For those who knew Cec Condon, he will be remembered as the master of the understatement. When recalling his shooting career Cec stated:
Joined the club -1956 after being a member of the 2/51st Battalion Rifle Club when I was in the CMF.
First prize shoot was Mossman -won £1/0/6 at 500yards -out of ‘C’ Grade.
Next year won a range at May Day shoot and out of ‘B’ Grade.
Won Herberton Prize Shoot – 1st ‘A’ Grade (1960?). Trophy was a west clock Big Ben, still using it today.
Shot in a few C&IDRA teams and a few NQRA teams. Coached a few times in each also. Shot in thirty consecutive May Day shoots (might be more). Won 14 Queen’s badges. Then, regulated out of the sport. (Eve confirmed Cec refused to get a Firearms licence).
Cec’s father, Henry, had been a member of the Ravenshoe Rifle Club in the 1930s. This exposure, coupled with Cec’s time in the CMF may have led to his love of shooting. The family loved outdoor pursuits and his uncles also served in the military, retelling interesting stories of their exploits.
Eve recalls that Cec took over the Captaincy of the Ravenshoe Rifle Club from John Walker, the local plumber and the 1949 NQRA Kings Prize winner, sometime in the early 1960s. For as long as Eve can remember he was Captain/Treasurer of the club and the Sunday ritual in their house was Cec coming home from shooting at the local rifle range, when he wasn’t travelling to other prize shoots, and filling in the scorebook and financial records. His good mate, Bill Jonsson, was Secretary for most of Eve’s shooting career. Eve took over for a while, then Sam Collins became Secretary after she gave up shooting. Everyone in the club had their say, so positions didn’t really mean much but not many were as passionate about shooting as Cec, so that’s probably why the members were happy to see him remain Captain.
The Condon house was always open to any visiting shooters and Cec always had a carload of members travelling to the various shoots. He believed if our club supported other clubs, they, in turn, would support our annual shoot, which is how it turned out. Cec’s wife did her part by organising catering and looking after any shooters who came to stay.
Cec was instrumental in rebuilding the butts at the Ravenshoe range, also helping out with his earthmoving machinery at the Hervey Range Shooting Complex and Wangetti Beach ranges when they were being constructed.
Cec Condon was awarded life membership of the C&IDRA (1995) and Ravenshoe Rifle Club. He served as Chairman/President C&IDRA for a number of years in the 1970s and was also Vice Patron of NQRA from 2002 until he passed away.
Cec travelled extensively, but avoided travelling by plane where possible, which explains why he shot on the east coast only. He did travel to Tasmania with the North Queensland team but never nominated for Bisley, though he would likely have qualified. As well as being a top shooter, he was also highly regarded for his coaching skills. He coached the North Queensland team on numerous occasions and the Ravenshoe club was always competitive in team shooting with Cec as coach. His understanding of the physics and technology of rifles and shooting conditions contributed to his success. He and his contemporaries made shooting at the time an exciting and highly competitive sport. Before central bulls were introduced, the shoot-offs between these top shooters (men of steel) were awe inspiring. Cec had won most of the annual prize meetings he attended at least once before retiring but being ‘A’ Grade winner at the NQRA Queens Prize in 1982 meant a lot to him.
Above all, he enjoyed team shooting, the friendly rivalry among clubs and shooters adding to the enjoyment of annual club team shoots, inter-association teams’ matches and state teams’ matches. The North v South Match (Fraser Shield) was also something to look forward to. He instilled a love of team shooting in Eve as well and with Cec as coach, half the battle was won.
The personal record Cec established was extensive and includes:
1962 & 1964 – Ravenshoe Club Champion (expect he was club champion in many other years)
1979 & 1984 -won C&IDRA Champion of Champions
1964 to 1989 – won 14 A Grade Queens badges
1982 -won NQRA Queen’s Prize and the NQRA Gold Medal Match
1977 to 1989 – won three DRA OPM
1960 to 1989 -won nine x Rifle Club OPM (including Atherton four times)
1970 – won Herberton Tin Festival Shoot
Team shooting was his passion and Cec represented his Ravenshoe Club, C&IDRA and NQRA on many, many occasions. His NQRA Team representation is particularly noteworthy:
1968 (Brisbane) – NQRA’s first team in the NRAA Teams Matches – shooter
1972 (Canberra) – coach
1973 (Melbourne) – shooter
1973 (Hobart) – shooter
1975 (Canberra) – shooter
1981 (Mackay) – shooter
1982 (Melbourne) – shooter
1982 (Hobart) – coach
1989 (Canberra) – shooter
Cec is sadly missed by all members of the Ravenshoe Rifle Club, NQRA and all others who made his acquaintance at the many ranges he visited throughout his shooting career.