• Bendigo Orienteers would like to acknowledge and pay respects to the traditional owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung people, whose country we are on and extend our respect to their Elders, both past and present.

2018 President’s Report

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.

AGM and Fowl & Fizz

Bendigo Orienteers is holding its first event for 2019 on Saturday 2nd of February. The assembly area is the picnic shelter at the No. 7 reservoir in Kangaroo Flat.

There is a choice of a 45-minute Score-O or 2.3 km novice course starting between 8.15 am and 8.35 am (no mass start). The Score-O has 16 controls placed in the bushland within the Crusoe and No. 7 Park, which includes some challenging gold mining terrain. Bring your SI stick, compass and watch for orienteering. Some equipment will be available to loan.

The orienteering events will be followed by breakfast and the Annual General Meeting (AGM). On the menu for breakfast is chicken, champagne (for the grown-ups), salads, fruit and non-alcoholic beverages all supplied by the club. If you don’t want to participate in the orienteering you may arrive at around 9.15 am for breakfast.

The most important part of the AGM will be the election for the following positions in the 2019 committee:

  1. President
  2. Vice-President
  3. Treasurer
  4. Secretary
  5. Ordinary committee members

All positions will be declared vacant prior to the election. If you wish to nominate someone for a committee position and they have consented, please email your nomination to Jenny Ball. This will help the current committee to coordinate its efforts in finding at least one candidate for each position. The roles of the committee members are critical to ensure that the club functions correctly and remains strong.

The AGM and Fowl & Fizz is a free event for all members of Bendigo Orienteers, their families and guardians. For catering purposes, please email Jenny Ball by Wednesday 30th January if you want to attend.

Directions: Southbound on the Calder Hwy in Kangaroo Flat, turn right at Harvey Norman onto Furness St. Almost immediately turn left onto Granter St. Continue for 1.1 km, then proceed through entrance signposted Crusoe and No. 7 Park. Follow driveway to parking area.

For a map of the assembly area and further details, follow this link to the Eventor page:  https://eventor.orienteering.asn.au/Events/Show/7587

Congratulations to our award winners!

The club’s end of year presentations took place on the 11th November at the Mandurang South Pony Club. Many club members and their families came together to enjoy socialising, a delicious lunch and a fun score-O. Together we congratulated the winners of this year’s awards:

Open Mens
1st: Ben Goonan
2nd: Richard Goonan
3rd: Andrew Wallace

Open Womens
1st: Clare Brownridge
2nd: Julie Flynn
3rd: Ilka Barr

Mens B
1st: Andrew Cameron
2nd: Charles Brownridge
3rd: Michael Loughnan

Womens B
1st: Leisha Maggs
2nd: Jenny Ball
3rd: Caitlyn Steer

Junior Men
1st: Amos Walz
2nd: Archie Neylon
3rd: John Steer

Junior Women
1st: Serryn Eenjes
2nd: Isobel Byrne
3rd: Ebony Naunton

Sub-Junior Boys
1st: Xavier Ough
2nd: Jack Barianos
3rd: Hugo Byrne

Sub-Junior Girls
1st: Charlotte Ough
2nd: Clementine Neylon

Vera Shelton Award
Lorraine Leversha

Golden Leg
Peter Searle

Ping-Pong Lotto Score-O
Clementine Neylon

Submit your nominations for these special awards

If you weren’t quite fast enough to be in contention for a series championship trophy this year don’t worry as there are a few other awards up for grabs. These will be awarded to their worthy recipients at our presentations in November. Please submit your nominations to Andrew Wallace if you consider yourself or another member to be a candidate for one of these awards. The winners will be decided by a vote at the presentations.

Black Crow

The Black Crow award is a tribute to lack of thought. Its winner is guilty of the most hilarious/embarrassing/dumbfounding act of orienteering related silliness for the year.

Golden Leg

This is awarded to a course setter who provides a finely balanced combination of difficulty, enjoyment and route choices in the best course leg for the year.

Noodle Award

Have you ever spent ages searching for a control? If you were wearing a GPS at the time your trace might look a bit like a bowl of noodles. This award is for the unfortunate orienteer with the most noodle-like GPS trace.


Vote for Park & Street Challenge!

The Victorian Government is running a community grants initiative called Pick My Project with the aim of funding projects that benefit local communities. The public get to vote on which projects they like and the most popular ones receive the funding.

The Park & Street Challenge events have been held very successfully in Bendigo for the last few years. They are organised by two members of Bendigo Orienteers, Craig Feurherdt and Andrew Cameron. The Park & Street Challenge has been entered in Pick My Project because funds are needed to allow more events to be held.

The Park & Street challenge involves orienteering style events in the beautiful, family friendly parks and gardens of Bendigo. Participants are provided with a paper map and have up to 1 hour to locate as many of the marked locations as possible. Results are recorded using the free MapRun app that is installed on the smartphones carried by the participants.

