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Spencer Dunstall (1936 – 2021)

Dec 28, 2021 | Obituaries

Obituary by Graham Crowe, Explorers Rifle Club.


16th December 1936 ~ 15th November 2021 

Spencer was an amazing man; he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. He was a caring boss and friend to many. His passion was his family and his rifle shooting and he made an impact on the lives of those around him.

Spencer was born in Biloela, Queensland on the 16th December 1936 to Arthur and Jean Dunstall. Spencer had an older brother Arthur and two sisters, Margaret and Alma. After his parents separation, Arthur moved the children to his mother’s farm in Wirrulla, S.A in 1944. Spencer often spoke of the adventures he had with his brother and sisters going to school by horse and buggy if they were lucky enough not to walk. Spencer spent his youth working on farms in the district. They moved frequently as his father worked on the Railways, this is where he first became an avid shooter, which eventually became a lifelong passion.

Spencer moved to Broken Hill to stay with his brother Arthur. He worked at a hardware store, going to school at night studying accountancy. It was here that he met Margaret. They married on the 15th September 1962 in Broken Hill.

He started his shooting career in 1956 in Broken Hill and went on to become one of Australia’s shooting legends over the last 60 years. His technical advice and wind reading skills were keenly sought after by shooters around Australia and for many years he submitted technical articles to the national magazine (ATR) to encourage others to broaden their skills.

After leaving Broken Hill, he went on to work with the Local Government in NSW spending time at Wilcannia, Tamworth and Inverell before becoming the Shire Clerk for the Bland Shire. While in Wilcannia, Spencer and Margaret adopted their son Glen in 1968 and then a daughter Susan in 1970 just before moving to West Wyalong.

During his time in West Wyalong, Spencer achieved many things, both professionally and in his sport of rifle shooting. He excelled at shooting; he won nine Queen’s Prize Shoots in TR and in F Class, which is no easy feat. He shot at country, state, national and international level. Spencer was brilliant at reading wind, these skills were learnt from many years of shooting on the Ungarie Rifle Range, an open and difficult range to shoot, with calm days a rarity. He loved to share his knowledge with others.    

Mural depicting rifle shooters in Ungarie. The mural does not feature Spencer but is of two older Ungarie Rifle Club members – importantly, it is on display in Ungarie.

Summary of Achievements

1956 Started fullbore shooting with Broken Hill Rifle Club (Aged 19)

1965 Joined Tamworth Rifle Club

1967 Shot at his second Queens Prize, which was the last at Liverpool. There were around 1200 competitors and Spencer came 6th in the lead-up McArthur Onslow

1977 SA Queen’s Prize Winner

1979 VIC Queen’s Prize Winner

1996 National Queen’s Prize Winner

1997 National Queen’s Prize Winner

1997 QLD Queen’s Prize Winner

2000 NSW Queen’s Prize Winner

2000 SA Queen’s Prize Winner

2005 ACT Queen’s Prize Winner

2010 ACT Queen’s Prize Winner

Apart from the above Queen’s Prize wins, Spencer won a number of other events, some multiple times. They include Grand Aggregates, lead-up events plus local and district prize meetings.

Spencer also was an active administrator holding various positions at club and district level over the last 30 or so years. In 2001 Spencer was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Governor General for his work and in 2018 was granted Life Membership of the Riverina District Rifle Association, then in 2019 was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the NSW Rifle Association.

Spencer also loved to spend time with his family so that meant they spent a lot of time at the rifle range. He had a wicked sense of humour, which every one who knew him would know. He once told Susan if Margaret ever gave him a choice between her and shooting it would be shooting. Of course, he was joking.

Spencer loved his grandchildren and spent a lot of time in retirement travelling to see them at school and sporting events. He then spent a lot of time with Susan and Reg, helping them build a river rock house in Northern NSW. He was the chief concrete mixer and dishwasher.

He was a kind and humble man who helped everyone where he could even through the most difficult of times.

Spencer had a long battle with cancer but rarely complained and fought it to the end.

Family and friends held a memorial service for Spencer at the Ungarie Rifle Club which was well attended with some having travelled long distances from NSW and South Australia.

Following the service, club mate Rob Crerar fired the last shot. Spencer clearly was present in spirit as it was a 2 o’clock X at 900 yards. Following a minute’s silence the Ungarie range rang to the tune of Scotland the Brave played by a lone Scottish Piper, a tune that Spencer would have known well as it is played for all Queen’s Prize winners as they are chaired from the range to the presentation.

Spencer will be missed by all who knew him, but will certainly not be forgotten.

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