Vale Richard Ashton


11/8/1952 - 14/6/2024


Rick started shooting just over 50 years ago, in fact he started shooting on the same day as his brother John Ashton. Rick initially joined the Cronulla L&W Rifle Club then the Port Jackson Rifle Club.

Rick aligned with the University of NSW Rifle Club whilst he was at university, and he was part of the all-conquering UNSWRC team during this time, winning the intervarsity title 11 years in a row. Rick met the great Percy Pavey when at Intervarsity in Melbourne, Percy was the range officer for the top10 student’s vs the local metro team, Rick coached. Rick and his brother John were a huge part of the UNSWRC transition from a group of good ole boys to a professional outfit on the mound, first under Peter Ford then Mal Jones. They also trained hard in various extra curricular activities winning many intervarsity boat races. The wider family also contributed with Jane Ashton designing and making the famous yellow tee shirts worn by UNSWRC on their famous Brisbane venture. Rick studied and developed many shooting and other life skills during this period including a wonderful comradery with his fellow shooters and the skills needed within successful teams to create a strong esprit de corps, and he also became a very good wind coach. This early shooting development led Rick to higher representative roles in the NSW U/25 and Senior Teams, and later in the Australian Rifle Team.

Post university Rick’s career took him to New York for a period, living on Manhattan Island, whilst there he met his future wife Mary, and they were married for 42 years. Also, during this period, he travelled to Bisley and won a Queens Final Badge with a borrowed rifle.

Rick was a highly intelligent man as evidenced by his long and varied career in the finance industry and was a senior member with the Westpac money market. Rick had been semi-retired for a while now but he held a number of Not For Profit board positions with Hibernians, St Vincents, Sisters of St Joseph and most recently the Friendly Societies and Australian Friendly Societies Pharmacy Association. Of course, many of the Anzac Range members would often see Rick in his other profession in his “Forrest Gump” role driving the ride on mower driver at Anzac Range.

Rick also was devoted to many other areas of the fullbore target rifle fraternity including advisory support to the MDRA (as treasurer) and significantly to NSWRA as treasurer and more recently he assisted in the new constitution, and was a valued contributor to the NSWRA board. Rick was instrumental in his assistance during the Anzac Range’s lease renewal where he arranged and coordinated the various meetings with the NSW and Federal governments. Rick also put in a lot of time into the development of the NSWRA Under 25 team as manager on many occasions, and these members are very grateful for his mentorship and coaching. Rick had recently had discussions with the NRAA about nominating for the position of Manager for the Under 25 Australia Match Team in 2026.

Rick was always willing to step in and fill necessary gaps in the various shooting administrations, not long ago he stepped in and did the statistics for the NSW Queens generously foregoing his own shooting and he was about to accept the position as NSWRA treasurer filling a much-needed vacancy. Also, in the shooting equipment area he stepped up and became the Monard Shooting Jacket supplier in Australia creating a modified version better suited to fullbore prone shooting, with nearly 200 supplied to Australian shooters. Rick’s recent work with the NRAA in establishing accurate and more relevant Cone of Fire data using over 2 million shots fired at various State Queen prizes has been a game changer in proving our sport’s low safety risk, this data was included in the successful Bendigo range temporary lease renewal with the VIC government.

Rick joined the Port Jackson Rifle Club in the 1980’s with his brother John, and they quickly became reliable and trusted members building lifelong friendships. Rick was very competitive and he pushed his own performances into the elite level and took much pride in passing these skills onto other club members wherever possible. Always looking for the next great technical or training solution, Rick honed his skills in position development by re-designing his rifle stocks and shooting gear to a high level and he put many hours into dry firing in his home garage to test and evaluate changes.

Rick represented at the club, district, state and international level as a shooter, coach, captain and master coach.  He had notable success in the NSWRA City vs Country matches and also in the NSW U/25 and Senior State Teams, Rick earnt his NSW Baggy Blue in 1986 (No 374) and up to 2018 he represented NSW 5 times, where his personal efforts led to significant team wins. Rick’s greatest passion was with the Palma match, where he represented as a shooter, coach and master coach. He was never far away from the Palma teams’ efforts and his input was always well respected. His Facebook name “Rick Palma” shows his passion in this area.

Whilst the above reflects a highly skilled and accomplished target shooter, Rick’s greatest achievement in the shooting fraternity were the interpersonal relationships he built and maintained with so many shooters, shooting organisations and manufacturers in Australia and Overseas.  The comment: “Rick knew everybody and everybody knew Rick” is so applicable here. If one were to see his mobile phone it would reflect regular contacts with members from U/25’s to captains of Australian teams. Rick was a kind, friendly and very generous person and was a very close friend to many people and his personal efforts and caring stood him apart from others. He maintained these friendships and would go well out of his way to catch up and provide support when really needed.

Whilst Rick has passed at 71 years, he has filled these years with great personal success, career success, shooting excellence and above all the personal relationships that have made him a real gentleman in our sport and the type of person one aspires to.  Rick was truly one of a kind and a giant amongst men !

Rick is survived by his wife Mary, and children Christopher, Catherine and Stephen and his grandchildren Hudson and George and his siblings John, Michael, Jane and Stephen.

Rick will be greatly missed but so fondly remembered.



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