Melbourne Firearms Centre
Melbourne Firearms Centre
Melbourne Firearms Centre
Melbourne Firearms centre came to being in an upstairs room above a milk bar in Rae Street, Carlton, Victoria on the 2nd July 1958. Ron and Ken Martyn were the driving force behind what was to become one of Melbourne's longest lasting Firearm dealerships. Selling firearms on a part time basis soon became a full time occupation with Ron travelling outback Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland buying every old gun he could get his hands on and Ken selling them as fast as he could refurbish them, as the business grew at an astonishing rate. Overseas made firearms were very hard to source, so the brothers bought job lots of SMLE 303 military rifles and Martini cadet rifles from the Army and sporterised and re barrelled many hundreds of them. By 1960 the embargo on overseas made firearms was lifted and Melbourne Firearms became the sole agents for Mannlicher and Weatherby rifles.Brunswick Street Fitzroy was the next to open and this famous shop was to remain open until 1983, specialising in hand guns.

The early 60s saw the brothers expand their business. A new shop in St Georges Road in North Fitzroy was unveiled and then we opened the first of our city shops in Swanston Street. A new shop in Moorabool Street in Geelong (closed 1963) was opened to cater to our Western districts clients. Innovative measures for the time, such as three weeks free trial and 12 month guarantee on Firearms soon had the brothers looking to expand. Ken Martyn had by now acquired the collecting bug and opened yet another shop specialising in antique and edged weapons a few doors up from our Swanston Street store. By 1963 Ken had purchased the old Martins Gunnery in Walkerville in Adelaide and installed Ian Lambert as Manager. After Kens sudden death in August 1963, Ron Martyn took over the day to day running of the company.

December 1964 saw the two city shops in Swanston street combined and moved around the corner into a giant 3 storey premises at 239 Lonsdale street. With a state of the art workshop employing 8 full time gunsmiths including an imported English smith called Dennis Chamberlain, they were all kept busy servicing seven branches.

1966 heralded the opening of our most successful shop,so far, in Maroondah Highway Ringwood. In 1964 there were over 10 gun shops in the city district, but parking issues and skyrocketing rent had us looking for greener pastures, and the Eastern suburbs had no real gun shops other than a few sports stores with a token gun department.

As the Ringwood store went from strength to strength, Ron closed or sold off the remaining shops until we had just the three premises at Ringwood, Fitzroy and Brunswick. In 1970, Ron closed the Brunswick shop and moved the staff and workshop to Ringwood. 1973 saw Margaret Martyn join the company full time, becoming one of the few women in the trade at that time. 1975 saw an expansion into the upstairs area at Maroondah Highway, enabling us to expand the workshop, indoor range and storage areas and giving us an expanded showroom downstairs.
In 1977, Jon Martyn joined the family business as a first year Gun smithing apprentice, after spending much of his school holidays working part time for the company. This left more time for Ron to pursue his other interests like running hunting Safari's to Bensbach lodge in New Guinea and spending more time on Deer Conservation projects with Para Park and the VDA.

1981 saw the end of an era with Ron deciding to retire from the gun business after 23 years. His retirement was short lived with a permanent move to Sunday Island where he became the Ranger for the next 19 years. Margaret moved down to the Island with him the next year, leaving Jon Martyn to carry on the family business at Ringwood. Later that same year the Brunswick Street, Fitzroy store was closed and all stock was consolidated to our Ringwood store.

1997 saw us moving to new premises around the corner in Bedford Road, Ringwood East. Featuring an improved air conditioned, open plan showroom all on one level for true one stop shopping. Parking was always an issue on the highway, so it's now easy for our customers to be able to leisurely park out the front without dealing with clear ways or parking inspectors on Maroondah Highway. The opening of the Eastlink project, early in 2008, has now made it simple to access us with off ramps at Maroondah Highway and Canterbury Road.

57 years in business is a landmark in anyone's language. Some would say that we must be doing something right to still be around after all these years. The firearms industry is a competitive & tough game. There are more gun shops in Melbourne than any other Australian capital city. Not only do we have to put up with the normal small business ups & downs like the condition of the economy and workplace issues, but Firearms legislation can and has been changed by political whim and circumstance. The goalposts can be moved, at the snap of a finger or the jerk of the knee.
We are very lucky, here in Victoria, to have Sambar hunting on our doorstep and most hunters can hop in their 4WD and be hunting legally on crown land in less than 90 minutes drive from town. The same goes for all farm based hunting, with the Yarra valley just up the road. Truth is, we still do things the way we always have. We don't complicate things by cluttering up the showroom with fishing or archery gear. Our showroom is stocked with what we believe is the broadest range of Firearms, ammunition and accessories on the market today. We believe that if we stick to what we know best, we can pass on our experience Our no nonsense approach and friendly advice is one of the reasons that many of the customers we have today, we have had for 30 to 40 years. Some are sons or even grandsons of people we have been outfitting for all those years.

The Martyn family have always believed in putting something back in to the Hunting and Shooting sports. From the early 1960s Ken & Ron were members of the Australian Crocodile & big game hunters club, which was to turn into the Australian Deer Association in later years.
Deer and deer hunting has always been one of our passions but in the early days all deer were considered pests. Ron was an original member of the VDAC and they were instrumental in introducing breeding programs and convincing the Governments of the time that Deer were a game animal and should be treated as such. Regulations on minimum calibres and bag limits and seasons were all decisions that needed to be made.

Ron was also one of the original handful of members responsible for putting together the Para park game co operative, buying Sunday Island, which is home to the then endangered hog deer. Responsible Game management of this deer has enabled the Co op to catch & release these deer onto the mainland and re establish huntable numbers. He later went onto becoming a director , as did Margaret, and later, he became the Ranger/caretaker of this unique hunting area.
The Woods Point gun club in the high country of Victoria was also founded by Ron and 40 years on its still one of the most enthusiastic & friendly clay target clubs in Australia. Its remote location and beautiful high country surrounds make it one of the "must do" shoots for many Australian clay shooters. Ron passed away at age 84 on the 8th August 2016.

Jon Martyn received his Para park membership for his 21st birthday and has been a member ever since. Membership of the SSAA and the ADA and of course the Woods Point gun club.
Lonsdale Street Office Ringwood Highway Ron Martyn at Fitzroy Store
Ken Martyn at Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Store.
Old shop at 144 Maroondah Highway Ringwood.
Ron Martyn at Fitzroy Store.

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