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ACTOA President, Phil Creaser, cutting the cake at the 21st Birthday event at Black Mountain in May 1992

Significant Events in ACT Orienteering History No. 3: The 1990s

This is the third in a series of articles prepared by David Hogg summarising significant events in ACT orienteering history in the lead up to the 50th Anniversary of orienteering in the ACT. The first two articles outlined significant events in the 1970s and 1980s.

A 50th Anniversary event will be conducted as part of the Midweek Series on Wednesday 19 May. This will include a short ‘Flashback’ event using part of the 1971 Black Mountain (black-and-white) map and 1971 style equipment, as well as a historical display.

The 1990s: Becoming More Professional

27-28 January 1990. High O conducted at Kiandra by ACTOA members of ACT Rogaining Association – the first time this event was held outside Victoria.

February 1990. ACT Government approves use by ACTOA of a former City Parks depot at Curtin, enabling event equipment which had previously been kept at several members’ homes to be kept in a central location.

Early 1990. ACT Academy of Sport Scholarship awarded to Kirsty Bruce, the first of several such scholarships awarded to promising ACT orienteers.

7 October 1990. Death of former ACTOA Secretary, Mike Cassells, while travelling from the Australian Championships Carnival to the Victorian ski fields. The Mike Cassells Award for services to ACT orienteering was instigated the following year.

October 1990. Official launch by ACT Government of bid by OFA to host the 2001 World Orienteering Championships in the Canberra region as part of Australia’s centenary celebrations. The bid to the IOF was not successful.

1990. The Wehner Cup first awarded to the overall winner of the Orienteer of the Year competition (Jenny Bourne).

Summer 1990-91. Regular Summer Twilight series established. (Sponsored by the Runners Shop from 1995-96 onwards).

18 March 1991. Abominable O-men club formed mainly by former Parawanga and WASCO members.

1991. Commencement of Health Promotion Fund (Healthpact) sponsorship of orienteering in the ACT, with launch at the ACT Relays.

1991. First computer-drawn maps produced in Canberra using Corel Draw software (Deakin Telephone Exchange, Campbell Park Offices).

November 1991. Part-time Development Officer (Mick Finn) appointed, assisted by Healthpact sponsorship, with focus on schools promotion.

3 December 1991. Inaugural ACTOA Annual Dinner and Presentation Evening, including first presentation of Mike Cassells Award (to Phil Creaser).

18 October 1992. Event organised in Cooma (Mount Gladstone) by local Cooma/Jindabyne orienteers. Subsequent OY event organised in 1993 by Cooma orienteers at Big Badja with help from Canberra orienteers (mainly Parawanga). It was hoped that a club would be formed at Cooma, but this did not eventuate.

23 February 1993. New ACTOA Constitution adopted at AGM which established a Board of Management (six Directors) and a Council with club representation.

1993. Australian Orienteering League established with four teams, including the Canberra Cosmonauts. The Cosmonauts won the competition in 1994, the first of many wins.

February 1994. Trail Orienteering for wheelchair participants introduced to Canberra by Anne Braggins, Chairman of the IOF Trail O Group.

March 1994. First OCAD map produced in the ACT (Tharwa Tor remap, used for badge event on 15 May).

July 1994. Danny Flynn replaced Mick Finn as Development Officer, with position partly funded by ACT Bureau of Sport, Recreation and Racing.

12 May 1995. Heart Health Community Orienteering Program (midweek lunchtime) launched by ACT Chief Minister, Kate Carnell, at Commonwealth Park.

November 1995. WASCO disbanded with members going to other clubs.

December 1995. ACTOA began establishing its own office in the Jamison Centre, with the office becoming almost fully functional by June 1996.

Winter 1996. Ski orienteering reintroduced to Perisher Valley, including the second Australian Ski Orienteering Championships.

January 1997. Development Officer position replaced with appointment of Executive Director (Bob Mouatt) and Community Development Coordinator (Jenny Lawford/Bourne).

February 1997. Mountain bike orienteering introduced to the ACT with MTBO club formed in April 1997.

2 November 1997. First ACT MTBO Championships (Stromlo Forest).

24-25 January 1998. High O conducted at Perisher Ski Resort.

1998. Australian Orienteering League becomes National Orienteering League. Canberra Cosmonauts become Canberra Cockatoos and continue to dominate the competition.

May 1999. Administrative Officer (Gayle Radstaak) appointed to support the Executive Director and Community Development Officer.

1999. ACT Academy of Sport Orienteering Squad transformed from a collection of individual athletes into an organised training squad with coaches appointed.