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Southern Vales Archery Club History


In the Beginning......


Len March (pictured right) and Gerry Elsey visited Alex Barter one day enquiring about archery, after a lengthy discussion on equipment and shooting in general Alex advised at that time there was no target clubs south of Adelaide, and as Len and Gerry both came from the Christies area and they both travelled to past Adelaide for work daily they were looking for something closer to home.  After some more talking Alex thought it worthwhile that Len contact Ros Johns.


Len then went and visited Ros and they decided to have a casual get together (meeting) and FROM MEMORY at that meeting the following persons present: Ros Johns , Graham Holmes , Mike Ainsworth , Gerry Elsey + 1(a friend of Ros plus may be one other friend of Ros) and Len March , the outcome was Ros agreed to contact the Archery Society to see how we went about forming a club and get there sanction to go forward and Len was to approach the council about finding a suitable site for a range then we were to meet again in 2 weeks to hear the results of our endeavours.

At the second get together Ros reported that the Archery Society was all for our proposal and offered any assistance we needed, and Len was able to report that the council has happy to allocate a site (the current Southern Vales Archery Club grounds) for their use as a dedicated archery range.


It was at this get together in either September or October of 1976 that it was proposed that Ros elected Secretary and Len was elected President (at that time they did not think it necessary to appoint any other club officials until they progressed , the election was mainly to give them official status to their negotiation with other parties).


After one more casual get together they advertised and held their first general meeting and the other club officials were elected and Southern Vales Archery Club was born.


The early period of their shooting was very casual and friendly. Cars were parked behind the shooting line. In very cold weather they set up a bbq to allow them to thaw out their fingers between ends and also have hot snack between ends. This practice had to cease with the Dog Club sharing the grounds.


The first Officers of the Club were:

  • President - Len March

  • Vice President - Don Richards

  • Secretary - Rosney Johns

  • Treasurer - Derek Peebles

  • Recorder - Graham Holmes

  • Field Captain - John Schiller


And so we began.....

1st Invitation Shoot

The first invitation shoot was held on Sunday 6th June 1977. It was attended by many visitors, including Alex Barter (Archery Society of SA Board Member), Edie Barter, Frank Coard (President ASSA), Norm Smith (Secretary ASSA), and Adrian Kemp (later an ASSA Board Member).

1st SA State Tyro

A tournament for new archers within their first 18 months of registration.


Originally SVAC hosted the State Tyro event and held this annual shoot for 5 years. The State Tyro was then taken over by Archery Society of SA (now known as Archery SA) and SVAC was allocated the Australia Day shoot held in January every year.


On the 2nd May 2010, SVAC was proud to welcome the State Tyro back home, along with the AJ Barter Veterans' Tournament.

From 2017, the Tyro and AJ Barter will be held at the new state grounds in Mylor.

SVAC has been proud to host these two events on behalf of the state body, and we will continue to encourage new archers in their journey. 

1st Field Shoot

The first special Field shoot was the Golden Horseshoe, held in October 1983 at the Old Noarlunga grounds. This gave SVAC two recognised shoots each year, one in January and the second in October. The Golden Horseshoe received sponsorship and was renamed the IDEC Horseshoe shoot during the years 1984, 1985 and 1986. It was around this time that Archery SA removed the Australia Day shoot from SVAC.


During her years with SVAC, Rosney mentored champion archers such as Simon Fairweather and Pat Coghlan and inspired many, many others. Simon, who was the national Head Coach for Archery Australia, and Pat, who represents Australia in World Cup Archery Tournaments speak highly of Rosney and her efforts to encourage young archers to achieve their very best. Rosney's dedication, her deep love of archery and her inspiration will continue to echo throughout time. After the very sudden and sad death of Rosney, and to honour her years of invaluable efforts for Archery in South Australia, the IDEC Horseshoe was renamed the Rosney Johns Memorial shoot.


SVAC proudly hosted the Rosney Johns Memorial shoot on the last Sunday of October every year. The event was held at the Great Southern Archers club located at Strathalbyn. In 2019, SVAC revisited this tournament, and recognising Rosney’s dedication to developing juniors, we redesigned this to be the Rosney Johns Juniors tournament.

1st FITA Event

On 1st January 1995, with a healthy atmosphere in the Club, SVAC held its first FITA Star shoot. This shoot was a huge success and continues to be so with growing attendance each time.


1st Longbow Tournament

With a growing number of Longbow shooters in the Club, it was suggested by Phil Crase and Gus Kruger that we host a special tournament for their style only. This was the ONLY Longbow Tournament in Australia at this time, and we believe still is. The first Longly Longbow Tournament was held in November 1997 and was also a huge success. Ever since, on the last Sunday in November, Longbowers gather at SVAC, appropriately attired for the times of yore and enjoy a most fabulous day.


1st Crossbow Tournament

On 21st February 2010, SVAC was proud to offer our grounds for the Crossbow Australian Championships. At this event, two world records were recorded by SVAC member Tim Tombs (a.k.a.The Hobbit).


In March 2011, the World Crossbow Championships were also held at our grounds for Target and matchplay, in conjunction with Great Southern Archers for the Forest event. SVAC member (Vice President and Development Coach) Deb Upright ranked as the World Target No 1 and World Forest No 1 in Crossbow. 

1st Australian Open

In November 2010, SVAC hosted the Australian Open tournament for the first time. The first two days were held at our grounds, with the final day of Matchplay held on the stunning grounds of Penny's Hill winery.


In October 2011, SVAC again hosted a very successful Australian Open and hope that all who attended enjoyed it as much as the previous year.


Southern Vales Archery Club will continue to embrace all forms of archery, with all ages and abilities catered for.


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