The past year has been another good one for local orienteering. This wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of many of our club members. I will now detail some of the achievements for 2018 and acknowledge the people involved:
For many years there has been a push to get the club its own storage space. Club members had always stored the club’s equipment and trailers on their own properties. Most notably, Nigel McGuckian had given his shed space to the club for many years. Getting a shed built on public land proved to be very difficult due to various issues. These included available building sites being unsuitable and council red tape. After a proposal to build a shed at the Quarry Hill Golf Club was abandoned due to many difficulties, Colin Walker very generously offered the club a site at his business the Bendigo Woollen Mills. This site was great in terms of location, vehicle accessibility and security. Peter Creely’s enthusiasm for this project was vital in getting it underway and after a few months of preparation the shed was constructed. The last big task was moving all the club’s gear from Nigel’s shed into the new shed. This was carried out by Peter and Dianne Searle, and Peter Galvin. During their time as presidents, Jim Russell, Richard Goonan and Julie Flynn put a lot of effort into getting a shed for the club. Their work made it very easy for me.
During 2017 and early 2018 Nigel McGuckian worked with the leaders of the Dja Dja Wurrung on a memorandum of understanding. The Dja Dja Wurrung aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of the land in central Victoria. The memorandum allowed orienteering to continue on Dja Dja Wurrung country by ensuring that the participants respected the aboriginal heritage. This MOU is thought to be the first in Australia between a sporting club and an aboriginal tribe and has provided a great example for other sporting and recreational clubs to follow. The memorandum of understanding was signed at the Victorian Orienteering Middle Distance Championships in Spring Gully on the 19th May.
Jim Russell was the course setter for the Middle Champs and Alison Radford was the controller. The club was fortunate to have permission to hold this event inside the fence around the Spring Gully reservoir, a very special area that is normally closed to the public. Many volunteers from the club were required to plan the event and help on the day. I was really pleased with the willingness of club members to help. This event was successful due to the experience and dedication of those members.
On the 29th April the Bendigo Orienteers held its 2nd annual Wheel Cactus Eradication Day at Mt Kooyoora. This is a fantastic area for orienteering so it is important that orienteers take some responsibility to ensure that it is not overrun by noxious weeds. It was great that there were some new volunteers from the club along with some returning for a second go at the cactus. This year the surviving cactus plants had become harder to find so with persistence I’m sure we can keep these weeds at bay. Thanks to club volunteers Julie Flynn, Neil Barr, Peter and Dianne Searle, Lorraine Leversha and Jim Russell.
Andrew Cameron and Darren Eenjes located a new local supplier for our Bendigo Orienteers O-Tops with a much better price than the previous overseas supplier. They also worked with the local supplier on a smart new design, incorporating an orienteering map into the background. Darren and Andrew ran stall at many of our events to sell the new O-Tops to club members and had plenty of happy customers.
Neil Barr pioneered the BendigO-Ringen events weekend last year. This involved events in five small mining areas around Bendigo over one weekend in July. The Sunday event required competitors to combine foot orienteering with (untimed) driving between each mapped area. I really enjoyed Neil’s event concept and was impressed by the attention to detail in his planning. Neil also completed a comprehensive update of the Peter the Great Gully map.
Young orienteer Archie Neylon was a first-time course setter for our local event series in 2018. He was ably assisted by his family and Terry Davidson. Archie’s fun and challenging score event at Ironstone Hill was a fine season finale. It is very pleasing that Archie has volunteered to course set again in 2019.
I was very fortunate to have a supportive committee for the past year. Along with some members continuing from previous years we welcomed new recruits Jenny and Lorraine. Jenny has been a fantastic secretary and diligently prepared very detailed meeting minutes. Lorraine has been a very reliable, responsible and capable treasurer. Both these ladies were valued contributors to the club’s committee, and regularly volunteered for committee and event tasks. Peter Forbes has been obtaining the club’s event permits for the past couple of years. This can be a very frustrating and tedious task but Peter has obtained all the permits without appearing too stressed. We were really amazed that Peter managed to get a planned burn off postponed by a couple of days so we didn’t have to cancel one of our events. Julie Flynn prepared that club’s child safe policy. This involved extensive consultation with our junior members and their parents. This policy is very important for the club and Julie is to be commended on all the effort she put into it. Jacqui Knee has continued the good work of other members by engaging with schools and getting the students involved in orienteering. Jacqui worked with Eppalock primary school. We were really impressed that Jacqui managed to encourage so many of the students and their parents to attend the Lyell Forest event on the 30th June to raise money for their school.
Thank you to all the members who helped with our local events during 2018. I am always amazed that our club can hold so many events week after week. We have a lot of good workers in this club and I hope that they can keep up their efforts whilst encouraging our newer members to increase their involvement.