Snippets of SARA history supplied by Jim Caspers
Cockburn (No. 29):
The Club was formed in February 1900 at a largely attended meeting at the Border Gate Hotel. Mr G.T. Polson was elected president and Mr L.H. Newton secretary and about 40 members were enrolled.
When the secretary wrote to the S. A. Government requesting a supply of rifles, the answer was a most emphatic refusal - the weapons could not be obtained under any circumstances. But the secretary at once communicated the discomfiture of the Cockburn Rifle Club to Lord Roberts (chief of the British Military Forces), winding up with a bold request that "Bobs" should forward a sufficient number of Boer Mausers to satisfy the requirements of the enthusiastic club. Lord Roberts replied immediately, congratulating the club on its initiative, and promising to forward the Mausers if possible through the Governor of the colony. The rifles arrived in December, as promised, but no ammunition came with them, and as the Government had not yet supplied Martini-Henry rifles, the club was forced to import Mauser ammunition from Germany. The first practice on the range took place in February, and the first competition in June, 1901.
The range was located on the south side of the highway, just inside the N.S.W. border, and extended out to 600 yards. There was a local legend that the 600-yard firing point was adjacent to the back door of the Border Gate Hotel but it was actually some 300 yards away (not far if you were thirsty). The re-aligned Adelaide-Broken Hill railway line now passes through the middle of the range.
The Club became inactive in 1931, but resumed competitions in 1933.
The Club again became inactive in 1963 and was disbanded in December of that year.
Club funds forwarded to S.A.R.A. in 1970.
The stop butt is visible from the highway and two target frames are still in the target pit.