The Corangamite Shield is a well know competition in rural Victoria with a spectacular trophy. The trophy was first shot for in 1903 so at the time of writing it has been in competition for 120 years.
The competition for the Corangamite Shield was announced on the 28th December 1901 with the trophy donated by James Chester Manifold who was the member for Corangamite in the first Federal Government.
Left: James Chester Manifold M.H.R.
Manifold is described and a pastoralist and philanthropist. Born in 1867 on the family estate Purrumbete near Camperdown. When he inherited his portion of Purrumbete, a property named Talindert, he subsequently let much of it to dairy farmers, who were later able to buy the land on generous terms. He was a director of the Camperdown Cheese and Butter Factory, established in 1891, and its chairman from 1907. Manifold was a keen sportsman, and captained the Camperdown polo team. Manifold started his career in politics as a member of the Hampden Shire Council in the 1890s and was twice president. He was successful in 1901 winning the seat of Corangamite in the first election of the Federal House of Representatives. He did not seek re-election in 1903 owing to ill-health but in 1913 returned to win the seat again defeating James Scullen who was later to be the 13th Australian Prime Minister (1929-1932).
Manifold travelled to England during World War I and volunteered to go to Canada and the United States of America to investigate rehabilitation schemes, and to report on the conditions in military hospitals and camps. He had made land available to returned soldiers in the Richmond River district, New South Wales.
In October 1918 when at sea only one day out of San Francisco, he died unexpectedly from pneumonia and was buried at sea.
THE CORANGAMITE CHALLENGE SHIELD
DESCRIPTION OF THE HAND SOME TROPHY GIVEN BY MR. J. C. MANIFOLD, M.H.R.
he Corangamite Challenge Rifle Shield, presented by Mr. J. C. Manifold. M.H.R., for annual competition among the rifle clubs and mounted riflemen of the Corangamite Electorate is at present attracting a good deal of attention. It is on view at the establishment of Messrs. W. Drummond and Co., Jewellers, Collins Street, Melbourne, who are the designers and manufacturers, and is undoubtedly the finest trophy of its kind which has ever been on view in Melbourne. Made of sterling silver upon a background of polished oak, it cannot fail to attract the eye, and has a bold and most handsome appearance. It stands 3 feet 5 inches in height, and 2 feet 9 inches in breadth, the oak background protruding to the extent of 3.5 inches over the silver portion. Being a rifle shield, the embossing of the silver has been designed accordingly. Pre-eminent on the upper portion of the shield, to the left, is depicted a scene of actual war fare, representing a fierce fight with cannon and rifle; the attendance to the wounded, and general appearance of the soldiers is very realistic and lifelike. Occupying a similar position on the right of the shield, and contrasting with the other, is an embossing showing the rifle in time of peace, with riflemen at target practice. Standing out in relief between these two entrancing scenes is an excellent representation of a Victorian Mounted Rifleman; the whole uniform, bandolier and Lee-Metford rifle are exact copies, the peculiarities of this particular rifle being plainly noticeable. Above, the motto “For King and Empire” is portrayed in bold lettering. The centre of the shield, is occupied in picturing a camping scene, with the tents in the background, the horsemen on their mounts and the men at rifle practice above this portion are the words “Corangamite Challenge Shield”, in raised Letters on a neat scroll, which stretches almost the entire width of the shield; below, on a similar scroll, are the words” Presented by J. C. Manifold, 1902″. The other most noticeable portion is a war emblem of exquisite workmanship, including the British Lion with rifles and flags behind, and a laurel wreath below. A broad band on plain frosted silver separates the embossed portion from the oak background, and is evidently intended for the engraving of the winners from year to year. Altogether, it completes a unique and tastefully designed shield, a most handsome representation of the silversmith’s art. A photograph of the shield is on view at the “Chronicle” office.
The initial competition was a knock-out style where the conditions were decided by a conference of delegates from the various rifle clubs. An article from the Camperdown Chronicle describing the rules is shown below.
CORANGAMITE CHALLENGE SHIELD. DELEGATES FROM RIFLE CLUBS IN CONFERENCE
The conference of delegates from Rifle Clubs in the Corangamite electorate to draft conditions for the valuable trophy given for competition by Mr J. C. Manifold, M.H.R., was hold at Camperdown on Thursday The following were present:-: Captain Satchwell (Camperdown), Captain Hamilton (Mortlake); Captain McGarvie (Pomborneit), Captain McDowall (Lismore), Captain Gubbins (Ecklin), Mr W. Missen (Beeac), Mr A. J. Sitlington (Colac), Captain Arnold (Irrewillipe), Mr R. W. Miles (Moonlight Head), Secretary McKean (Port Campbell), Captain Jordan (Warrnambool), Mr J. Rooney, (Garvoc), and Secretary Hodge (Cobden). An apology was received from Mr H. P. Coy, Terang. It was decided that the group system should be adopted, and that the teams consist of eight men, an amendment by Messrs Missen (Beeac) and Sitlington (Colac) that the number be ten being lost. The handicap system was adopted, and a hearty vote of thanks was passed to Mr J. C. Manifold, M.H.R., the donor of the shield. Following are the conditions:
