Originally Crown Land, the area now known as the Anzac Rifle Range had at least twelve targets in use in 1888 and was briefly considered for the Centenary Open Championships. By 1900 Long Bay Road extended as far as the rifle range with a rail service arriving in 1902. On 21 December 1910 the New South Wales Government declared that the land was to be used for military purposes and it was used for musketry practice during World War One. It soon became clear that a more permanent rifle range was needed and a survey of the land was undertaken in August 1919. During the Depression years local residents used the Rifle Range as a gambling venue.
The range remained under military jurisdiction until 1988 when the Federal Government decided to halt all military exercises at Malabar. Control of the range was given to the Department of Administrative Services while the possible closure of the range was negotiated.
In 1967 many rifle clubs, including the National Rifle Association, transferred to Long Bay after the closure of the Anzac Rifle Range at Liverpool. In 1973 the name was changed from Long Bay Rifle Range to Anzac Rifle Range. Since 1986 there has been increasing efforts from the Federal Government to close the Range. Successful lobbying has so far prevented this from happening. In 1998 Federal funding was allocated for the building of a new state of the art rifle range at Holsworthy. An agreement was negotiated with the gun clubs to stay at the Malabar site until 2001.
In 1987 approximatley 80 hectares of the range was entered in the Register of the National Estate due to the natural vegetation present. There are two pockets of coastal heath and scrub land, home to more than 60 native species.
There are groups currently lobbying the government to make the site a national park, as it is one of the few places where Eastern Banksia grows.
List of References
- Scudder, N. A History of the Anzac Rifle Range, (LH994.41/SCU)
- A Randwick Ramble, Randwick and District Historical Society, 1994 (LH919.441/RAN)