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Saturday, 05 June 2010 14:38

Below are some interesting excerpts that paint some of the small picture of the history of Archery in Australia.

1840 October (The Victorian Historical Magazine)

As early as 1840, Wilbraham Fredrick Evelyn Liardet  (1799 – 1878) made an attempt to introduce the pastime of archery, importing the necessary paraphernalia from England.  Lairdet ran an archery club at the rear of his hotel, on the beach in Port Melbourne, “Liardet Pier Hotel “ that later became the “Brighton on the Beach”

1854 October 17 (The Age)

F.A. COX and Co.

FANCY REPOSITORY of 49 Collins Street, East

“Announce the arrival of Bows and Arrows”


1855 January 2nd  (The Port Phillip Herald)

“Drawing the Long Bow - A very pretty exhibition of archery  had taken place near Emerald Hill South Melbourne and the winner being " an American gentleman, whose proficiency in drawing the long bow astonished all beholders. It is intended to establish a club for the purpose of meeting weekly to practice this science during the summer months. “

1855 January 30  (The Port Phillip Herald)

Archery was held at the Cremorne Gardens in Richmond at a 2-day rustic fair.

1855 April 9th  (The Port Phillip Herald)

“Archery - On Saturday April 7th the grand annual meeting of the Adelaide Archery Club came off at the usual practicing ground, upon the Government House domain. The company was numerous and brilliant, comprising families of very respected colonists, amongst whom about a dozen toxophilites of either sex presented themselves as aspirants for honors. Shooting commenced at 4 o'clock, and at its conclusion the Hon. John Morphett, captain of the club, announced the ladies was Miss Henrietta Howard, who marked 166, next in order being 154; and Mr. Thomas O'Halloran among the gentlemen, whose score was 178, beating the second shot by 86. The shooting was generally exceedingly good, far better than previous occasions; a circumstance the more to be noticed, as since the late patroness Lady Young, left the colony, there have been no meetings for practice. We have heard expressed that the Lady Governor Madonnell may except the post of honour, and that under her auspices the meeting may again become regular. Archery is one of the few outdoor amusements in which ladies and gentlemen can join; it is beautiful and inspiring, as those must felt who saw the sturdy Robin Hoods and Maid Marions of the south attacking the rustic appetites the appropriate banquet which awaited the conclusion of the contest. It was spread in woodland style upon the freshly springing grass beneath the shade of the deserted mansion, and wanted neither laughter nor frolic to add zest to its enjoyment. At sunset the gay party, numbering more than a hundred, retired to the house, dancing shortly commenced. The German brass band was engaged for the occasion, and the evening passed off as merrily as the day, but its pleasures were necessarily abridged on account of the morrow being Sunday. Most of the company retired at 10 and all was silent in another half-hour. The prizes are solid silver penholders in form of arrows, made by Mr. Firnhaber of North Adelaide.”

1855 October 8th  (The Port Phillip Herald) Advertisement

Archery! Archery! Archery! – Bows and arrows, all sizes and prices.

Brunswick Bazaar – 65 Swanston Street.

1856   (John Butler Cooper, The History of  St. Kilda)

Miss Henrietta Jennings won the archery competition at Government House, Toorak when

Sir Henry Barclay was Governor. She was then eighteen years of age and, a member of the

Alma Archery Club.

1856  Monday October 8 (The Port Phillip Herald) Advertisement

To the Officers of the Garrison and Sporting Gentlemen

S. HACKETT , 76 Queen Street beg to announce the arrival of the best London archery goods

1856  Monday October 8 (The Port Phillip Herald) Advertisement

To the Officers of the Garrison and Sporting Gentlemen

S. HACKETT , 76 Queen Street beg to announce the arrival of the best London archery goods

1857 September 5th    (The Herald) Advertisement

Fishing rods and every description of tackle, ARCHERY in every variety.

LEVY BROS, Queens Arcade

1857 October 6  (The Herald) Advertisement

The weeks sports –“BELLS LIFE “– published every Saturday, 6d from the Herald office

“Reported on the Grand National Archery meeting.”

1857  November     ( John Butler Cooper, The History of St. Kilda Volume 1)

Archery in the Victorian era enjoyed a revival as a popular pastime amongst ‘gentlefolk’. The ladies of Melbourne were not behind their British sisters in the love of ‘making a clout’

In November, 1857 a meeting was held  at the Terminus Hotel, St.Kilda, to form the Royal Victorian Archery Club. The Hon. Major Hodgson, M.L.C, was the leading spirit; Major Richard Nash was in the chair. Amongst those present at the archery meeting were Benjamin Cowdrey, Dr. Black, W. Fairfax,

T.J. Crouch, G. M. Harris, R. Kerr, M. Mitchell, E. Sandford, F. T. Sargood and G. Windsor.

The initiation fee for ladies was fixed at 10/6, gentlemen 21/-, with an annual subscription of 21/-.

Patrons                  His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, KCB   Governor of Victoria

Sir W. Foster Stawell,                                  Chief Justice

President               Hon. Major Hodgson,                                 Member of the Legislative Council

Vice Presidents’   William Henry Archer,                                Assistant Registrar of Victoria

Benjamin Cowdrey,

R. Kerr

Treasurer               T.J. Crouch           

Hon. Secretary      W. Fairfax

1857 December 19     (John Butler Cooper, The History of St. Kilda Vol. 1)

The Royal Victorian Archery Club opening archery meeting took place on Saturday afternoon.

On the park ground at Fitzroy Street, near the railway Station. The ground was not fenced in along the frontage to Fitzroy Street, but the club was in hope that a fence would be placed there without necessary delay. Six straw targets were erected and spaced at 30, 50 and 60 yards.

The meetings social eminence was stressed The ‘principal families of Melbourne’ were represented.