1. Name.-The Corangamite Challenge Shield.
2. Division of Clubs
A. Cobden, Port Campbell, Ecklin, Timboon, Moonlight Head.
B. Terang, Garvoc, Noorat, Mort Slake, Warrnambool, Mepunga.
C. Irrewillipe, Lismore, Colac, Pomborneit, Camperdown.
D. Birregurra, Apollo Bay, Beeac, Winchelsea, Beech Forest, Lorne.
E. Grenville, Rokewood, Inverleigh, Meredith, Bannockburn.
3. Each division shall be subdivided into two sections; three triangular matches to be fired, one on the range of each club in the sub-division; where five or fewer clubs constitute a division such division to be subdivided ‘into two sections; three matches to be fired, two on the ranges of the clubs interested and the third on a neutral range. Where only two clubs constitute a sub-division the third shoot shall be optional. The surviving team in each section shall fire two matches, one on each range. The aggregate scores of these semi-final matches shall decide the winners of the divisional competitions. The final shoot for the possession of the trophy for the year shall be fired on a range decided upon by the executive.
4. The winning club shall be entitled to have its name, date of win, names of winning team, with aggregate scores, in scribed upon the trophy. Should more than eight members of the club have claims by shooting in an equal number of matches he or they, with the highest aggregate scores, shall be entitled to the places.
5. The number of men in a team to be eight, confined to bona-fide active members of the various clubs. -Each club to enter one team only
6. Ranges-100, 500 and 600 yards; seven shots at each; two sighters, as in the V.R.A. Rules of 1899.
7. The temporary custody of the trophy, after the first year, shall be with the captain or president of the winning club.
8. Should any team fire a match without its full complement of eight men the lowest aggregate score shall be repeated in completing the club’s aggregate; but in no case shall such lowest score be repeated by any club more than twice.
9. The handicap limit system shall be adopted. The clubs shall be handicapped for the first year according to their match shooting since 1st July, 1901. The handicap limit shall be 640 points for the eight men. The handicappers shall be the captain and secretary or the Melbourne Rifle Club, if they will kindly consent to act as such …
10. The rules of the V.R.A. to regulate the practice throughout the competitions; and if a dispute on any point whatever shall arise, it shall be referred to the coach of at Association and its decision shall be final.
11. The year, for the purpose of this trophy shooting, shall commence as at1st March; but if any of the matches are not completed in-any one year, the remaining match or matches shall be carried, over to the following year, and be completed before the then current year’s matches commence. Should any club or clubs persistently fail in mutually arranging a date for any match, the honorary secretary may name a date and intimate the same to the two captains of such clubs; and if either or both teams then fail to attend and be pre pared to shoot, such team or teams so failing shall forfeit their place or places in the competitions,
12. Competitors shall, in each day’s competition, unless in case of accident, use the same rifle at both ranges; but they shall not be debarred from changing their rifle during the progress of the competition for the trophy, so long as they confine themselves to a “Service Rifle” as defined in the programme of the Victorian Rifle Association.
13. Official scoring books are to be used throughout the matches, and the scores are to be forwarded to the honorary secretary without delay by the winning club.
14. Entry money for the first year 5s, to meet incidental expenses.
15. The home clubs shall make all local Arrangements for carrying out the matches to be fired on its range, including marking; but in the case of the matches to be fired on a neutral range the cost of. marking shall be borne equally by the competing clubs, at a cost not exceeding 6d for each competitor, to the number of 16.
16. Should shooting be interrupted by any cause deemed sufficient by the two captains, the match in progress shall be completed on the original range on a date to be agreed upon.
17. In the event of a delay of five minutes occurring between shots from no fault of the competitors, the men then may, if they so elect, start again with a sighter-not to count.
18. Should a visiting team fail to: put in an appearance on the date agreed upon through any valid cause, a second date shall be agreed upon between the captains of the clubs concerned, when, if the visiting team again fail to put in an appearance, the home team may claim a win.
19. Any club having no 600 yard range should be allowed to arrange with other clubs in the division as to where matches falling for its range shall be fired.
20. Entries for the first year’s competition must be lodged with the hon. secretary by 9th February 1902.
21. Each division shall arrange and manage its own divisional competitions.
22. The executive shall consist of the captains of clubs entering for the competitions, three to form a quorum. Hon secretary, Mr J. D. McKellar Camperdown
23. The conditions shall apply to the first year’s competition only. Any necessary alterations or additions shall be made by a conference of delegates from all clubs in the Corangamite electorate.