Fun, fitness and fresh air for all ages is the goal of the Park & Street Challenge. It also a very safe way for the participants to gain their confidence in orienteering. And this makes the big step into bush orienteering easy and enjoyable. Bendigo Orienteers hopes to gain many new members who were introduced to orienteering through the Park & Street Challenge.

Bendigo Orienteers strongly encourages all of its members, aged 16 and over and living in the Bendigo area to vote for Park & Street Challenge in Pick My Project. Please ask your friends, family and others to do the same.

Voting is quick and simple, and open until 5pm, Monday 17 September:

  1. Go to (follow linkhttps://pickmyproject.vic.gov.au/
  2. Register for a Pick My Project account. If you already have an account, simply sign in.
  3. Select your local community by entering your suburb or address. You can then browse the project ideas in your local community and create a shortlist of your favourites including the Park & Street Challenge.
  4. Pick your three favourite project ideas from your shortlist and verify your mobile number. You’ll then be able to submit your votes. Make sure you vote for Park & Street Challenge.

Please view this short video (follow linkhttps://vimeo.com/286990377 from Craig and Andrew.



O-Ringen is the largest orienteering event in the world. It takes place each year in the Swedish midsummer. The event consists of five races over six days. It attracts over 20,000 entrants. Every year it is attended by a number of travelling Australian orienteers, including some from Bendigo. This year there were four Bendigo entrants- Alison, Tony, Jim and Toph.

While the travelers are away, most of us remain here through the Bendigo winter attending our local events. Sometime late last year an idea took shape – can we organise a local event that will make the travelling orienteers wish they were back in Bendigo, if only for a weekend? What can Bendigo offer orienteering that few other clubs around the world can? Evan Barr first gave an answer to this question some years ago when he floated the idea of a weekend of sprint length races on the small detailed mining landscapes that are scattered across Bendigo. This year our fixture gave the idea a run. A short length local event took place on Bird’s Reef on Saturday. On Sunday a progressive dinner style event took place on four small maps n the Epsom-Eaglehawk area. Competitors drove between maps and ran a small course on each. The time driving was not included in the competitive time. Fifty-five people pre-entered (Enter on the Day was too hard to manage for the single organiser). As promised, the sun eventually shone and most entrants had an enjoyable and memorable time in this unusual event format including a panoramic view of the final competition area from the top of the Pearl Mine mullock heap.

At some point during the day in a conversation we were all reminded that O-Ringen was taking place on the same weekend. We realized that whilst the travelers in Europe were running five races over six days, we were running five races over two days. The phrase “BendigO-Ringen” was coined with the slogan “Why run five in six when you can run five in two!”. The obvious question soon followed- can we organise this event on O-Ringen weekend next year, and maybe the following year, and maybe… The main issues are whether we have the maps and the volunteer enthusiasm. This year the event had a single organiser. With nothing else going on in my life, a single organiser was a feasible concept. However, life threw up a few curve balls in the lead up to the event including a serious family illness and autumn prescribed burning of one of the maps necessitating a late remap. The organization became a bit rushed. A small team of two or three would have been an improvement.

As to the maps, well the event this year scratched the potential surface. We used Birds Reef on the Saturday and White Hill No 4, Perfumed Garden, St Justs Point and Prince of Wales on the Sunday. A potential structure for next year would be to use Royal George Company for a usual Saturday event and St Just’s (to be remapped to ISSOM sprint specification), New Saint Mungo, South Star and New Argus on the Sunday. The maps run in an arc from the Calder Highway to Eaglehawk through the forests to the west of Bendigo. There are a couple more contending maps in Bendigo- Golden Gully, Ironstone Hill and the south end of Fiddlers Green. Beyond that we need to head further afield to unmapped areas to the west. There are potentially two very interesting small areas around Tarnagulla. There is another very detailed area near Dunolly. (We have lidar data for two of these three). There is another potential area near Bealiba and two near Inglewood. Finally, there are possibly four areas to the south of Castlemaine, one at Maldon and two near Harcourt if we include a remap of Black Jack Gully. That is potentially a total of 25 maps. None of these areas is large enough to support a standard local event let alone a State Series. At four maps used a year (with a normal scale map on the Saturday) it might be possible to run a similar event for five or six years without repeating maps if the enthusiasm did not wane.

Neil Barr

Happy Birthday Ian!

How often do you run on an orienteering course set by a nonagenarian? Last Saturday the Bendigo Orienteers Saturday event was course set by Ian Johnson as a celebration of his 90th birthday. Each year for the past decade or more Ian has set the Saturday courses to mark his birthday. These courses have usually been set on the Black Jack Gully map that Ian field-worked in his late 70s. This year the marking of his 90th was seen as a milestone. Ian set the courses well in advance, but for the first time, was unable to place the control stands himself.  John Wilkinson and Colin Walker stepped in to make sure the event took place. For the past month or so Ian has been living in Melbourne with relatives whilst overcoming some health problems. Despite these difficulties, he made the journey back from Melbourne to attend the event. Club President Andrew Wallace and immediate past OV president Mark Hennessy shared some memories of Ian’s recent and past contributions to the sport of orienteering. Mark reminded us all of Ian’s contribution to the development of Victoria’s first specialized orienteering maps. Orienteer and professional cakeologist Leisha Maggs produced a wonderful birthday cake and even the weather held off its rain until after the conclusion of celebrations. The day was a memorable celebration for Ian and the Bendigo Orienteers.

