In an age before technology and mobile phones, messages would be sent by pigeon post by specially-trained homing pigeons and the tradition continues today in the slightly altered form of pigeon racing.
Allan Skuse, former President for the Punchbowl-Bankstown Homing Pigeon Society based in the new Moxon Sports Club, knows something about pigeons after taking up the sport a decade ago after falling in love with the breed.
“Pigeons are released from a certain race point during racing season and when they arrive at the pigeon racer’s home, they are timed in with a manual or electronic clock which shows the time the pigeon arrived and the distance travelled which is calculated by the velocity,” said Allan.
“I love my pigeons and enjoy waiting for them to come home.”
The Punchbowl-Bankstown Homing Pigeon Society, or more easily-known as the Pigeon Club, was formed in 1975 and has been affiliated with Moxon Sports Club since then. At present there are 34 members ranging from the ages of 35 to 91 however anyone is welcomed to take up the art of pigeon racing and current members are happy to show newbies the ropes.
“One of our oldest members started pigeon racing when he was a young boy of 12 – he is now 73 so he has been going for a while and has a really good crop of birds,” said Allan.
Pigeons are trained to fly around their loft from a very young age before they are released in surrounding suburbs to learn to fly back to their loft, increasing the distance every time. It takes about 10 weeks before they are ready to race and they are fed a healthy diet of grains, vitamins, grit and supplements.
For more information or to join the Pigeon Club, please contact Allan on 0408 623 969.