THE HARRY MADDEN HISTORY
In the 1948 the National Bench Rest Shooters Association was formed in the USA and formal competitions commenced and the organisation grew and expanded all over the USA. The essential elements consisted of benches to sit at and shoot from, a front 'benchrest' usually an adjustable pedestal containing a sandbag and a rear rest being a sandbag plus a rifle to shoot from this position. Target frames were then arranged at measured distances, rules including time limits set and measuring devices to measure the 'groups'. A group being a cluster of 5 shots hopefully together.
A scoring device to measures the distance between the two shots furtherest apart in the group. The idea is to have a competition where men and women could shoot and compare their results at the same location and at the same time. In Australia some informal matches began at Baulkham Hills rifle range in Sydney in 1955. Many years later Harry Madden from Brisbane managed to get organised competitions and rules on a National basis happening with the SSAA (Sporting Shooters Association of Australia). The sport has continued to grow and expand and now there are world championships held bi annually by an organisation called the WBSF (World Benchrest Shooting Federation) with approx 28 member countries.
1965 – Nov 13th & 21st billed as the First Benchrest Championships to be conducted on all SSAA rifle ranges
1966 – Chairman Harry Madden promised modifications to 1965 "National" and advised it is hoped that 1966 will be shoulder to shoulder in Sydney toward the end of the year.
1967 – Nationals held at Belmont, Queensland on the 11th June then it was the wettest June history (at that time) some 11.27" of rain in 11 hours and 30MPH winds.
1968 – January – SSAA National Conference agreed that all SSAA National competitions should be
held in one state during Easter – the first scheduled for 1969 in Sydney
1969 – Nationals held at Baulkham Hills NSW. Equipment stats as adopted at the 1968 SSAA National
1970 – Nationals held at Tynong, Victoria. Again the rifle specifications were as per the 1968
1971 – Nationals held at Brisbane, Queensland and equipment as per 1968
1972 – Nationals held in Canberra, ACT and again equipment specifications as proclaimed in 1968, but
this would be last time these specifications would be applicable
1973 – Nationals held at Para SA. It had been anticipated the 10 target matches would come into
effect for 1974 Nationals
1974 – January 26th – first National Speer Benchrest Postal event sponsored by F C Lovelock,
Nationals held at Dapto, NSW
1975 – In the opinion of some a year when Australian Benchrest came of age. SSAA National
Conference revised benchrest rules to be the first organisation to give shooters a competition
class with rimfires to a national level. Nationals – held in Brisbane Queensland.Nationals
1975 – The 2 Gun Trophy was the Harry Madden Memorial Trophy brought from the USA by Skip
Gordon and donated in the names of the USA and Canadian shooters who were in ACT
and Queensland in late November 1975 a few weeks before Harry’s demise. This trophy
was won by Nev and after his winning the Bob Hart plaque in late 1975 was the recipient
of trophies commemorating two pioneers and mentors of benchrest shooting
1976 – January - SSAA National Conference - Nev Madden becomes National Benchrest
Chairman, National - held in Canberra ACT
And the Harry Madden Competition was born in 1976