Vic Relays and the Rockhopper Trophy

The Victorian State relays are on Sunday 5th March (just under 4 weeks away) at Darebin Parklands. This is our chance to start the process of returning the Rockhopper Trophy to its rightful home. The more people who enter, the more points we can muster. A fun and social day that our club pays for. Your first step is to ensure you are a club member (a quick trip to Eventor will sort this) and then leave a comment or email Andrew Cameron at so he can enter teams. Teams can be serious or social. Deadline is by February 20th.

Ian Johnson – our living legend

Ian Johnson is the oldest member of the Bendigo Orienteering Club. His 88th birthday comes up in August 2016 and the club will celebrate the occasion at his micro-sprint event at Black Jack Gully near Castlemaine on August 13th. Ian still competes in events although he is now slowing down a bit, but he still enjoys the bush and finding hidden controls. I wonder how many people reading this will still be able to navigate their way around the Bendigo bush when they are 88 years old.

Ian retired from primary teaching in 1986, and came to live near Castlemaine, so it could be said that in 1986 the Ballarat orienteering world lost an asset and Bendigo gained one. At 88 he is still heavily involved in the sport; orienteering is a sport for all ages but the balance is still very much weighted in favour of the younger and fitter, and to see an 88 year old navigating his way around the rough forest areas week after week is still a bit off putting for many people. He has competed in almost every event organised by the Bendigo club since his arrival here but now, though still active competitively he is easing out of the organisational activities.

Ian first ventured into orienteering on a novice course at an event in 1971 at St George’s Lake in the Creswick Forest. Ian said he walked or scrambled it, as he went across country where he could, but did not use a compass. He can remember that the controls were buckets hanging by a rope with pens of different colours to mark the spaces on the map. He mapped the forest behind his newly built home in Ballarat and when some local runners were thinking about starting an orienteering club, he became an original member, taking on the position of Treasurer with a strict spending oversight. Tom Norwood and Ian both agreed low spending was essential to start with, and they gathered the profits carefully. The first event Ian organised was on June 1st 1975 on a map he helped to field work and draw. The longest course was 3.75 km with 13 controls. The cost of entry was only 20 cents, and compass hire the same.

With the experience of these initial ventures into orienteering behind him, Ian decided to make a better coloured map with more accurate fieldwork, using his usual three point triangulation, which is labour intensive but very accurate. Another map of Canadian Forest followed, it was bigger and more complicated, but still accurate. His map making procedure is, even now, still firmly rooted in basic, original methods with little time for new technology. Ian managed to make some more maps from some free photogrammetry he got from an International Three Day event. Today he still makes his own maps using free hand, pacing and drawings – then passes them on to others to digitally prepare the final map. During his time at Bendigo he has never missed course setting at least one — until recently two events every year and still continues to compete every week.

He is an avid environmentalist and his knowledge of indigenous plants is second to none; he has written numerous volumes on his observations of micro climate and vegetation changes and is also the author of many, many articles on navigational techniques as used in orienteering; his property at Harcourt is not connected to electricity and he lives a Spartan and totally carbon neutral lifestyle.

Ian Johnson is an amazing person, he is iconic to our sport– a “living legend” of the Bendigo Orienteering Club and an individual the like of whom we will probably never see again.

Peter Creely, based on observations by John Wilkinson and Colin Walker.

We will celebrate Ian’s birthday at the event that he will course set at Black Dog Gully in Harcourt on 13 August this year. The occasion will be much more social this year with a BBQ and food supplied by the club. As in past years Jenny Ball will make Ian’s birthday cake and all are invited to stay and celebrate Ian’s birthday in the company of other club members.

ian johnson

Night Orienteering in Bendigo!

This coming Saturday we have a special event in the evening, for you to come and enjoy orienteering in twilight or night conditions. People who attended last year’s inaugural night champs event loved it and raved about how well organised it was and how much fun they had.

This is a brilliant opportunity to come and navigate in the twilight or in the dark, knowing there are other people nearby doing the same thing. It will help improve your navigation skills and is great for development. Course 1 and 2 are a mass start event at 5:35 and pre entry is required. Course 3-5 are run as normal with starts between 4:45 to 5:30 so you get to pick how dark you want it to be. Pre entry for these courses is still preferable.

The sunset is due to happen at 5:31pm and there will be a fire to keep everyone nice and warm as well. More details and pre-entry on Eventor. The deadline for pre-enty has been moved to midday on Friday. If you have a spare headlamp with strong light that you don’t mind lending to someone else, please bring it along. Christpher Naunton (our organser) has had some requests.

