60 years high in the sky

Shellharbour Pigeon Club members Paul Breeze (front) with Kathy Breeze, Peter Clarke, David Thompson, Robert Hodgson and Ron Bird celebrate 60 years. Picture Eliza Winkler

Shellharbour Pigeon Club members Paul Breeze (front) with Kathy Breeze, Peter Clarke, David Thompson, Robert Hodgson and Ron Bird celebrate 60 years. Picture Eliza Winkler

FOR its first 20 years the Shellharbour Pigeon Club ran out of a members garage - this month it will celebrate six decades of birds flying high.

The Shellharbour Pigeon Club was founded in September 1954. The members of the club, from Albion Park, Albion Park Rail, Oak Flats, Warilla, Shellharbour Village, Kiama and Dunmore, will come together at Oak Flats Bowling Club on July 11 to celebrate the milestone.

The club was initially formed by resident Richard Williams who then used his garage as the clubhouse for the next 20 years.

Member of the club Paul Breeze said pigeon racing had seen some changes since the earlier days of racing.

“We used to use a manual clock when racing a bird. Which required you to catch the bird and then the clock would give a time, which you would have to calculate,” he said.

“Since then they have introduced electronic chips, that are attached to the bird’s leg and when it comes back it automatically works out the time.

Shellharbour Pigeon Club's youngest member Eryn Foard handles one of the birds, with Paul and Kathy Breeze who celebrate 60 years since the club formed. Picture Eliza Winkler

Shellharbour Pigeon Club's youngest member Eryn Foard handles one of the birds, with Paul and Kathy Breeze who celebrate 60 years since the club formed. Picture Eliza Winkler

“This has meant you can clock multiple pigeons at once.”

The club has won two Towradgi Premier State titles and four Grand National titles. Mr Breeze said the club was happy to reach 60 years’ operating in the community. 

“It’s a great event, not many clubs make it this far,” he said.

“Racing pigeons were the most decorated animal in the world during the war times.

“It was a working man’s sport, which ranges in ages from as young as five-years-old all the way to 90.”

The racing season has just begun and Shellharbour Pigeon Club will be competing in regular events until the end of winter. The next competition will be the 300km race from Eden on July 19 and will finish up with an 850km race from Launceston, Tasmania.

An official event for the 60-year celebration will be held at Oak Flats Bowling Club on July 11 at 7pm. For more information phone 4256 3645.

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