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EXHIBITION RIFLE MEETING.

THE N.Z.R A. TO HAVE CONTROL,

A largely attended meeting of volunteers was held in the officer’s room, Garrison Hall, last evening to consider the question of holding an intercolonial rifle meeting in Dunedin during the Exhibition season. Lieutenant-colonel Hill Jack presided, and there were present —Major Gordon, Captains Proudfoot, Milne, M'Nab, M'Leod, Muir, Montgomery, Surgeon Will, Lieutenants Dunne and Murray, and about fifty men. Captain E. Wilson (formerly of the City Guards and Port Chalmers Navals) was also ia attendance. The Chairman apologised for the absence of Colonel Wales, who was too unwell to be present, and asked him (the speaker) to preside. As he had not been at the previous meetings when the question of holding a rifle gathering in Dunedin during the Exhibition period was discussed he would be somewhat at a disadvantage in dealing with the business in hand. What had been done in connection with the matter would, however, be gathered from correspondence which had taken place, and which he would ask Captain Proudfoot to read to the meeting. ...... Captain Proudfoot (secretary to the loca, committee) then read the following corres pondence: —

Dunedin, 4th March, 1839. Captain Sommerville, Chairman New Zealand Bifle Association. Dear Sir,—At a meeting of volunteer officers, held on the 2nd inst., it was decided that it was desirable to hold an intercolonial rifle meeting at Dunedin during the Exhibition season; it ■was also resolved to ask the co-operation of the New Zealand Rifle Association, and as interim secretary I was requested to write you ou the subject. The officers were glad to see that the bolding of a rifle meeting here at that time has your sympathy, and I have to ask you to be good enough to bring the matter before the members of the New Zealand Kifle Association at the Blenheim meeting. The intention is that this affair thould be an additional draw to the Exhibition, and it is hoped that It will be looked at as for the good the colony, and be made, as I am sure it will, a big success. , ~ . It is thought the Government could be induced to give a liberal subsidy to this meeting on account of the special purpose for which it is held. A Finance Committee was appointed at the meeting, and will commence collecting this week, and Colonel Wales intends writing the officers commanding districts, asking them to form local committees in their several districts to collect funds and otherwise assist the scheme. The weapon proposed to be used is the new rifle at present being issued to the British Army, if gossible to get it, aud steps to this end have eon taken. If this rifle is obtained it should be an immensedraw. It would give the meeting an additional attraction if the New Zealand Rifle Association would permit their champion belt and other trophies to be fired for The Kew Zealand Exhibition and Intercolonial Rifle Meeting was the name thought most suitable by the meeting, and it is proposed to ask you and the Council of the New Zealand Rifle Association to become members of the General Committee and to form local committees or to aid ■uoh sub-committees as may be formed in your own districts to assist the meeting. A copy of the * Daily Times ’ accompanies this, so that von may flee the resolutions that were passed* J There alao appears in the STAB an extract from a letter written by you, in winch the officers were pleased to see the interest you were taking in our project; but it was preceded and followed by some comments rather derogatory to our local efforts and entirely unfounded. However, as I have said, we are all glad to see that we are to have your hearty co- operation in any scheme wo may bring forward to getupameeting which will bring competitors from the other side,” and trust you will not be by the narrow spirit shown in the article referred to, , No details of the scheme have yet been suggested, nor is It intended to do more than collect subscriptions (nothing can be done without the . sinews of war) until your Council and Association have discussed the matter ftt the Blenheim meeting and have determined

to the assistance you will give us, after which it is proposed to proceed vigorously with the preparations. .. Wishing you a successful meeting at Blenheim,—l am, etc., George 0. Proudfoot (Captain B Battery N.Z.K.A.V.), Secretary pro tern.

