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About the Dunedin Clay Target Club

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The Dunedin Clay Target Club has its origins as the Dunedin Gun Club as is understood to be the oldest gun club in the southern hemisphere. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the club was in existence in 1877 and perhaps earlier with the first recorded shoot in the Dunedin area being reported by the Otago Daily Times (ODT) on 24 August 1867 as a pigeon shooting match held at Green Island.

The club was originally situated at North East Valley and has used sites at Tahuna Park, Forbury Park, Green Island, Waldronville and finally settled on its present site south of Waldronville in 1958.

The clubs origins were originally with shooting live pigeons and was one of the first clubs in New Zealand to decide on a "clays only" policy in the 1930's although evidence suggests that the use of clay targets started around 1896 when an advertisement on the ODT called for people interested in forming a club to meet on 5th February 1896. A committee was formed and they quickly decided to adopt the regulations of the American Trapshooting Association.

Around 1919 the club introduced medals for shooters with the highest percentages for the year and live pigeon shoots shoots offering prize money. Despite public criticism they continued until at least 1924 when the A&P Society wrote to the club deploring shooting of live pigeons on its property and canceling its arrangements. This prompted a move to a site in Green Island where two shoots were held in conjunction with the South Seas Exhibition in 1925.

1929 saw the Dunedin Gun Club pioneer Skeet shooting in New Zealand, and was the first club to have a cup presented specifically for it which is still presented today.

During the Second World War the shortage of ammunition, petrol, trophy miniatures and members being on active service saw the shooting program reduced and members travelling to the grounds on scheduled bus services.

Shortly after the war the club sold its land at Green Island and leased 10 acres on Brighton Road which they subsequently purchased in the early 1950's.

In 1958 the club moved to its current site, a 57 acre block at Waldronville, after the Education Department wanted to take a portion of their land under the Public Works Act. In 1960 they constructed a new pavilion to the closed in stage to be finished by club members, and the grounds were officially opened in 1962.

For more history please refer to Targets, Trials and Triumphs, A Brief History Of The Dunedin Gun Club by Gordon Parry.