of the Northern Territory
Part 1: The Early Years
The concept of a collectors' association in the Northern Territory began as an observation of the similar organisation already established in Queensland.  A chance meeting between Brian Dudley and one of their founding members, Ian Skennerton, in Brisbane during 1974, suggested that this would be a good idea for the enthusiasts of the Far North.  Ian was kind enough to provide Brian with a copy of their Constitution, along with an invitation to use it as he wished, and this, suitably modified, became the first ACANT constitution.
There was a problem in making initial contact with the far flung collectors of the Territory.  The officer in charge of the NT Firearms Unit at the time, Keith Glaister, very kindly produced a postal address list of all the collectors' licence holders.  Letters of intention to form the association were sent to all these people asking for expressions of interest, and advising of a meeting of all collectors to discuss the proposed new association.
To the satisfaction of the organizers, Brian Dudley and Peter Stenson, a very positive return was achieved.  The first meeting was held at the Darwin High School theatrette late in 1974.  The well attended meeting undertook to formalise the association and call an inaugural General Meeting early in the New Year.
...then along came Cyclone Tracey!
The spirit of the association was not lost however, and a core of the attendees from the initial meeting assembled in mid 1975 at the house of Keith Glaister, still intact, to elect a management committee.  Special mention should be made of Lorna Dudley's contribution to the early work of the Association.  Lorna performed an immense amount of secretarial work, all long-hand typing, adding much to the early success of the group.
The Inaugural President was Peter Caden.  Other long-term members of the Association present at the very beginning include (among others) Barry Medley, Ken Levy, Jon Wilson, and Kurt Mussiger.
The Association sought premises for its meetings within the constraints of the era.  Suitable venues were hard to come by 'post cyclone', but gatherings of exceptional enthusiasm were held at places like the Darwin Gun Club, overlooking the gravel pit, and the old Darwin Rifle Club’s Sydney Williams hut at Winnellie.  In fact the Association's first Gun Show was held in that hut at the Darwin Rifle Club.  It was a 'meet and greet' affair with special invitations to local politicians and dignitaries, and was a significant success.
Further Gun Shows were held, mostly to acquaint the public with the interests and spirit of heritage arms collecting.  A very successful show was put on at Brown's Mart during 1976.  The character of the building and the enthusiastic attendance contributed to a good public relations exercise in addition to the showcase of historic arms.
During this time it became clear that the Association could exercise some influence with government regarding regulation and policy toward historic arms and collectors.  Consultative links were established with Firearms Management and that foundation has been maintained and flourishes to this day.
Part 2: coming soon.....
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