The men wore broadcloth, white gloves and black belltopper hats, the ladies hats were floral gardens, and their fair limbs were hooped in crinolines. The number present was estimated at 300, all of the women being more or less bright roses, that did not blush unseen, in the social life of Melbourne that found at that time, its most tense expression in fashionable Melbourne.

Flags were suspended from the branches of gum trees, and the band, of the 40th. Regiment played during the afternoon.  In the afternoon a strong southerly wind was blowing, accompanied by the odd shower of rain. It was arranged that the ladies were to shoot for the captaincy of the club on the following Saturday

The name of the club as first proposed, and advertised, included the word ‘Royal’. Representation was made by the vice-regal authorities, the word could not be used without permission of the Queen.

The members therefore abandoned the use of the word ‘Royal’, and described themselves as members of the “Victorian Archery Club”

A one-time St.Kilda resident Miss Clara Asinall, said: “It was once a privilege to be at an Archery party, at which one of the guest wore a 30 guinea bonnet!”

1858 February 16 (The Herald)

“His excellency, the Governor has stated his intention to be present and is hoping that his example will have the effect of inducing as large attendance on the backs of the Saltwater river as to be found at the Archery meeting.”


The Alma Archery club was formed with a membership limited to 60 persons.  Its range was situated at the corner of Alma Road and Chapel Street St.Kilda.


A "Ladies Guide to Archery" was published in Melbourne.

1859 September 29th    (The Herald) Advertisement

Grand Caledonian gathering at the Zoological gardens, Melbourne on Friday & Saturday October 7 – 8.

The competition will commence at 12 noon.

Archery – A gold arrow (Ladies and Gentlemen competitors).

The archery club regulations to be observed, under the supervision of Claud Parie, Esq

1860 November 18   (The Herald)

“Yesterday, the birthday of the Prince of Wales, was celebrated by Sir Henry and Lady Barkly at Toorak. Invitations for a lawn party had been issued to a large number of guests.  On arrival guests passed through the drawing room into the beautiful grounds which were laid out with marquees and ARCHERY fields”

1862 February 4 (The Herald)

“Yesterday was a great day with the Foresters, About 10am a good muster took place in town, with a procession through the streets to the Richmond Cricket ground. A variety of amusements took place

with about 200 persons present. The archery prize was won by Pilchoir, Hudson second.”

1862 March 13 (The Herald) Advertisement


St.Kilda Gardens on Saturday March 15th,

Games will include ARCHERY, croquet etc, etc.

1862 December 15 (The Herald) Advertisement

Caledonian Games

Will take place at The Port Phillip Farmers Society, Melbourne on Boxing Day 26th December.

Games will comprise - ARCHERY, fencing, football, foot races, standing high leap, hurdle races and putting the shot.

1862 December 31 (The Herald) Advertisement

Williamstown Botanical Gardens, New Years Day

Amusements of every description including ARCHERY, music, dancing, fireworks etc

Admission 1 shilling, children 6 pence.

1863 January 2   (The Geelong Advertiser)


The society’s annual gathering designates the various sports under its auspices – “Highland Games”

The archery event (4entries) First prize: A.C. McDonald, Second prize: J. Middlemise

1864 December 23  (The Herald)

“At Ballarat immense preparations are in progress for the  “Fete al Fresco” which will take place in the Botanical Gardens on Boxing Day. An archery ground 100 yards in length has been laid out, and on each side at tent will be erected – one for ladies and another for gentlemen.”

1866  April 3   (The Herald)

“The Collingwood Sports – The Easter Monday sports took place and the four prizes for archery were awarded in the following to J. May, S. May, J. Duff and F. Dove, there were 12 entries.”

1869 October 23

The Melbourne City Council

“The question of whether occasional Archery practice should be allowed in a portion of Fawkner Park has been raised.”

1869 November 27 (The Herald) Advertisement


– Including bows and arrows, targets, stands, quivers, armguards, gloves etc.


1873 November 11 (The Herald)

“New Government House and Grounds

This modern “Tower of Babylon” is accommodating brick upon brick, and has reached its second story.

A large lawn is to slope where the vice royalty will have its archery grounds.”

1878 August 27 (The Herald)

“It is not surprising that Archery has become so popular when we consider how many persons have a weakness for drawing the long bow.”

1881 November 26 (The Herald)

“The pastime of archery is being revived in the old country and on the continent, I really wonder that it has not taken hold in this colony, where we enjoy as a rule such favorable weather for outdoor recreation,

As a “ladies sport” archery stands high, It is not merely that there is great pleasure in the exercise of skill and the triumph of the successful competition, but archery is a pastime especially favorable to flirtation – lawn tennis cannot hold a candle to it. There are hundred and one opportunities of spooning at an archery meeting which are not affordable in the practice of any other of Cupids swindles. The lady wishes her bow bent. How is she to fix the arrows? All the little details are titillation’s of flirtations, hand pressing, and eye glancing. How then, comes it to pass that our fair ones have not introduced archery in the practice of which in the old world so many of Hymen’s ready victims have been accrued. I am sure a hint is needed to prompt our beauties to take up the idea.”

1883  September 1 (The Herald) Advertisement

The Melbourne Sports Depot

1 Little Collins Street Melbourne next to the Colonial bank.

For requisites for ARCHERY.

1886 August 20 (The Herald)

“Yesterday afternoon saw the opening of Christ Church schoolroom at Glenlyon Road, Brunswick

A fund raising fair will not close until the conclusion of the Saturday’s archery event.

1895 February 4 (The Herald)“Archery Accident, at Castlemaine, Saturday.

A young lad was practicing with bow and arrow, he missed his aim, and the shaft entered the eye of a lady related to the Colonial Bank manager, inflicting a nasty wound.  It is feared that her sight of the eye is destroyed