The South Australian Rifle Association (SARA) was formed as a sporting body in January 1861. A list of the people present at the meeting forming the Association reads like a "who's who" of early South Australia, even the Governor's wife was present (she offered a cash prize or "purse" to be used as a prize in the early competitions). While the sporting aspect of shooting was always foremost in the minds of our founders, the requirement for defence was also a great concern and lead to the close association of SARA with the then Colonial Defence forces which carried on until the 1960's.
The Association first started shooting on the South Parklands range. This of course started to get quite dangerous for people from the Unley area trying to get into the city. In 1887 (approx) the Association shifted to what was then known as the Defence Reserve at Port Adelaide, a vast swathe of land extending from the wharves in Port Adelaide around the Barker Inlet and up to Dry Creek. This area was reduced over the years until all that was left was the area we knew as the Dean rifle Range. SARA was a continuous resident of the Dean Range from 1887 until June 2003.
In the late 1980's the Commonwealth Government sold the Dean Range to the State Government. The land had been identified as being required for other uses, and so the Association unfortunately had to move. Thankfully the SA Government, particularly through the Department of Recreation and Sport has been most supportive in our relocation. This support has been in the form of both financial compensation and planning assistance. We are particularly appreciative of this support.
In July 2003 shooting commenced on the newly completed range at Lower Light, approximately 45km north of Adelaide.
The first SA "Kings/Queens Prize competition, the premier shooting event in South Australia, was conducted in 1879 and has been fired at the following locations:-
1887-2002 Dean Rifle Range
2003- Lower Light
The South Australian Rifle Association is affiliated with the National Rifle Association of Australia. Locally we are a member of the SA Shooting Association, the SA Sports Federation, and have a close working relationship the the Department of Recreation and Sport. We also liaise closely with the SA Police on firearms matters.