Katoomba rifle Club history

Taken from the book “From Cascade to Wentworth Creek”

On the 15th June 1889, an advertisement appeared in the Katoomba Times to form a rifle company in Katoomba. A meeting was held on the 9th July 1889 with 35 residents attending. Mr John Fletcher, the Principal of Katoomba College, was elected President with the honorary rank of Captain, Mr A.B. Smith was elected treasurer and Mr W. Blamire-Young was elected secretary. 

In 1893, the Reserve Rifle Companies were disbanded and the Katoomba Civilian Rifle Club was formed. The Club started with 40 men, the rifles in use were Martini Henry .450 calibre and cartridges cost 4d for a packet of 8. 

The range was located in the valley adjacent to the present reservoir (over the Great Western Highway opposite the Marked Tree, between Katoomba and Medlow Bath). The 900 yard mound was up near the railway line and firing was downhill into the targets now under water. 

In 1899 the minutes refer to the new .303 rifle being used in the Club. This rifle was the Magazine Lee-Enfield (long barrel) which would remain the main rifle club firearm for the next 30 years. 

The Explorers Cup was one of many celebrations on the Mountains to mark the centenary of the crossing by Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. It was held on Empire Day (May 28th, 1913) on the Katoomba range. It was a 15 shot match at 600 yards with a 90 minute time limit for 6 man teams. Portland won this event, followed by Parramatta and Peakhill.

1927 was the last year the range at Katoomba was used because improvements to the town water supply required a third dam to be built which meant the target area would be below waterline. The present site of the range at Leura opened in 1930.

The Department of Main Roads surveyed a section of the Great Western Highway in 1966 with the idea of relocating the road further away from the rail line. The road was declared a motorway in 1970 and carried 4 lanes of traffic in 1974. The 700 yard mound had to be moved to facilitate this and became the 600 metre mound in 1982.