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History

The sport of archery was introduced to Australia by the European settlers in the 18th and 19th Centuries and is known to have been a flourishing social and competition activity during the mid-1800s. From records held at the Australian National Library, officers of the First Fleet practised archery at Sydney Cove in 1789, making archery the oldest organised sport practised in Australia.

However, it wasn’t until the late 1930s that organised archery on an Australia-wide basis was first proposed by Dudley Preston, a leading archer in Western Australia.

After an enforced interruption due to the Second World War, his proposal came to fruition at a conference of State delegates held in Sydney on 17-18 January, 1948. After the normal preliminaries, the first major item on the agenda was the motion that:

“The Archery Association of Australia be and is hereby formed.”

This motion was carried and therefore has to be regarded as the official date of birth of the Association. The meeting went on to consider matters of national and international associations and competitions, including a resolution to affiliate with World Archery (FITA), the international archery federation.

The first Annual General Meeting of the Association was held in Sydney on the same weekend as the first National Championships over 3,4 & 5 October, 1948.

In 1993, the Archery Association of Australia changed its name to Archery Australia Inc.

At that time, the Association was governed by a Board comprising eight societies (Archery Society of NSW, Archery ACT, Archery Victoria, Archery Society of Tasmania, ARCHERY South Australia, Archery Society of Western Australia, North Queensland Archery Association and the South Queensland Archery Society). The day-to-day affairs of the Association were managed by an Executive Committee.

In 2001, the Board dramatically changed the structure of Archery Australia. The Constitution was amended, allowing for a more streamlined modern structure following best practice governance principles. The Archery Board now comprises four elected and up to three appointed, Board Members. The day-to-day affairs of the Association are managed by a full-time Chief Executive Officer and National Office.

Annually, Archery Australia conducts National Championships (Target, Field and Clout), Youth National Championships (Target, Field, Matchplay and Clout), Australian Open Championships (Matchplay & Field) and Indoor National Championships. The sport also caters for a wide variety of disciplines and equipment styles during National Championships.

Australia first entered international competition at the FITA World Target Championships in 1965 and its first international medals were won by Graeme Telford and Hans Wright OAM in 1969 (Bronze Medals in the Target and Field Championships respectively).

Australia was represented when Archery re-entered the Olympics in Munich in 1972 and has been represented at each Olympic Games since, with Simon Fairweather OAM winning the Gold Medal in 2000 and Tim Cuddihy, the Bronze Medal, in 2004.

In 1977, Australia hosted the 29th FITA Target World Championships in Canberra and again in 1987, this time in Adelaide at the 34th FITA World Target Championships.

In Adelaide, the Grand FITA event was introduced, which was the first attempt at a progressive elimination competition and the forerunner of the current Matchplay event conducted at World Championships and Olympic Games. In 2002, the FITA Field Championships came to Australia, hosted by Canberra Archery Club.

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