Club still flying high

Shellharbour Pigeon Club's youngest member Eryn Foard handles one of the birds, while also pictured are Paul and Kathy Breeze. They are celebrating 60 years since the club formed. Picture: ELIZA WINKLER

Shellharbour Pigeon Club's youngest member Eryn Foard handles one of the birds, while also pictured are Paul and Kathy Breeze. They are celebrating 60 years since the club formed. Picture: ELIZA WINKLER

FOR its first 20 years the Shellharbour Pigeon Club operated from a member's garage, and this month it will celebrate six decades on the wing.

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 formed by Richard Williams, who used his garage as the clubhouse for 20 years.

Member Paul Breeze said pigeon racing had featured some changes over the years.

"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.

"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 of 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 new racing season has just begun.

The Shellharbour club will be competing in regular events until the end of winter.

The next competition will be the 300-kilometre race from Eden on July 19.

Another season highlight will be a 850-kilometre race from Launceston, Tasmania.

The official 60-year celebration will take place at Oak Flats Bowling Club on Friday, July 11 at 7pm.

Phone 4256 3645 for details.

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