Wanganui, April 2,1889. Captain Proudfoot, B Battery, Dunedin. Hear Sir, contained in your letter of March 4, I brought I bin- nutter of the propose..: Jubilee Exhibition Rifle meeting before the annual meeting of members of die Association, and I have mum I ~!(amu'c: in informing you that tho meeting •nunimoit.-ly docid-d that the next meeting ot die Absolution should 'no held in Dunedin at euoh time and place as would fit in with tho i wishes of the Exhibition Commissioners, _ I I quite agree with you that an intercolonial, rifle meeting will bn an additional draw to the Exhibition, and if we can only get tho Govern- | ment to assist us with a vote from the House, i we can, I am sure, offer a programme that will bring over competitors from all the Australian colonies. Ihe question of weapons at tho present time appears to me the greatest trouble wo have to overcome. At first I was afraid that the usual delay in obtaining an answer to the application for the new weapon might throw our men into a veiy limited time for practice with the weapon that at last we should be forced to use ; but the department informs me that an answer will be cabled within the next four weeks stating whether 500 of tho mnv weapon can or cannot be obtained. Failing this, 100 Martinis are to be sent out. These can be purchased from the Government or issued on loan for the meeting. . Muchas I hope to see tho new rifle used at our meeting, I can foresee that the Austra’ian contingent will object to use it in any intercolonial match fired in Dunedin. You may take it for granted that neither Tasmania, Victoria, nor New South Wales will risk the high position they hold as shooting men in competing with a weapon which they have not had time to study. In ini vidual contests they might do so, but not where the honor of their colony is at stake. . , „ .. . I have written to the chairmen of South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales Rifle Associations informing them that wo purpose holding an intercolonial meeting in connection with the Dunedin Exhibition, probably in December next, and expressing our hope to see a team from each colony. Details and advance programmes will be forwarded as soon as possible. I hope that Colonel Wales will, as you .uate in your letter, ask commanding officers of districts to push the matter on. I, for my part, will do all I cm to make the meeting the biggest success the colony has ever seen. I will write you again during the coming week giving you all the information I can, and a rough estimate as to the programme that could be issued, based on a certain number of competitors. Please tell Colonel Wales that I will write him within a few days.—l am, etc., Joe Reginald Sommerville, Chairman N.Z.E.A.

[Telegram by Lieutenant-colonel Wales.] April 8,1889. Your letter to Proudfoot does not reply to our Committee’s inquiiies. Please read again and reply categorically. Will call meeting upon receipt. , , , N. Y. A. Wales, Lieutenant-colonel.

Wanganui, April 10,1889. Dear Colonel Wales,-I jeceived your telegram yesterday when in town, but, not having Captain Proudfoot’s letter with me, I was unable to answer as you wiihed; but now that I have half an hour to spare I will do so, ami will go into details on tho meeting generally, in order that wo may arrive at some conclusion as to programme and prizes. The first question in Captain Proudfoot s letter is “ that it would give the meeting an additional attraction if the New Zealand Association would permit their champion belt and other trophies to be fired for.” The answer to this of course “goes without saying. We decided to hold the meeting in Dunedin for that purpose, and at such time as will suit the Exhibition Committee. The belt, I think, however, could not be open to all comers, as it has hitherto been fired for by volunteers, but our cups can certainly bo open to tho world under our usual conditions. _ The name comes next, and this, I think, might be altered—somewhat like this: New Zealand Rifle Association’s Jubilee Exhibit! n Mee'ing or Intercolonial Meeting. Anything of this kind would, I think, suit all parties-the more prominence we can give to the Exhibition the better. Then “it is proposed to ask you audthe Council of the New Zealand Rifle Association to become members of the General Committee, or to aid such committees as may bo formed in your own district to assist meeting.’ This, I think, does not now require an answer, as we have decided to hold our annual meeting to suit the Exhibition, and consequently we will do our best to make tho thing a success, workir g with the Dunedin Local Committee light loyally. The other part of the letter is taken up with reference to some paragraphs that appeared in the Dunedin papers ; but these, I presume, are now dead and buried, and there is no necessity to rake these up again. We are now on tho proper path to make tho thii g a success, and, I trust, will keep to it right through. lie Funds.—We have a good precedent to go on in asking for a vote from the House. The Victorian Government granted L 2,000 in addition to the annual vote of L 1,030, in order that the Victorian Rifle Association might get out an attractive programme for the Centennial meeting: and as we had no vote this year, we can ask that it may be added to tins year’s vote, making L 1,003. Subscriptions from all parts of the colony will amount to LSOD; and this with, aay, 400 competitors (t expect 500) will give us a money programme of L 2,500, open to all comer i. This is LBOO in excess of the Victorian programme.

