After a lifetime of continuous work for and commitment to shooters, hunters, game management and conservation, former SSAA National President William ‘Bill’ Woolmore passed away on September 29.
Bill was known as a straight shooter who always had the interest of the whole recreational shooting fraternity in mind. He continued to search for new opportunities and found ways to create positive change, never settling for current circumstances. In fact, Bill was known as someone who made things happen. He helped to create entities, policies and ideas for the furtherance of the SSAA, hunters and firearm owners over a long time and his commitment to the shooting sports was almost unparalleled.
He was a team player and his tremendous spirit and efforts led to many historic successes for the SSAA. He was instrumental in the development of the SSAA transitioning from a relatively small ‘club’ into an entity well-respected by government authorities, politicians and likeminded organisations.
Bill believed game management and research had an integral link with ethical hunting, an approach which earned the SSAA considerable respect from other organisations. Over his life, he had an eye for talent and a knack for recruiting SSAA members who would go on to take senior roles within the Association.
Bill was employed by the Commonwealth Government as an Inspector of Rifle Ranges, Southern Command. This role became invaluable to SSAA Victoria when considering the purchase of land for ranges and the upgrade of existing ranges within the state.
First joining the SSAA in 1963, Bill was elected Chairman of the Game Conservation Committee just two years later in 1965. That same year, Bill was a founding member of Para Park (Sunday Island) Co-operative Game Reserve Limited, which is still well and truly alive today. In 1969, Bill was helped found the SSAA Deerstalkers Club, to which he maintained an ongoing commitment, serving as its President and as a committee member many times.
Bill played a large role in the acquisition and construction of the Springvale range in Victoria and designed and constructed the Moving Target Range there ahead of the Running Boar World Championships in 1973. Around this time, Bill became Director of SSAA Victoria Inc, where he was a strong advocate for good governance within the Association and tirelessly promoted shooting sports when firearm laws were under threat during the Cain/Kirner years.
In 1979, Bill became President of SSAA Victoria and in 1980 he created the design and layout of the ranges at Eagle Park. He was also the State President in 1983 and 1984 before being elected as the SSAA National President for two years in 1984 and 1985. In this position, Bill was a forceful advocate for the preservation of firearms ownership both in Victoria and nationally.
Bill received his SSAA Victoria State Life Membership in 1992 and in 2000 he received an Australian Sports Participation Award. In his later years, Bill continued active roles with the SSAA Deerstalkers Club, Para Park, the Shooting Sports Council of Victoria and the Victorian Firearm Appeals Committee. He was also the secretary of the Victorian Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association.
The SSAA sends its condolences to Bill’s wife Lorraine, his family and friends as well as the many people who still feel the impact of his work today. The SSAA and shooters in Australia have been fortunate to have someone of Bill’s stature work for the future of shooting, hunting and conservation in this country.