The original club at Mount Barker was formed under the Defence Forces Act in 1891 under the Captaincy of Mr. H. Paltridge and had about 30 members.The club was disbanded by the Government in February 1897 when the Defence Forces Act was repealed.
Another club was formed in September 1900 with Mr.F.R.Smith as Captain but this club did not get off the ground.
A meeting was held in February 1911 to form a club and in March a deputation approached the District Council to make available the road that was previously used as a rifle range for the old club, about a mile from the railway station.The range built by the Military Authorities, was completed in March 1913 and only awaited the installation of additional targets for use by the club.The official opening was held in May with Mr.Louis Von Doussa officiating Mr.F.H.Ferry held the Captains position or until 1918.
In February 1914 an additional two targets were installed on the range bringing the total number to 6 and in May a shelter shed was built (although it took until 1927 before a convenience was added ) most of this work being made possible by the generosity of Mr.R.Barr Smith who donated 100 pound to the club. Because of the availability of 6 shutter type target, Mount Barker was made the District range for the Southern D.R.C.U.
Fourteen members of the club enlisted in the Armed Services during World War One,of which 3 were killed in action.An Honour Roll was place in the club house as a mark of respect and unveiled in March 1920.
The Club held it's first Open Prize Meeting on 27th December 1921 which was attended by 87 competitors,57 of them from city clubs .The shoot was held over 300, 500 & 600 yards and was won by W.T.Collyer of the Cyclists club with 98/105 his winning prize being 2 pound ten shillings.Although the shooting was commenced at 8.30 am the proceedings were delayed by the late arrival of the train from Adelaide.
The Club changed it's name to Mount Barker & Districts at the July 1937 annual general meeting to better reflect the area covered by it's membership.
The Club was formed as Mount Barker in 1913 by it's name changing in July 1937.
In October 1938 the lease of the range expired and the land owner (who had purchased the property two years prior ) was not of a mind to renew the lease. Shooting actually ceased at the range in April 1939 and arrangements were made with the Hahndorf club to practice at their range till a new range was available. The new range ,to the west of the town was opened on 1st June 1940.
The Mount Barker Rifle Club is still in this location today and the members enjoying the success which Mr Von Doussa predicted.
Members had to contend with a few trials & tribulations along the way,one of which was the original Clubhouse being partially destroyed in a severe storm in 1956.Most of the clubhouse was salvageable so the members set about rebuilding it in it's original form where it stood with a few additions and alterations until early in 1983.
February 16th 1983 (Ash Wednesday) nearly saw the demise of the Club , as the range and Clubhouse were completely destroyed by fire.However due to the stern resolution once again from members at the time and some financial assistance from the South Australian Fullbore Rifle Association and some of the affiliated Clubs the range and facilities were completely rebuilt.
Some 5,500 man hours at a cost of $26000 has seen the resurrection of the Club from the ashes at that horrific day.
The priority of members was to have the range operational for the annual Fathers & Sons competition conducted each year on 25th April which they duly did.
Members come and go but the Mt Barker&Districts Rifle Club continues to prosper and in fact in this day and age of restrictive firearm legislation is increasing in membership and going further ahead.
Mt Barker Club House
The Mt Barker Barker Honour Roll of Club Members who rebuilt the Club