THE INTERCOLONIAL TEAM MAT.'H. This, of course, will be the big event, of our meeting, and X would suggest that the Exhibition Committee should offer a shield of some value, made by local tradesmen, and well exhibited previous to the competition; and, in addition, that the Association should give LIOO in money to the winning team, and, if possible, LSO to the second. This is rather ahead of the Australian meetings, and would induce competitors to come over, always supposing the steamer fares were at a low rate. Individual Matches.—These want talking over, and I would be glad to have your opinion as to the number, and also the time which the meeting should take up. The ranges will depend a good deal on the weapon, but even with the Martini we can go up to I,oooyds, Military Camp and Review.—This, of course, will be entirely under your control; but I will do my best to induce as many corps as possible to attend it, and, if possible to obtain a good steamer, will try and bring my troop down a’so. We have gone to Nelson, and it only means a few horns longer from Wellington to Lyttelton, I should also advise that you should occupy the same position as Colonel Templeton did at the Centennial meeting-that is, take command of the meeting. Range, Catering, and Canteen. -These, I think, should bo left entirely in your hands, as you best know the locality, and would, of course, take the best suited, both for public and competitors. I don’t suppose Musselburgh would bo suitable, being rather contracted ; but there are plenty of places on the Taieri. 1 do not know who are upon your committee, but, if I might offer a suggestion, it would bo that you should have a good representation of shooting men, including the captains of all your corps. They will help you gieatly in many ways, knowing, as they do, the feeling of the men, who, after all, are the main factors in the success of the meeting. Should I have emitted anything that you required for your meeting, a wire will always catch me in Wanganui on Wednesday or Saturday (I live twelve miles out of town); and, as I expect you to get this on Tuesday morning, you will have time to wire me and get an answer any time on Wednesday. —I have, etc., Job Reginald f ommerville, Captain, Chairman N.Z.R.A.

The Chairman said that it would be seen from these letters that the questions to be decided were (1) Whether the rifle meeting was to be an out-and-out New Zealand Rifle Association’s meeting, or a combination of that Association with other shooting men ; (2) the name of the meeting; (3) if it was decided that there should lie a mixed committee to manage the meeting, how should it be composed; and (4) the question of raising ways and means. The rest was very much matters of detail. The principal question was whether the meeting should be held under the auspices of the New Zealand Rifle Association, or whether that Association should coalesce with other people and make it a colonial meeting. Sergeant Fredrio (North Dunedin Rifles) _ Might I ask, Mr Chairman, what is the real 5 question before the meeting ? The Chairman : Well, I have just tried to explain that—First, the advisability or otherwise of holding a rifle contest during the Exhibition season in Dunedin. That is the real question, and close upon that comes the question of what it shall be. Whether it shall be one purely under the auspicep of the New Zealand Rifle Association as an Association penning down hero and taking tn.o whole responsibility of the thing, or whether that Association will with _ other shooting men in the colony with a view to

