The early years
The club dates from about the early 1980s and has operated out of various locations.
The founding members were Graeme & Lorraine McVitty, David Percy and in particular, our Life Members Rob and Helen Fairweather. These pioneers started and ran an archery club through some pretty tough times and strong opposition to the idea of having an archery club in Strathalbyn.
The club has had several names over the years including the Strathalbyn District Archers and was originally affiliated with the Australian Bowhunters Association. Today we are officially Strathalbyn Target Archers Incorporated trading as Great Southern Archers, and are affiliated with Archery South Australia and Archery Australia.
The late Ros Johns was probably the club’s first coach. She lived at Milang in the late 1980's.
Another influential woman was Life Members Margaret Jenkins (formerly Kuchel). Margaret ran a very successful Australian Junior Archery Development (AJAD) program for many years.
STA is recognised on the International front. We were given the recognition of being the best set up National Field event for not only competing junior archers, but for spectators to “actually watch” the event take place from 17 different vantage points around the 2 day course in 2002.
To quote former Adelaide Olympian and now FITA Secretary General Terry Reilly, "one of the best Field events seen anywhere in the world - it is of international standard”.
We were the first club to serve a meal during a field event, in progress at the 1999 Australian Masters Games. This practice has now become mandatory in junior national field events.
Local archer Simon Fairweather also set this "identity" in concrete at the World Target Championships in 1991 and the Sydney Olympics in 2000- both events GOLD.
Andrew Kuchel also made his mark at the 1996 World Junior Target Championships in San Deigo, USA, finishing 3rd in the individual event and taking team Gold with two fellow Australians. Andrew also took Gold and set five records at the Trans Tasman Cup event in New Zealand in the same year.
We have Kate Fairweather, Michael Ware and Megan Kuchel. All Gold medalists on the International front - all from "Strathalbyn Target Archers".
There are other Australian National Champions such as Angus Barrie, Simon Tucker, Helen Hann, Candeece Falland, Rupert Lindon, Krystal Hicks, Alistair Falland, Lucas Weeks, Aaron Groffen, Angus Dinnison, Dan Colville, Luke Haeusler, John Vogelsang and Graham Kuchel.
Our members have participated in postal shoots like the Bunbury Archery Club's “Silver Leprechaun”, which is internationally shot, and the Toowoomba Clout.
There are more champions such as Peter Groffen, Chad & Stuart Jeffreys, and Richard Hicks. These are all pre 2000 winners, along with some of the "greats" already mentioned.
More recent history
Former club President Pat Coghlan was rated as World No. 3 and was captain of the Australian Compound Archery Team in 2008.
Sherry Gale has represented Australia on many occasions.
Aaron Grubel was an Australian Junior Team representative at the World Indoor Archery Championships in 2007.
Michael Felix was a Team Gold Medallist in India at the Commonwealth Cup.
Tristan Barrett competed in numerous Junior National Archery Championships.
Club President John Clark is Secretary General of the World Crossbow Shooting Association and has competed in numerous World Crossbow Championships and was a Senior Gold Medallist in the Individual Target Matchplay in 2011.
As a club we have finished first in more Team Compound events from 2004 to 2008 than any other club
Club members participate in tournaments, Masters’ Games and shooting activities at all levels.
The club is promoting the state’s best Field course and also a world class Indoor shooting facility.