History of the Darwin Clay Target Club
The Darwin Gun Club (DGC) was formed in 1961 and was located at the old site behind the Darwin showgrounds in Winnellie. The first clay target club in the NT was established in Alice Springs during the early 50’s. The Rum Jungle Gun Club operated from 1958 to 1959 at the small uranium-mining township of Batchelor. I understand that most Rum Jungle Club members became foundation members of the new Darwin club and trap machinery was moved up to Darwin from Batchelor.
Darwin Gun Club managed to get off to a financial start by leasing out part of the grounds as a quarry. This quarry later became the site of the first Sporting Shooters Association of Australia range in Darwin. Other shooting neighbours included the Darwin Pistol Club and the Darwin Rifle Club.
In 1975, the club hosted its first annual shoot an event that has become well known around Australia in clay target circles and still continues today. During the early 1980s the NT Government indicated that all the above shooting clubs would have to eventually vacate their premises at Winnellie due to a proposed new road (Tiger Brennan Drive). Committee members of the DGC approached the other shooting clubs in an effort to gain a joint approach to government to establish a combined shooting facility. At the time, the other shooting clubs did not seem interested so the DGC alone approached the government with a proposal that they would be prepared to shift if the government would finance world class shooting facilities at an appropriate site. Coincidentally, the Darwin City Council approached the DGC to see if they would be interested in a shift to Marrara at the planned Marrara sports complex (At that stage the Council had control of the complex but was having difficulty convincing other sport clubs to move there. The NT Government has since resumed control of the complex that has now been developed into a world class sporting precinct).
DGC moved across to its current site on Abala Road, Marrara Sports Complex during 1982/83. The government was indeed generous in its support providing a large demountable from the old Darwin Hospital as a clubhouse at no cost and also a series of direct grants. The 1983 annual shoot was the first held at the new site and was a major success. Over the years the club has been able to develop its facilities to a level that is unmatched in north Australia or indeed any club in Australia of similar membership. It currently boasts of four down the line layouts, Three American skeet layouts, one Olympic skeet layout, one Olympic trap (trench) layout, one Olympic double trap layout, a tower and finally a 5-stand sporting clays layout all set within landscaped grounds within a short driving distance of the majority of Darwin residents and near the international airport.
The club has hosted one Australian International Sporting Shooters Federation National Championships, several Arafura Games international championships and hosts NT Championships on a roster basis with other NT clubs.
In 1994, the Darwin Gun Club changed it's name to Darwin Clay Target Club Inc. There have been suggestions by the previous NT Government that the club should move to the Mickets Creek combined shooting complex but that appears to be on hold for the foreseeable future.