Unchallenged as the greatest competitive marksman Australia has ever produced, Percy Pavey dominated his chosen sport in the same manner as Sir Hubert Opperman in cycling, Sir Donald Bradman in cricket, and Sir Norman Brookes in tennis. His career as a top level marksman spanned more than 30 years.
After moving to Oakleigh, Melbourne, with his parents and sister, he joined the Oakleigh Rifle Club as a young man and soon showed his outstanding skill. A marksman of rare quality, he was selected in both the Victorian and Australian rifle teams for many years, coached both teams, and served on the Victorian Rifle Association Council.
His record in senior competition in Australia is unmatched, winning numerous King’s and Queen’s badges. The Kings and Queens prize is the same prize event and is linked to whoever is the monarch of the day. The trophy is presented at state, national and international events.
Between 1930 and 1959, he won the Victorian prize five times (1930, 1932, 1935, 1958, 1959), the New South Wales prize twice (1931, 1952), the Queensland prize three times (1930, 1939, 1950), the South Australian prize twice (1938, 1955) and the Tasmanian prize twice (dates unknown). In 1952 he became the first man to win a King’s or Queen’s prize and the Jamieson Aggregate in the same year.
In 1928 he won the Canadian Grand Aggregate and the first stage of the Governor General’s Aggregate. His proudest moment was winning the coveted King’s Prize at Bisley, England (where he represented Australia five times) in 1948 and was presented with this award by King George V. In 1956 he won the Scottish Championship and the Scottish Grand Aggregate. He won the Grand Aggregate, the top prize in the sport, 16 times -the only Australian to achieve this.
His friends knew him as a very gentle and reserved man who travelled everywhere by bicycle. The front fence of his home in Oakleigh was made from the barrels of some of the many rifles he had used.
Someone once commented to Pavey that he should be known as the Don Bradman of rifle shooting, but Pavey responded that in fact Bradman should be known as the Percy Pavey of cricket as he was the elder of the two!
In 1982 he was an inaugural inductee to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland. In 1971 Pavey was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his service to shooting.