THE head of a local shooting club has defended the appropriateness of an event this weekend, marking the 100th anniversary of Anzac.
The Goulburn branch of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia is holding its ‘Try Shooting’ day on Sunday.
In pre-publicity, president Ken Kenchington said the event was in honour of the men and women who enlisted in World War One.
“We are dedicating our first ‘Try Shooting’ day to those local Anzacs who would have taken their first shots before heading off to France and Egypt in 1914 and on to Gallipoli in 1915,” he said.
But some members of the community have questioned its appropriateness, one day after the commemorations.
Mr Kenchington said it was entirely proper.
“I can’t think of anything more appropriate,” he told the Post.
“The boys who went to war from Goulburn trained at that very rifle range. It is very historic and a lot of people don’t realise the role it played.”
Mr Kenchington, who served 15 years as an aircraft fitter in the Royal Air Force, said he was entirely comfortable with the timing. Goulburn MP Pru Goward had told him she would turn up and Mayor Geoff Kettle and Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson had also told him it was “a great idea.”
“People who say it’s not appropriate would be anti-guns,” he said.
“I think they should direct their remarks to computer games that award people points for shooting people in the street.
“We are all about safety and how to handle guns in the real world.”
Mr Kenchington argued the day was fun, competitive and over time, the club taught vital gun skills. He will oversee the event as a safety instructor.
He told the Post he’d only had positive reactions from people wanting to come and try.
It’s the club’s second such event. The last one in October attracted some 70 people, more than expected.
“It should be a nice day for every one. The fact that it is one day after Anzac Day has nothing to do with it, but since it is, we think it’s appropriate,
“...If the Anzacs didn’t have guns, a hell of a lot more of them would have been killed.”
Mr Kenchington is also well known for his military paintings, some of which feature in the Rocky Hill War Memorial.
His most recent, ‘Morning Greetings,’ depicts Australian soldiers in the trenches at Gallipoli.