Bryant Allen

Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand, but grew up in North Taranaki.

Occupation: Geographer. Retired from College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU where I did social and economic research in PNG. From 2009 worked for 3 years as a fly-in-fly-out contractor to ExxonMobil on the PNG LNG Project, identifying and compensating people impacted by construction of the gas plant, wells and pipeline.

How long have you lived in the ACT: Came here from NZ via a year at Flinders Uni, Adelaide, to a scholarship at ANU, in 1971. Went to PNG for 2 years fieldwork in a village, returned to Canberra, then back to UPNG for 10 years then back again to Canberra for good. That was when I started Orienteering.

Your first orienteering event: Can’t remember the name of the map, but it was in 1982 in one of the nearby western pine forests, now burned or gone under houses. A zealous course setter had hidden a flag in a log pile. I learned my most important lesson very early. Don’t hide the control flags! The sport is Orienteering, not Geocaching.

Your most recent orienteering event: Commonwealth Park, where I got lost, if ever so briefly. But it sort of sums things up.

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable: Somewhere out past Queanbeyan at an event being run prior to the 1985 WOC, with lots of international competitors. I was lost in a thicket when a chap wearing a Union Jack went flying past and disappeared up the hill into the scrub. It was then that I knew I if he could come all the way from the UK and know where he was, when I did not, then I was never going to win an event and should just settle back and enjoy the navigation, the running and the bush.

Worst orienteering mistake:. A Sandhills event where I did a 180 from the Start and had to creep back around the Start hoping that nobody noticed what I had done.

Best orienteering tip received: Only one? (1) If you don’t know EXACTLY where you are on the map STOP! Don’t keep running along hoping it will all become clear soon; (2) Don’t look at the boulders; (3) Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate, never stop concentrating, even for 10 seconds!

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: I like the spurs and gullies and find the rock somewhat challenging. But I will Orienteer anywhere.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: See above.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: Talaganda. Just between you and me, I enjoy Wednesday lunchtimes around Canberra as much as I enjoy a national or international event. More relaxed, nice people and possibly better courses.

Other sports or interests: I do hold a C Class parachutists license, but haven’t jumped for a long time. Writing, researching, trying to finish books started at ANU, but which were postponed by the interminable meetings and the budgetary problems.

Photo:  Bryant Allen and Keith Fifield (two ex Taranaki boys captured in the one photo many years after their High School days in NZ) 


Colleen Mock

Birthplace: A Canberra native, born and bred.

Occupation: Geologist, librarian, Geoscience Australia (retired).

How long have you lived in the ACT?  All my life, except for 4 years overseas in Canada in 1960s.  Never could get away.

Your first orienteering event: Yarramundi Reach, May 1975, when there were still pine trees there.  Encouraged to try orienteering by two champions of the day, Peter Smith and Kjell Ellingsen, both work colleagues at Bureau of Mineral Resources.  Was immediately hooked, but regretted telling everyone how much fun it was when a friend asked me to take along a mutual acquaintance, a new arrival in Canberra who was at a bit of a loss for activities on weekends.  A Chinese boy from Sydney, didn’t say much, maybe didn’t speak English?  City boy, probably hadn’t seen a compass before, I thought – would get lost, keep me waiting… – me and my big mouth!  Anyway off we ventured Sundays to Murrays Corner, Murryong,Turallo Creek, Pierces Creek, Bungendore Hill and other fabled orienteering venues of the time.  Turned out the quiet Chinese could speak English and did know north from south, and the rest, as they say…

Career highlights: Audun Fristad encouragement award, Australian Champs, 1977, 3rd W19B.  Yes all downhill since then.

Worst orienteering mistake: Sugarloaf Hill (Tallong), Southern Highlands, 1977. I had boldly entered W19E. Genuine elites were interspersed with elite wannabes in the starts.  I started 2 mins before the mighty Carolyn Hooper (Jackson, as she is now).  She caught up to me by no. 2 but I kept her in sight across the open to no. 4.  After that we headed into the eucalypt forest and I didn’t see her again until we met at no. 11.  If she was worried that she had a new rival she needn’t have been because in the time that she had unerringly visited controls 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, I had been wandering aimlessly, hopelessly, cluelessly around the dense, featureless sandstone plateau without stumbling across a single control.  After an eternity I finally spied by sheer accident a lonely control in a tiny clearing, only to stop dead as I heard pounding footsteps and Carolyn burst into the clearing, punched and disappeared without breaking stride.  So it was that we met at no. 11.

