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50 Years Ago Today

50 years ago today, 23 August 1969, the event which led to the establishment of Orienteering as a regular sport for the Australian community was held at Upper Beaconsfield on the outskirts of Melbourne.  The featured image shows the map and course used by competitors on the day.  The control markers (checkpoints) were 4-gallon (18 litre) metal oil drums, painted red with a white stripe, with self-inking stamps or coloured pencils attached. 

One of finishers (5th) of that first event, David Hogg, moved to Canberra soon afterwards and staged the first event in the ACT on Black Mountain on 16 May 1971.  Another finisher on the day (3rd), Graham Moon, also moved to Canberra and played a significant role in the formation of the Northside Navigators, which later joined with the Majura Macropods to form the Bushflyers club.  In August 1989, the Australian Orienteer published a 20 year history of the sport, Beaconsfield Revisited.

Orienteering technology has advanced a long way in 50 years, with electronic and digital technology being used in every way from the production of highly accurate maps to electronic timing and GPS tracking of competitors, in major events, in real time.  Orienteering ACT will celebrate the advent of orienteering in Australia, with final of the 2019 Junior League, which is also the 2019 ACT Secondary Schools Championships, on Isaacs Ridge on Saturday.