Davison Range and North Arm Rifle Club History and Beginnings
By Carol Richardson (nee Davison) with acknowledgement to Jasmine Sommer, author of Keen Eye, Steady Hand.
The range as known today as the Davison Range (officially named in 1980) was built by George Broomfield by the Australian Army in 1914. It opened with a timber Mallet, two targets and four mounds ( at 200, 300, 500 and 600 yards), a target shed and two flag poles.
Club records show the range was built on George Frederick Davison’s Dairy in 1914 by the Australian Army. George Davison came to North Arm from Grafton in 1907 and founded the club, serving as the first Honorary Secretary and second Captain for 34 years from 1914 until 1948.
Ranges like The Davison Range where constructed in many country towns from Brisbane to Maryborough during the pre World War 1 period. The Defence department constructed them to enable soldiers to train in rifle and pistol handling and also encouraged civilians to use the ranges to improve their shooting skills.
The North Arm Rifle Club (NARC) was originally called the North Arm Toolburra Club from it’s opening in 1914 until the 1960’s. The official opening of the club was not until the mid 1920’s when the war was over. The opening was held in the cow shed of the dairy farm where the range was located. The photo titled ‘1926 Members’ was possibly taken on this day along with the first shot fired by (Clara Davison, Aunt of Jim & George Davison Jnr)
Club fees in 1916 were ten shillings. This same year members started to subscribe to a telephone fund, but it was a long wait until the Magneto, crank-up phone arrived at the butts in the 1940’s. In 1937 George Davison’s daughter Nellie aged 14, was hired by her father along with a young man named Les Taege to mark targets. They used glue to patch bullet holes made from plain flour and cold water mixed in a peach tin with hot water then added to thicken, and then applied with their fingers. This stick process continued the early 1950’s when patch were cut from old bullseyes with a steel punch.
The NARC was one of many clubs that made up the Lilly District. Others were Nambour, Yandina, Pomona, Cooran, Mooloo, Gympie, Kandanga and Miva Clubs. The Nambour Rifle Club’s range closed in 1948 and relocated to North Arm where they are located today. They brought with them two targets which meant the range now had six targets at 300, 500 and 600 yards.