Vale Clifton (Cliffy) James Arthur 3/12/1919 to 5/3/2022
March 24, 2022
Cliffy was born into a dairying family just out of Lismore, NSW and was one of 5 children. He left school at 12, trained and worked as a carpenter till the age of 20.
At the start of WWII Cliffy moved to Sydney with his wife and lifelong love Laurel to commence work at Lloyds Engineering, Alexandria. This is where his skills as a specialist tool grinder were developed and we understand he was involved in the manufacture of machine tooling for the Lithgow Small Arms Factory.
On the closure of Lloyds, Cliffy purchased the machines necessary and worked continuously in the trade from his workshop at home till eventually retiring at the age of 90. Despite retirement, continued to tinker in his workshop on sights and shooting related essentials. For many years he was a manufacturer of Perspex ring inserts for foresights and supplied them to many target rifle shooters across Australia.
Just after the War, one of Cliffy’s work colleagues suggested he come out to the then ANZAC Rifle Range at Liverpool to have a go. There was no turning back, he was hooked, and in 1947 joined the Concord Rifle Club. So every Saturday his motor bike would make the long journey with his trusty 303 in the sidecar.
We always knew Cliffy was a champion bloke and in addition to being made a Life Member in 1982, the clubs records show that he was Club Champion in 1950-51, 1954-55, 1958-59, 1968-69, 1978-79, 1980-81, 1985-86 and 1988-89. There is something interesting in the sequence of his victories over the years. He was also Club Captain for a total of 10 years between 1963 and 1986. At the time, Concord Rifle Club had a large membership and competition was hot. In the Liverpool days Concord could field 8 Grade Teams with plenty in the wings awaiting selection. Competition came particularly from his good mate Donny Loon who was also a regular on the Champion’s Board.
Cliffy rarely missed a Saturday’s shoot and continued to drive himself from Auburn to Malabar up until his 99th Birthday when the powers to be would not renew his license. Des, his trusty son, came to the rescue and became chauffeur so that he could make sure much younger members were kept honest in their scores. It pleased him know end when he dusted up the club’s hot shots and always gave sage advice particularly on the wind reading front.
In 1982, the Council of the NSW Rifle Association presented a certificate stating that he had been a member of the Concord Rifle Club for a period of 36 years and that during this time has by co-operation, imagination and enthusiasm made a valuable contribution to the welfare and development of the Club. Little did they realise that our Cliffy would participate for another 36 years and 72 in total. This must be some sort of record for continuous membership in our sport.
On Cliffy’s 100th birthday, the club put on a celebratory lunch to mark the occasion. There were the usual letters from the Queen and other dignitaries, but there was something important yet to do. He had to have a shoot. Off he went with witnesses in tow and yet again he proved that he was still a true marksman, scoring a fantastic 100 with 12V’s
In 2020 Cliffy, son Des and his daughter-in-law Lily moved to the Gold Coast and unfortunately this was the sunset of his shooting days.
Cliffy was a thorough gentleman, very loyal to his wife Laurel, a real competitor, a mentor, extremely knowledgeable and a great club member.
Des, Lily and family you know we love Cliffy, will miss him dearly, so please accept our sincere condolences from the Concord Rifle Club and the wider shooting fraternity.