Neil Barr


Ian Johnson’s 90th birthday event

Ian Johnson is the oldest member of the Bendigo Orienteering Club. His 90th birthday comes up in August 2018 and the club will celebrate the occasion at his micro-sprint event at Black Jack Gully near Castlemaine on August 11th. Ian still competes in events although he is now slowing down a bit, but he still enjoys the bush and finding controls.  We wonder how many people reading this will still be able to navigate their way around the Bendigo bush when they are 90 years old.

Ian recently had operations on his legs to improve circulation. We hope he is able to make it to his event – John Wilkinson and Colin Walker will organise things for Ian’s event (which Ian has course set).  Hopefully plenty of members can attend.

Ian retired from primary teaching in 1986, and came to live near Castlemaine. His first venture into orienteering was on a novice course at an event in 1971 at St George’s Lake in the Creswick Forest. He can remember that the controls were buckets hanging by a rope with pens of different colours to mark the spaces on the map. 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.

Ian is an avid environmentalist and his knowledge of indigenous plants is second to none; he has written numerous documents on his observations of micro climate and vegetation changes and 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.

Peter Creely, another long-standing patron of orienteering, described Ian Johnson as “an amazing person, … a “living legend” of the Bendigo Orienteering Club and an individual the like of whom we will probably never see again”.

All are invited to stay and celebrate Ian’s birthday at his event on the 11th August in the company of other club members. Our resident pâtissière, Leisha Maggs, will make Ian’s birthday cake and the club will supply meat for a BBQ.

If other members wish to bring something to share that would be appreciated.

For directions and event information (follow link): https://eventor.orienteering.asn.au/Events/Show/6291

John Wilkinson

Bendigo Orienteers congratulates its high achievers

Seven of our young members have been selected to represent Victoria at the Australian Schools Orienteering Championships. The championships will be held late in September in South Australia. These members are:

  • Karina Cherry
  • Serryn Eenjes
  • Michael Loughnan (traveling reserve)
  • Archie Neylon (traveling reserve)
  • Caitlyn Steer
  • John Steer
  • Sophie Taverna

Another member, Bryan Keely, currently based in Sweden, has been selected to represent Australia in the World Orienteering Championships. This is being held in Latvia in early August.

Bendigo Orienteers is providing financial support to these members to cover some of their costs such as travel and accommodation.

We congratulate these members on their selection and wish them all the best in their events.

Bendigo Orienteers holds another successful wheel cactus day

It was an early start for the wheel cactus volunteers, arriving at the Crystal Mine car park near Mt Kooyoora at 9 am. In keeping with the environmental theme a car pool was organised, with eight volunteers travelling from Bendigo in two cars.

 Upon arrival, we were greeted by a very cold and strong wind. Much to our surprise, outdoor ed students from Latrobe uni were also in the area to practice their orienteering skills. The students had seen wheel cactus plants in the area, including a plant near one of their controls.

 James Nelsson from Loddon Plains Landcare Network and his wife Trudy soon arrived with all the wheel cactus eradication equipment. This time the volunteers decided to split into teams to cover a greater area. My team set off for the steep northern slope of Mt Kooyoora while the other teams hunted in the area where the outdoor ed students had seen the wheel cactus plants.

 Luckily the cold wind died down and it became a warm and pleasant morning. My team was guided by Julie Flynn who did a great job of picking an easy path over Mt Kooyoora. After a bit of searching, we spotted a large patch of wheel cactus and set to work. This patch had been tackled at the last wheel cactus day but it was so large and thick that the inner plants couldn’t be reached. Ten months after poisoning, the outer plants had rotted to the ground and the inner plants were now all accessible.

 It seems that even the hardy wheel cactus can struggle in dry Australian conditions; the plants were much thinner and softer than they were in the previous year. This made them much harder to inject with the poison, so progress was slow. Eventually all the wheel cactus plants in the area had been injected, just in time to get back to the car park for lunch.

 As the volunteers sat together in the wonderful autumn sunshine and enjoyed our lunch we were all satisfied that we had done our bit to fight the wheel cactus scourge. Kooyoora is such a fantastic area, not just for the challenging orienteering but also its natural beauty. It truly deserves our care and protection.

 A big thank you to James and Trudy Nelsson for supplying the equipment, and volunteers Neil Barr, Julie Flynn, Andrew Lewis, Lorraine Leversha, Jim Russell, Dianne Searle and Peter Searle.