Frankston Paintball Field (1992)

This is a Brief History of the former Frankston paintball field which was located in Victoria Australia. It was written by Leigh Dixon for the Peninsula Paintball Club (PPC) web site at the time.

It was early 1992, myself and business partner Peter Winter had been playing paintball for about 3 years, we had regularly been dragging our family and friends to a field up in the bush about an hour and a half away from home (Frankston). One day we were sitting at home after a days play (sinking a few cold ones) and we began to complain about how far we had to go to play paintball and how we thought we would do better at operating the field if we were in charge. My wife Carol then sprouted out “if you think you’d be so good at it why don’t you start your own bloody field”. Well the challenge had been laid down, and there was now way out of it now. It took Peter and myself about five months to locate a suitable chunk of land, get the necessary permits issued and then about another three months to get the field ready with compounds, sheds, players area and of course the fields.

Early Days At Frankston With Peter On The Left And Leigh On The Right

We opened in May 1993 and had the place fully booked from day one, our location right on the main road though Frankston had proved to be the right location as we hadn’t even advertised other than a sign out the front. We soon had other field operators paying us a visit, as it was obvious we had set the new standard for paintball fields in Victoria. It was fantastic, you couldn’t get the smiles off our faces, and we were on top of the world.

Unfortunately the good times were not destined to last, the Victorian Government with the dictatorship of Jeff “Adolph” Kennett at the helm, had decided that we could no longer play on Sundays due to an archaic 1800’s law that said “thou shall not shoot on a Sunday as it will be too noisy for the people attending church”. What a load of crap! Anyway we reorganised and got Saturdays up and running as the main day for play, and with a few mid week bookings as well all was rosy again.

In 1997 in a knee jerk reaction to the Port Arthur incident the Government dictatorship of “Adolph” once again decided to change the Firearm regulations. The major change they made was to remove the exemption that paintball operators had in the firearms act which removed the requirement for all people who played paintball to hold a SHOOTERS permit. What this did was signal the end of the Legal operation of paintball in Victoria, after all how may players with a shooters permit who don’t know each other can you get together in a group on the weekend to play Paintball?

All the Paintball field operators got together and formed the ‘Victorian Paintball Operators Association” we got a fighting fund together, paid QC’s way too much money for no result and no matter how many times we tried to change things, we always got the same responses, a thunderous NO or an earth shattering silence, we had failed.

In the end, it WAS the end. A couple of the operators remained open and still live in hope.

With the business down the tubes thanks to the government, we decided to try and keep the field up and running, even if it was to operate as a club for players who held a shooters permit. We thought this would keep things ready to roll if and when the government changed its mind about the shooters permit law.

The club started with about 25 members and grew to around 60 within a short time, over the next couple of years we held Tournaments to raise funds to help pay the bills and basically had a good time. We had four Tournament teams playing out of the club, Rat Pak, Loony Tunes, X-Rated and the Creed. These teams attended nearly all of the interstate tournaments held over the next few years and managed to show the rest of Australia that Victoria wouldn’t lay down and quit as two teams Rat Pak and the Creed became the best Pro and Amateur teams in Australia.

Leigh Dixon

Members came and went for whatever reason but the club survived. Finally early in 2002 after the September 11th 2001 disaster, the increase in our Public Liability Insurance premium, up from $760 to $3600 per year was the final nail in the paintball box, the club was stuffed! Or so we thought, Mark Fitzgerald from the Field at Carrum Downs offered the club the use of his field. In a flash we were playing again.

I guess the relief from worry about operating the Frankston field set in and I began to really enjoy my paintball again. I’m still the president of the club and will continue to be until someone chucks me out, with Neil Wheatley as Vice President and Anne Winter as secretary/Treasurer.

We made the decision at the club to run purely social play types of days without the regimented order of training and tournament style play. This has worked really well, with everyone enjoying paintball again.

Over the last couple of months I’ve seen that things are starting to take off again, some of the old members are drifting back to the club and new players are joining, thanks to Mike, the club has got a forum in Paint Magazine on the internet which is getting a fair amount of use by club members and others. This can only be a good thing for Paintball in Victoria.

Leigh Dixon