Not all clubs were happy with the competition conditions and another article appeared in The Age indicating that Terang, Mortlake and Noorat clubs declined to enter.
THE CORANGAM1TE SHIELD.
WARUNAMBOOL. — The Corangamite Challenge Shield, presented by Mr. J. C. Manifold, M.P., for competition’ amongst the rifle clubs in tbc Corangamite electorate, is on view in the town. It was recently manufactured in London at a cost of £209, and stands 3 feet high, is 2 feet 6 inches in width, and is of solid silver, mounted on a handsome stand of polished oak. It bears the words, “For King and Empire” beneath which are three exquisitely executed reliefs. Some dissatisfaction has been expressed with the conditions of the competition, particularly its wide scope and indefinite duration, and in consequence of this feeling the Terang, Mortlake and Noorat rifle clubs have declined to take any part a in the contest. This leaves the Warrnambool Club with a walk over for this part of the Corangamite electorate.
In the initial match for the Corangamite Shield in 1902 the Argus in Melbourne gives us the following teams entered:
IN THE COUNTRY
CAMPERDOWN – The following rifle clubs in the Corangamite electorate have entered for the Corangamite Challenge Shield, a trophy to cost upward of £200, given by Mr J C Manifold, M.H.R : -Ecklin, Mortlake, Birregurra, Warrnambool, Irrewillipe, Lismore, Moorat, Colac, Moonlight Head, Winchelsea, Camperdown, Grenville, Apollo Bay, Bannockburn, Port Campbell, Beeac, Lorne, Pomborneit.
CORANGAMITE CHALLENGE SHIELD[i]
FIRST YEAR’S COMPETITION CONCLUDED.
Greater activity was manifested on the Chocolyn range on Saturday than has been witnessed since the inception of the Camperdown Rifle Club. The occasion was the meeting of the clubs qualified to shoot in the final of the first year’s competition for the shield presented by Mr. J. C. Manifold, M.H.R., to be shot for by the clubs in the Corangamite electorate. The five teams who had won in their respective divisions, were Warrnambool, Colac, Beeac, Bannockburn and Moonlight Head. Warrnambool. however; were absent, their non-appearance being due to their inability to secure a team: Colac and Beeac had each a full team of eight men but both Bannockburn and Moonlight Head were a man short and consequently repeated the lowest score. The arrangements for the day’s programme were excellent, and everything passed off -pleasantly and smoothly. Captain, Satchwell had erected four canvas targets,to the east of the four steel ones belonging to the Camperdown club, and, eight men were thus enabled to shoot together, two from each team: being in every batch. Captain W. McDowall, of the Lismore club, had charge of the marking, and appointed Messrs. J. Mumby, C. Fox, H. O’Neill and H. Morris to assist. Captain Satchwell, of the. Camperdown Club, also rendered valuable aid at the targets and in the general arrangements for the day. Mr. W. N. Hindhaugh filled the position of-flag steward at the firing point, Captain W. McGarvie, of Pomborneit was executive officer. He supplied the canvas targets.
The day, while fine, was cold, and a strong, gusty easterly wind blew; in rifle-, shooting – parlance, from 3 o’clock necessitating an allowance of from 12 to as many as 22 verniers. As that meant aiming 12 feet away from the bull’s eye, novices will have some idea of the difficulties the shooters had to contend against. The match proved very exciting, indeed, right up to the finish. At the 400 yards, Colac gained a little advantage, closely followed by Breeac and Bannockburn. At the 500 yards, the last named club gained a few points of their leeway as regards Colac, but as Moonlight Head and Bannockburn were each firing with 7 men, the exact, positions of the competing team could not be accurately gauged at the several ranges. The wind in the earlier part of the day was responsible for the wrecking of one of the canvas, targets, and also. for the moderate shooting of some who, under ordinary conditions, could be relied upon to give, a good account of themselves. Misses were frequent, and occasionally the wrong targets were fired at, the markers once discovering no less than three shots on one of’ them. Shooting, which commenced at half-past 10 o’clock: was concluded at 4. Colac, with 641 off the rifle, reached the limit, 640, without having to use their handicap of 34, and their score considering the wind and variable light that had to be contended with; was highly creditable.; Bannockburn came next in order, with 629 off the rifle, after allowing for the repetition of the lowest score, 71, only 11 of their handicap of 24 having to be drawn upon to make up the limit. Beeac, on scratch, made 624, and Moonlight Head’s total, after repeating the lowest score, 45, was 488. With their handicap of 34, their aggregate amounted to 522. The members of this club, who had anticipated seeing the shield on the ground, were naturally a little disappointed to find that it had not been brought from Colac.
 Camperdown Chronical 11 Dec 1902
 The Colac Herald 14 Jan 1902
 The Age 2 Feb 1903
 Camperdown Chronicle 1 Sept 1903