape.

The Darling Downs Rifle Club dates back to 1877 and has been at Mount Lofty since 1901.

“Club members have been like nomads since the range closed, travelling to other ranges at Gatton, Crows Nest, Dalby and Warwick,” Jim said.

Andrew Mayfield QRA PresidentAndrew Mayfield QRA President“We have a lot of work ahead of us developing a new range from scratch, but it will be immensely satisfying for rifle shooting to have our own facility.

The Toowoomba clubhouse will be transported from Mount Lofty to the new site with planning now underway for the installation of state-of-the-art electronic targets.

“It will be great to have a 1000 yard competition range when the longest we could shoot at Mount Lofty was only 600 yards,” Jim said.

“The QRA, has shown great faith in underwriting our sport for the long term,” Jim said.

A house on the property is rented and there will be an income stream from farming and grazing activities.

Future plans are to open Jondaryan to other shooting and outdoor sports to develop a multi-use facility for the community. The site is well serviced with power and water and camping facilities will also be established.

Darling Downs Rifle Club captain Rob McMaster said developing a purpose built shooting complex would re-energise the popular sport.

“Our region has produced some of the best shooters in Australia over the years and we want that tradition to continue.

“Rifle shooting is a great sport for both men and women and we planning a major recruitment drive when our new range is up and running, including the many high schools and colleges in the area,” Rob said