There is $50 for the winning male and female on course 1 for the night event Saturday night.

night champs

Browns Reef event report

On a cold but fine Saturday, Bendigo Bush 16 got off to a slightly delayed, but fox free start. The Brown’s Reef map is mostly open bush and offers some fast gully and spur orienteering terrain. Course 1 and 2 were relatively long (7.9 km and 6.0 km) and provided some interesting route choices for runners. Course 1 was won by Ben Goonan from Peter Hobbs and David Brownridge with all three averaging better than 6 minutes/km. Course 2 was the most popular course and Chris Naunton led Jimmy Cameron home with both runners averaging better than 6 minutes/km. Lian Perry from Eureka Orienteers won course 3 from local Bendigo runner, Rueben Cameron. Archie Neylon and Eleanor Williams both performed well to win courses 4 and 5. Thanks to Andrew Wallace for setting up the computer system on the day, Neil Barr for assistance with course setting and all helpers who assisted by picking up the controls.

Rob Clark


Of Dahlias and Arts

We had a good day yesterday at Dahlia and Arts festival. We had about 40 groups go round which involved about 100 people. A lot of interested adults that didn’t have a go on the course, but are interested in trying orienteering in the bush. I have invited them to a free trial in a fortnight at Spring Gully. The brochures were great too.

Jason Carter

Bendigo is going back to the Bush

The first of Bendigo Orienteering’s Bush Series events is taking place this Saturday the 19th between 12:30 and 2:00pm. Whether this is a warm up for Nerrina the following day, or maybe part of a day out in Bendigo to be combined with the Marilyn exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery or the Bendigo Craft Beer Festival.

Whatever your motivation, make your way up the Calder to experience the relaxed nature of orienteering around Bendigo. As a special treat we are putting on cooler weather. Currently a pleasant 22 degrees is predicted.

Directions from Centre of Bendigo: From the fountain at the centre of town take Mitchell Street towards the south east. Continue to follow as it turns into Carpenter Street, turning left into Spring Gully Road. Continue following Spring Gully Road south, it eventually turns into Mandurang Road, then Sedgwick Road. At the Mandurang Cricket Ground turn right into Nankervis Road, then after approximately 1 km, left into Pearces Road. The start is on the right after 800 metres.

Peter Forbes

2015 Club Champions!

Congratulations to all our medalists and club champions for 2015! After another great season of local competition the Bendigo Orienteers End-of-Year Presentations Event  was a great way to celebrate and recognise the efforts of our club members.

(L) Senior Woman's Champ - Leisha, and (r) Junior Girls champ - Karina

(L) Senior Woman’s Champ – Leisha, and (R) Junior Girls champ – Karina

Senior Mens Champ - Ben

Senior Mens Open Champ – Ben

Junior boys champ - Amos with uncle Toph

Junior boys champ – Amos (R), with uncle Toph (L)

(L) Golden Sandshoe winner Jack, and Junior boys winner Harrison

(L) Golden Sandshoe winner Jack, and Sub-Junior boys winner Harrison

Long time active club member Ian receiving gift of recognition

Long time active club member Ian received a gift of recognition and third place medal for Course 3

Two of Bendigo's longest serving members Peter and Peter holding the Bendigo Orienteers OV Rockhopper Champion Club Trophy

Founding members Peter S and Peter G holding the OV Rockhopper Trophy – Bendigo Orienteers Champoin Club again

Three unusual course formats were available on the day for members who were brave enough to try something a little different and the courses proved to be a real test of peoples navigation. Don’t be fooled – even a relatively simple map like Salomon links can be a technical challenge with a bit of imagination in course setting. Participants chose from either a Virtual-Maze-O course, Snake-O-linecourse Score format, or a Super-Scatter-Sprint. Judging from participants feedback, the challenge of these different formats was really enjoyed!

