Live Bird Shooting: Barry McLeod at the Lang Lang Historical Society
|In what was once an Olympic sport,
starlings and sparrows were released from their cages by "pullers",
usually young children, and shot by keen sportsmen. Using an actual cage,
Barry demonstrated how the "pullers" worked, and several members
told how they had done this as children. As Barry is President of the Australian
Cartridge Collectors Association (Victorian branch) he showed many interesting
items from his collection. Shooting was a common activity in the nineteenth
and early twentieth century. The swamp was well populated with duck and
snipe, and shooters could get ten shillings per bird from Melbourne butchers
when they sent the birds to market by train. Shags were shot on French
Deer had been brought into the area in the nineteenth century, but by 1909 the Lang Lang Guardian reported that they were causing destruction to crops in the area. In 1912 Major Semmens, the chief inspector of Fisheries and Game, was asked to allow deer shooting from April to September.
By the early twentieth century all the small towns around had gun clubs, including Catani, Yannathan, Loch and Poowong, and challenges came from the locals and Melbourne clubs. Prizes included crystal and silver trophies. Unfortunately a major trophy was lost when the Lang Lang hall burnt down.
Barry attracted a large audience at the May meeting when he told how live birds were collected and shot by members of the Lang Lang Gun Club. Here Barry displays a cartridge case from Cougle's store Lang Lang.
Betting was fierce and top shooters had professional names. Alf Glasscock shot under the name of "Lester", George Wildes as "Nyora" and another as "Why Not".