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The War Years - 1939-40 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 11:31


A tribute to the all the Australian service men and women in all the wars on this

ANZAC DAY  25th April 2011.


extract taken from1940 Archery News, vol 19 No 2 June to July

“An archery letter to Mr Oscar Lunberg of Archery News (U.K.) From Perce Stoken.

My visit to New York will remain one of the highlights of my archery experiences, comparable only with the Grand National at Oxford.  The American archers certainly are a most hospitable race of people and I was lucky enough to be  in time for 2 important tournaments in which I won one small trophy, to my great delight.  Unfortunately the out break of war prevented me visiting San Francisco

where I had been assured of some good shooting as several archers in New York had written to archer friends telling them of my forthcoming visit.  My club mates had ordered a considerable amount of archery tackle from a firm in Oakland, which I was to pick up and carry to Australia.   They eventually had it sent out to them but what with the adverse effect of the war on the exchange rate, freight, etc, they suffered a tremendous increase on the prices they were expecting.   For instance, a yew bow finally costs 13 pounds (Aust).   I think that speaks volumes for the keenness of Australian archers, especially when these archers are for the most part ordinary working men.

As regards of  items of interest for ARCHERY NEWS I fear there is little I can tell you at present.  Archery is a very new sport in this country, although we have a number of people who have been practicing privately for many years.    I had been a One-man archery club for about 5 years before I discovered a small club.  During this time I was entirely self taught, developing my technique by a system of trial and error    At first I tried to use the pinch draw, naturally without success, although I was using a 30lb Lancewood bow.   I discovered first the assisted pinch draw, thinking I was cheating, and later changed to 3 fingers.   I did in fact go through the whole development of the past

centuries in a couple of years.  Still more remarkable is the fact that before I had ever met an archer or had a single word on the subject.      I discovered the point of aim, feeling guilty of a most unethical action and when I joined a club I tried hard to eradicate this evil until after some months were surprised to see the President instructing a young lady in the use of point of aim.     The other members were surprised when my score took a sudden jump of over 100 points in the very next American round we shot.

I was one of the founders of the New South Wales Archery Society, which first met on December 12th 1937.    Since that time we have been instrumental in spreading the gospel of archery amongst the heathen and now there are 5 clubs, 3 in New South Wales, 1 in Victoria and in Western Australia .I think we can claim credit for the formation of all these clubs with exception of 2 by reason of the reams of paper we used in answering enquirers and giving advice and information.   Those letters became such a problem that I set out to write a small book designed expressly for such enquirers and dealing with the unique difficulties confronting the enthusiast in this country.   I have completed the manuscript, complete with sketches and diagrams and today we made the necessary photographs.    I hope to go to press within the next few weeks and I already have received 50 orders.  I do not expect to make a fortune out of it.  I will be satisfied if I clear expenses and if this book furthers our sport it will be recompense enough.    The book is named “ARCHERY IN AUSTRALIA “ and will be dressed in a archer's green jacket with gold lettering and a boomerang and arrow, as it's motif.

Our shooting is not yet of as high a standard as that in England or USA and that is perhaps the reason that I have the honour to be Champion.   I will have to defend my championship on the 21 of this month and although I consider myself to fortunate to return to Sydney in time to compete.

We have not first class bow makers although we are forever experimenting.    One of my club mates found Ivory Wood which he has great hope, the same man discovered Osage Orange and has a stave or two but not sufficient to meet the need of our club.

I'm experimenting with Rami fabric strings, Rami is being grown experimentally in Sydney and it is claimed that it is considerably stronger than linen or flax.

Thank you so much for writing and if I find anything worth reporting I will send it to you without delay.


Perce Stoken



Perce Stoken had left to collect the HMAS Perth from England to Sydney via San Francisco.  He was going to call on Potter and Macquarie of Oakland, California with a list of equipment for the archers of  Sydney and arrange for the discount that had been organised for them to be put into more archery tackle.  (George Scott of the Sydney Archery Club had ordered a yew Longbow and cordovan glove.

At the Start of World War11  the HMAS Perth was used to patrol Australian waters. Before being sent to the Mediterranean at the end of 1940.   There, HMAS Perth was involved in the battles for Greece, Crete and Syria before returning to Australia in late 1941.

In February 1942, Perth survived the Allied defeat at the Battle of the Java sea, before being torpedoed and sunk in the battle of the Sundra Strait.   353 of the 681 aboard were killed.  (wikipedia)

Percy Stoken   Yoeman of the signals/ chief petty officer  14723 RAN    KIA    01.03.1942

(Champion Archer and one of the founding fathers of Archery in Australia.)      R.I.P








This is the HMAS Perth which Perce was a Yoeman of Signals on, his signature can be seen on the bottom of the picture and has a red arrow pointing to it.

The Archery Association of Australia (now Archery Australia) dedicated two perpetual trophies in Perce Stoken's honour, to be awarded to the best National Ladies and Gents Target Champion.

This perpetual trophy continued to be awarded until 1974 when the trophies were suspended.

One trophy is now displayed in the Archery Australia Office, the other can not be located.