Virtual Maze-O


Snake-O-Linecourse Score

Snake-O-Linecourse Score

Go Explore It Heathcote – presentation of prizes

Last Friday morning I was honoured to present some prizes to participants in Go Explore It Heathcote. The CEO of Heathcote Health was there; Dan Douglass has been an enthusiastic supporter of our efforts to get the people of Heathcote out and active in their community. Also present were the coordinator of the Heathcote Community House, Vicki Forde and Sandra Slatter, who coordinates the Heathcote Community Games in February each year.
This project started many months ago when I met Dan out walking his dog. We got chatting (we used to work together) about his desire to improve physical activity for the people in Heathcote. Our club had just been awarded funding for Go Explore It and the Go Explore It group talked about including Heathcote in some of the activities. Heathcote is a town with entrenched disadvantage and a number of poor health measures among its population.
This year the Go Explore It project has achieved a number of exciting activities:

– A new orienteering map of the township of Heathcote was developed after we obtained LIDAR data of terrain in and around Heathcote, so we could make the base map. Christopher Naunton has done a great job of this map, and Bendigo club members will have the opportunity to run with this map at the ToDay event on 20th & 21st Feb 2016.

– Andrew Cameron, with help from a couple of other club members (including Darren Eenjes and Bryan Keely), organised a number of school based orienteering activities over two school terms at both the primary school and the Catholic primary school in town. He reported great enthusiasm and enjoyment among both students and staff members.

– The Go Explore It project has also developed some curriculum based classroom lessons designed to introduce primary school students to map reading around their environment, thanks to Jenny Ball and Joanne Cherry, who are practicing teachers. These resources meet the Australian curriculum standards and are available for free to teachers to use in their classrooms.

– The Go Explore It Heathcote was set up as a pilot so we could trial a community event in a smaller town before we introduce this to Bendigo in 2016. In order to make the maps available for free and broadly distributed, they were printed in large numbers and made available to the community in the local newspaper, the schools and the community house and tourist information centre. The activity went for 2 months and people were challenged to use the map as they walked, ran or cycled around the town, finding sites and matching photos. A website was developed, and participants were invited to register their answers on the website. We wanted mass participation. Craig Fueurhardt has contributed many hours of planning and organizing to get these things happening in Heathcote.

– Registration on the website was actually a bit disappointing, and we realized that we had made a lot of assumptions in the way that Go Explore It Heathcote was designed and organised. We met with Sandra and Vicki, and learned a few things about the community. As a result there are a few things we are planning to do differently in Bendigo in 2016 when we introduce a larger map reading health promotion activity.

– So, back to the presentation. A mother attended with her six youngest home schooled children. She had gone out with 4 of her children and they had found the largest number of sites. They won a $50 voucher from Sportsco and also a massage voucher from N8 Health for being the largest group to participate. Two other people won prizes. When I stated that we were a bit disappointed at the low participation rate, Dan, Vicki and Sandra all stated that many more people got out and tried it than the ones who registered their results on the website.

– The Go Explore It group has committed Bendigo Orienteers to two ‘Come and Try It’ orienteering events in Heathcote next year: the first ToDay sprint event will have a short novice option for locals to get a taste of orienteering, and on the following weekend, we have been asked to provide a small sample event around Barracks reserve as part of the Heathcote Community Games.

Go Explore It has made a mark on Heathcote and introduced orienteering in interesting ways for the community. I encourage club members to consider volunteering with me in February to help a few locals discover some of the fun and wonders of orienteering.

Julie Flynn



ALL WELCOME (members and visitors) – Bendigo Presentations and End-Of-Year Event @ Quarry Hill Golf Course club rooms.


Will it be Virtually aMAZING? Could there be an opportunity for people with NOODLE skills? Why not come and find out! Expect the Unexpected?

We have dusted off the trophies and have a swag of medals to award our club champions! Its time to celebrate the great effort of all our club members through the year, so come along and enjoy a wacky course and yummy BBQ with us.

Please remember to RSVP FOR CATERING via Eventor (Log in and enter the event here to RSVP)

Your also welcome to join us for a RUN ONLY – that’s fine, but please let us know (email: for run only NO need to RSVP!

See you there, Enjoy!

Rumor has it, there might be something like this? – just a little easier!

Maze Orienteering

Bendigo Presentations and End-Of-Year Event

ALL WELCOME (members and visitors) – Bendigo Presentations and End-Of-Year Event @ Quarry Hill Golf Course club rooms.

If you enjoyed our year of orienteering, why not join us to celebrate on SUNDAY 6th DECEMBER for a run and lunch at Solomon Links!

Orienteering course available from 10:30 to 11:30am

BBQ Lunch 12:00 pm

Presentations 1:00 pm

Please RSVP via Eventor (ENTER HERE) for catering purposes, meat and light refreshments provided, please bring a salad plate to share.

Your welcome to join us for a RUN ONLY – that’s fine, but please let us know (email: NO need to RSVP!

See you there, Enjoy!