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Once again we attended the 2017 Open Rendezvous (I am one of the very few to have never missed this event since it started) at the SSAA Captains Mountain shooting complex, (near Millmerran QLD), around 485 hectares of largely cypress pine scrub and forest land with shooting ranges all around the property, ranges for shotgun, pistol and rifle out to 1300 metres, there are plenty of kangaroos and emu’s living on the site, these residents are used to the constant shooting activities around the complex, even with bullets whizzing overhead they just keep eating the grass.
At the notorious kangaroo killing zone in the bushland around Coonabarrabran, we were struck by one. Fortunately for us it missed the car and the new van, but wiped off one of the storage boxes riding on the draw bar before the van.
We set up camp opposite Gordon Ancona and his partner Deb with a shared fire between, Other Victorians, John Giotopoulos (Gio for short), Des McCormack and Barry Macfarlane set up a day camp nearby. And some 10 Southern Cross Free Trappers from Victoria set up camp in the primitive area circling their fire with the camps and many a very good night was had visiting that camp.
The events started out with the Queensland Cannon & Coehorn Mortar State Championships on the first Saturday, this year I missed the event as I couldn’t find enough space to take my Cannon
Sunday saw a cartridge rifle event with a “5 at 200” shoot following the Pedersoli format of tightest group wins, there was one worthy group spoiled by one flier which would have otherwise been a group worthy of submitting for the Pedersoli sponsored award. Everyone had fun doing it regardless of their performance on the day.
Later in the day the next event was a “Buffalo Shoot” with targets from 200 to 600 metres, many shooters were surprised at the interval between firing the shot and the sound of a hit (or lack of sound if you missed) on the life sized buffalo at 600 metres, after this a handful of shooters moved back to try to hit the same target at 1000 metres, there weren’t that many hits on the target.
Don Robinson came by our camp to say hello and goodbye as he was off to Ireland to shoot in the World Gallery Rifle Championships. Our mouths were agog as dear Jan was still in a moon boot healing from her badly broken ankle. We were all assured that plenty of help had been lined up for Jan and all will be well.
Normally on Monday evenings the fire lighting competitions are held with the junior winners lighting the welcome bonfire, however this year rain late on the Monday forced the delay until Tuesday.
The rest of the week was spent with 4 to 6 hours of muzzle loading events each day (if you wanted to shoot all day you could), the 7 am cannon shot roused the camp and indeed anyone within about 5 km radius and you could shoot until the range officer got thirsty if you wanted to.
Events included “Flying Fox” a steel fox profile travelling far too fast across a 10 metre gap, I only hit 1 from 10, the winner managed 7, the “Hole in the Wall” a steel plate at around 30 metres with two key hole shaped apertures with a “flapper” which spun when hit.
A very difficult target, especially as the light changed over the face of the target, the shots which did not go through the hole changed the plate to a rather uniform lead grey colour so to actually see the hole you were trying to put a ball through was extremely difficult, I hit 4 from 12, the winner managed 9 from 12.
Another event was “Pop up Turkey”, two turkey heads which appear from behind a log for a 5 second exposure, either can appear once you call “Gobble Gobble and start walking, sometimes two appear simultaneously so you need to be quick, I have won this event with a perfect score in the past including the tie breaking shoot off but this time only managed 5 from 10, so sad!
Rifle gongs was next, steel shapes hanging from a support in various sizes from relatively large discs about 200 mm down to a block of steel about 50 mm square 10 shots to count, the winner got them all but most others struggled to hit the smallest target at all, there were also musket gongs at varying ranges but restricted to smoothbore flintlock’s in military calibres mostly .69 or .75.
These events went on most days and there were club hosted shoots every afternoon to provide a diversity of events for everyone to enjoy.
Wednesday saw pistol and revolver events contested with flintlock and percussion single shot pistols and cap and ball revolvers and a shotgun shoot for a bit of extra fun.
The last day saw shotgun again but a bit easier this time even though even the top shooters had some difficulty with targets disappearing amongst trees before you could get a shot at them but it was a challenging shoot all round.
We all missed Lily and Pascal Carre this year unable to come due to illness. We know that missing the Millmerran Rendezvous is something they would not do unless totally unavoidable. Our love and best wishes go to Lily for a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you next years Fraser Coast Rondy.
Other off range events included the campfire cooking competitions on the Tuesday
Photo : Judges - Dawn Evans & John Gio
The knife and hawk events were run using a target block cut from an Ironbark tree, if your equipment was not extremely sharp it just bounced out of the log, a big challenge for participants.
Barry Macfarlane arranged an afternoon of practice dancing in the hall on the Friday afternoon when things were a bit quiet on the range. Debra found her waltzing twinkle toes were still able to twinkle in spite of being married to my not movable dancing feet for so many years. Barry gave lessons in the Modern Waltz to John Gio and Norm and Rita who were amazing. Debra and Barry gave a demonstration of the Cha Cha
Vivien Young was there with her wool and felt helping people make hats, other small garments and dyeing the wool. Vivien donated a considerable stock of wools to the crafting group and Wendy Boorman who can be seen here with a loom.
On the Saturday most of us with tin tepee’s and the like decamped to the area close to the Green Room and the Dance Hall ready for grand finale of presentations and the bush dance.
The Bush Dance is a favourite with most attendees, you don’t need to know how to dance as is evidenced by the video clip uploaded on the Queensland Rendezvous Facebook page., this link should provide you with some entertainment. https://www.facebook.com/jan.robinson.9/videos/1686146838070639/
At one point at the end of one dance Gordo seemed to fall, but no, he fooled us all. He was down on one knee proposing engagement to his Deb complete with a beautiful engagement ring. Fortunately, Deb said yes, or the night would have been a bit awkward. And to round the evening off for Deb she not only won her man, she won the best dressed female for the evening.
And finally, the last award of the night was the Dip Stick award as presented by Ron Evans. There were lively contenders this year but in the end only one winner. Ian Pilcher. Ian had for the second rendezvous in a row left his behind his shooter license. So, for the second rendezvous in a row he had to have the license express posted to Millmerran so he could compete. Even Ian recognized he deserved this most prestigious award.
Thank you Jan and team Robinson.
All in all, we had shining times and we will be back next time in two years to catch up on all our old and new friends.
We will also attend the 2018 Fraser Coast Rendezvous next July.
2017 Tamanick Spring Turkey Shoot & Military Camp
Every year the North Eastern Muzzleloaders run a series of events for the muzzle loading enthusiast in September.
There is a Primitive Camp on the 3rd Weekend where the diehards dress up in their finest period costumes and camp in period correct tents and shelters, a bit too rough for me but many relish the challenge and turn up with their flintlocks etc.
On the 4th Weekend there has been a “Spring Turkey Shoot” for the last 30 years, Blackpowder shooters from all the Eastern States and even the occasional Tasmanian and Sandgropers turn up for this, a weekend of muzzle loading events, knife & hawk events and a communal BBQ put on by the club for the attendees, this year there were around 100 happy campers joining in the fun.
The following weekend which can be last weekend of September or cross into the first weekend of October there is a Military Encampment where re-enactors from all over the nation parade in their favoured historical military groups wearing the uniforms of the period, there are shooting events, military drills and parades etc. as well as “Dining In Night” in the clubroom.
Many keen Blackpowder shooters attend all 3 events and some camp over at the range for the three events and do the tourist thing in the area during the week between shoots.