KING OF KINGS: Riflemen who competed at the Anzac Range, Liverpool, cheering Victor Roy Buttsworth, of Kingaroy as they performed the traditional chairing ceremony for the winner of the King's Prize. Buttsworth won the coveted prize with an aggregate of 347 points.
KING OF KINGS: Riflemen who competed at the Anzac Range, Liverpool, cheering Victor Roy Buttsworth, of Kingaroy as they performed the traditional chairing ceremony for the winner of the King's Prize. Buttsworth won the coveted prize with an aggregate of 347 points. Contributed

Early sharpshooters put South Burnett on the map

THE South Burnett is well known for its sporting greats, but not many know that our athlete success stories date back to 1938.

Long before Olympian beach volleyballer Taliqua Clancy, world champion woodchopper Mitchell Argent, cricketers Holly Ferling and Carl Rackemann, there were riflemen Roy Buttsworth and Reg Parker.

In 1938, Goodger-born Roy Buttsworth claimed a world record by scoring 347 points from a possible 355 against 1400 marksmen from countries of the then British empire.

The first prize of 525 pounds ($978) meant Buttsworth won the world's biggest and richest King's Shoot at the time, along with the world record score.

This feat was achieved at the anniversary meeting of the National Rifle Association held in conjunction with the Sesquicentenary Celebration in Sydney in February 1938.

Younger shooter Reg Parker, from Boynside near Kingaroy, finished up fourth in the 1938 King's Prize and won the grand aggregate.

 

A photo of world champion rifle shooter and Goodger resident Victor Roy Buttsworth, (as printed in The South Burnett Times, July 1975).
Victor Roy Buttsworth in action. This image was printed in The South Burnett Times in July, 1975. Contributed

Buttsworth's son, Keith Buttsworth who lives in Kingaroy, said it would take riflemen 30 years to break his father's world record.

"That was an amazing for a small place like Kingaroy and Kumbia," he said.

There was a big welcome back held in Kingaroy's O'Neil Square for Buttsworth and Parker, as their success was huge for the South Burnett region.

"It was such an enormous thing that happened," Mr Buttsworth said.

The two men were carried by members of their shooting clubs, the Kingaroy and Boyneside Rifle Clubs, in a parade led by the pipe band through a guard of honour of South Burnett riflemen, militia and lighthorse units along Kingaroy St to O'Neill Square.

When he won the King's Prize, Buttsworth became known as the bushman who ran a dairy and maize farm.

 

An early photo of world champion rifle shooter and Goodger resident Victor Roy Buttsworth.
An early photo of world champion rifleman and Goodger resident Victor Roy Buttsworth. Contributed

He went on to win more King's titles and other records.

The Kingaroy Herald's report of Buttsworth's death in 1975 said the rifleman had learned to shoot on the Kingaroy rifle range and was never a member of any other club.

"Quite early in his career, he earned a reputation for consistency and the ability to master a temperament under the strain of big occasions," the story read.

With an old Mark 1 rifle, Buttsworth was the first man to post a score of 104 out of a possible 105 on the Kingaroy range.

He also was the Queensland Blue of Blues winner of Summer Sports from 1937 to 1938 and was a member of the Australian Rifle Team for Bisley in 1948.

Buttsworth's memory was honoured with the V.R. Buttsworth Memorial trophy, which South Burnett rifle shooting clubs competed for from 1980 to 2002.