making it as it were a colonial or national meeting. That is the main point. Sergeant M'Oarthy (City Guards): Will the men who have been holding these previous meetings in Dunedin give us some reason why this Exhibition meeting should not be held in Dunedin under the auspices of the New Zealand Rifle Association?— (Applause.) The Chairman appealed for an answer, but none was forthcoming. Sergeant Fredric raid that the New Zealand "Rifle Association, at their annual meeting at Blenheim in March last, had decided to hold their meeting in Dunedin during l!.o Exhibition season, and the only (jueslion seemed to him to he who should conduct the meeting—the New Zealand Rifle Association, which was a national organisation, or some other body ? Captain Muir moved—“ That an intercolonial rifle meeting be held in Dunedin ip connection with the opening of the Exhibition,” He considered it unnecessary to say anything in moving this motion. Sergeant Crawford (City Guards) seconded the proposal. Sergeant Fredric moved, as an amendment, the addition of the following words : —“That, inasmuch as the New Zealand Rifle Association have decided to hold their, next meeting in Dunedin, those present heartily co-operate with them with the view of making the meeting a success.”—(Applause.) The amendment was immediately withdrawn in favor of the following, proposed by Captain M'Nab (North Dunedin Rifles): “ That, in the opinion of this meeting, the sole conduct of any rifle meeting to be held in Dunedin during the Exhibition should be in tho hands of the New Zealand Rifle Association.”—(Loud applause.) In speaking to the amendment, Captain M'Nab said there was to be a Rifle Association meeting in Dunedin whether those present concurred in it or not. That had been decided by the New Zealand Rifle Association, and so the motion that had been made was unnecessary. Tho chief reason why the prize-firing should bo under a local committee seemed to be that a considerable sum of money would be available for any local committee ; but so far as he could see—and he had made inquiries widely—the same amount of money, if not more, would be available to the New Zealand Rifle Association. —(Applause.) He had Colonel Wales’s statement to the effect that if the Association weie able to raise such a sum of money as was necessary to run the Exhibition meeting in Dunedin, he (Colonel Wales) was perfectly willing to fall in with their views. —(Hear.) Whether Colonel Wales would go so far as to say that the Committee that had been already formed would work as a sub-committee of the New Zealand Rifle Association he could not say, and did not think it probable he would. The New Zealand Association had intimated that they were going to hold their meeting in Dunedin, and that as it was to be held here the local Committee would have nearly the sole management, collecting money, fixing programme and details ; Colonel Wales to have command of the camp, but leaving the Executive Committee of the Association during the time of the meeting to decide those matters which would be left to it if the Association’s meeting were in any other part of the colony. With this exception the whole management was to be in the hands of the Dunedin Committee of the Association, but the understanding must be that it was the New Zealand Rifle Association’s meeting. It must be borne in mind that that meeting was going to be held in Dunedin whatever the vote given that night might be. Captain Muir : Rut will it be an intercolonial meeting ? Captain M'Naf. : Call it what you like, but the New Zealaud Association are going to hold such a meeting the like of which has never before been held in the colony.— (Loud applause.) As Captain Sommerville points out, even if the Government contribution is only LSOO, with 400 entries and some L.300 or L4OO raised locally, there would he a programme put forward of L 2,500 in prizemoney. Sergeant Fredric, in seconding the amendment, said that, it having been decided that the New Zealand Rifle Association’s meeting should be held here, every assistance should be given with a view to making it a success. Captain Sommerville, as chairman cJ that Association, had given very great satisfaction indeed. He was familiar witli the working of these meetings, and the attention he bestowed upon the details of shooting made the Association’s contests interesting and pleasing to competitors. They were largely indebted to Captain Sommerville for the position that shooting occupied in the colony, and he would like to see him executive officer at the forthcoming meeting.— (Applause.) Sergeant M'Oarthy thought it was quite unnecessary for a local committee to try to get up a rifle meeting when there was already an association in good working order ready to do the work. It almost seemed that now there was a chance of a big meeting some people wished to have the honor and glory of it. As to what Captain Muir said about wanting an intercolonial meeting, the Victorian Association had held an intercolonial meeting, and it had not been a small one either. Would tho Committee already formed help the New Zealand Rifle Association ? It did not seem to him to matter whether they would or would not; they were not a representative body,, and no one seemed to know who they were. —{daughter,) They were even afraid to disclose their names in the letter written on their behalf to Captain Sommerville. On the amendment being put, Captain Muir and Sergeant Crawford challenged the chairman’s ruling, and urged that it was not a proper amendment. The whole thing was absurd.

Private M'Beatii {Wakari Rifles) was of opinion that the motion was very absurd. It had been decided at Blenheim that there should be a meeting in Dunedin, and" the only question to be considered was that submitted in the amendment.

After further discussion, Captain M'Nab’s amendment was put and declared to be carried unanimously. Gunner Driver (L Battery) then moved, and P.O. Harriiy (Port Chalmers Naval Artillery) seconded —“ That the whole of the members present resolve themselves into a committee to assist the New Zealand Rifle Association in making their meeting a success.”—Carried.

A vote of thanks having been accorded to the chairman, the meeting dispersed after giving three hearty cheers for Captain Sommerville.

At the conclusion of the above meeting the Council of the Otago Rifle Association met to consider a letter received from the chairman of the New Zealand Rifle Association requesting their co - operation with regard to the proposed rifle meeting during the Exhibition season.

It was unanimously resolved, on the motion of Lieutenant Morrison—“ That the request be complied with, and that all possible assistance be afforded to make the proposed meeting a success.”

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Bibliographic details

EXHIBITION RIFLE MEETING., Evening Star, Issue 7907, 15 May 1889

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EXHIBITION RIFLE MEETING. Evening Star, Issue 7907, 15 May 1889

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