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Significant Events in ACT Orienteering History No. 4: 2000 – Today

This is the final 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 three articles outlined significant events in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

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 New Millennium: The Advance of Technology

Early 2000. SportIdent trialled at Summer Series events.

Easter 2000. ACTOA conduct two World Cup events in conjunction with the Australian Three-days. SportIdent is used at a major event for the first time in Australia.

2001. Award for services to ACTOA coaching introduced, awarded to Len Minty.

20 February 2002. ACT Orienteering Association becomes Orienteering ACT.

January 2003. Devastating bushfires burn out many orienteering areas in the pine forests west of Canberra and Namadgi National Park, and destroy the homes of three Canberra orienteering families. While OACT received ACT Government funding for bushfire recovery, many of the burnt areas have not returned to a condition suitable for orienteering, resulting in greater use of Canberra Nature Park for local events.

20 March 2004. First ACT Middle Distance Championships (Badja).

25-28 March 2005. OACT conducts Australian Three-days and Family Relays near Jindabyne (SnowE 2005) – the most significant move away from Canberra for a national carnival.

16 April 2005. First ACT Sprint Distance Championships (Yarralumla Bays).

4 June 2006. Death of Jim Sawkins while competing at Goorooyarroo. The Jim Sawkins Award for Services to Event Management was established in his memory and awarded later that year (to Anthony Scott).

Easter 2010. Major studies of environmental impact of orienteering undertaken in Namadgi National Park in association with Australian Three-days.

31 January 2011. Introduction of regular Street Orienteering to Canberra, assisted by the ACT Government Health Promotion Grants Program.

8 May 2011. 40th Anniversary event held at Black Mountain.

2013. Eventor introduced on a regular basis for on-line membership and event registration management.

September 2013. Final edition of printed newsletter (ACT Orienteering News), replaced by electronic newsletter.

March 2015. SC-ORE (interschool relay competition for primary schools) started, following a trial in December 2014.

Easter 2016. SIAC contactless punching used for Elite Prologue at University of Canberra.

2016. New permanent courses (Weston Park, John Knight Park, Fadden Pines) established with assistance from ACT Government grant. Additional permanent courses followed.

September 2017. Final issue of electronic newsletter, replaced by website news.

October 2017. New website launched, with new OACT logo adopted.

Late 2019. Regular ACT Sprint Series initiated, expanded in January 2020.

Summer 2019-20. Bushfires burn several established orienteering areas in Namadgi National Park, as well as newly mapped areas at Broulee. Bushfire smoke in Canberra results in event cancellation for health reasons.

2020. Covid-19 pandemic results in temporary cessation of orienteering and cancellation of some major events. When orienteering resumes, development of a Covid Safe Plan results in changes in event management including:

  • pre-entry for regular events;
  • contactless punching (or no punching) at regular events;
  • development and promotion of MapRun.

26 November 2020. Special General Meeting adopts new Constitution which abolishes the OACT Council and ends club representation in overall decision-making.

Photos in this article were provided by Tom de Jongh, Bob Mouatt and John Harding.