At an informal gathering of well-known deerhunters on August 18 1969 in Ringwood Victoria, a proposal by the Sporting Shooters Association to form a deer hunting association was discussed.
It was decided to organise a public meeting to see if this proposal had merit and subsequently it was held at the Elderly Citizens Hall in Camberwell. That it was so well attended indicated how timely the move was. There was lively discussion and an affirmative response but the proposal failed, primarily because membership of the SSAA was made a first requirement.
A further public meeting, also well attended, was held on September 5 1969 at the same venue and the Australian Deer Hunters Association came into being.
The first office bearers were: President, Kevin Kincade; Vice-President, Arthur Bentley; Secretary, Lance Abbey; Assistant Secretary, Neil Patrick; Treasurer, Bob Sheppard. Committee members: Dick Dixon, Bill Pepper, Allan Tough, Ron Marshall, Geoff Freeman, Pat Stratton, Ian Disney, Des Trott and Norm McLeod.
Some years later the name was changed to the Australian Deer Association. The change was not to avoid using the word ‘hunter’ as thought by some members. There were two reasons: it was to broaden the Association’s objectives so that anybody, hunter or not, with an interest in deer could join. At that same time, deer hunting was illegal in Queensland where enthusiastic supporters had established our third branch.
For fifty years the Australian Deer Association has been most fortunate in the outstanding ability of its leaders and the ‘stayers’ of its general membership who have supported them. Today we are an association with active branches in every State and Territory.
Despite current problems in the world of the deer, there are signs that indicate persistence, common sense and rational thought will prevail over irrational dogma.