Had to suspend my promising career because offspring didn’t like the thistles and prickles.  Spent weekends at soccer fields, tennis courts, swimming pools, gyms and hockey rinks, mostly hockey rinks, until the hockey player finally got his long-awaited licence (on only the 3rd attempt).  Of course I never regained my earlier form but I like to believe there will never be another disaster on the scale of Tallong (or Warby Ranges, 1978, or Collector, 2010, or Wild Cattle Creek, repeatedly, or that relay event at Scabbing Flat when I was a first leg starter but finished after the 3rd leg starters’ mass start, …).  Although going to the same control twice at a recent Street-O event doesn’t bode well.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable:  All Xmas 5-days carnivals, my favourites because of minimal categorisation and focus on participation rather than performance.

Best orienteering tip received: RACE (Route choice, Attack point, Control, Exit).  Far superior to the tried and false HAM (hit and miss) technique.  Thanks Scotty.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: pre-2003 Cotter/Brindabellas, e.g. Tanners Flat Creek.  Love those pine forests, so soft underfoot, so fragrant.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: N/A – see below.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  Whichever is furthest – Newcastle, Dubbo, Orange or Ballarat.  I have never orienteered outside ACT/NSW/Victoria, unless I can count a Trim course we stumbled across in Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

Other sports or interests: Rogaining, roller-blading, visiting interstate and overseas offspring, hiking in the European Alps, learning German in prep for next Alpine hike.

Phil Walker

Birthplace: Sydney

Occupation: Public Servant

How long have you lived in the ACT:  Since 1987 with a break in the 1990s.

Your first orienteering event:  Gave it a go a couple of times at OACT Saturday events in the early 1990s with children in backpacks, then again in 2004 when Kristen started with the ACT Schools Team.

Your most recent orienteering event:  Wednesday twilight event at Radford College.

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable:  WMOC 2012 in Germany.  This was our introduction to an overseas international carnival.  Wonderful terrain, sprints in medieval towns, good courses and my navigation was cautious but generally accurate.  All topped off by a good contingent of Parawangans sharing a ski lodge, that made for enjoyable evenings of food, wine and post mortems of courses run and mistakes made.

Worst orienteering mistake:  Far too many to recall, especially in the early days when plus 30 minute mistakes were not uncommon.  I am now down to 5 minute errors but just when I think that I have made every mistake possible, I find a new way to become unstuck.  I am still looking for the perfect run.  Maybe one day it will all click.

Best orienteering tip received:  Don’t try and read every feature on the map, go for the big features to get you to the control circle then start the detailed navigation.  Biggest improvement was when I was instructed by a younger member of my family to give away the baseplate compass and to navigate off features rather than relying on compass bearings.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT:  Everything except Honeysuckle.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT:  Dubbo area used for JWOC, Awoonga and Buckenderra.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  Germany for WMOC 2012.

Other sports or interests:  Cycling and Duathlons, (competing); Rugby (supporter) and Cricket (ex-competitor now a slightly disillusioned spectator).

Geoff Wood

Birthplace: Sydney

Occupation: Electrical engineer, then public servant, then retired and now orienteering.

How long have you lived in the ACT: Since 1973 with a few gaps.

Your first orienteering event: Saturday 20 July 2002 at Mt Majura West.

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable: The Christmas 2007 5 Days at Newcastle. This was my first interstate orienteering.

Worst orienteering mistake: This was at a Buckenderra weekend about 4 or 5 years ago now, and on the Saturday evening, Parawanga, as one would expect, had a party. I did my duty and drank up everyone else’s wine so the other Parawangans would not have a hangover for the next day’s event. Needless to say I had a hangover on the Sunday, and at the Sunday event not only did I make a 180 degree error once, but I did it twice.  (Ed Note: I assume that this was not on the same control) 

Best orienteering tip received: Concentrate on the country and the contours, and do not rely too much on compass bearing.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Campbell Park. Black Mountain is also good. Mulligans Flat was also a favourite. All our Canberra Nature Park locations are favourites.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Spur-gully country such as Picaree Hill, Awooga, Ratall and Foxlow.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: Easter 3-Days at Queensland in 2012.

Other sports or interests: Tennis. I’m presently President of the Barton Tennis Club, also a member at Turner Tennis Club. I generally get to play tennis about 3 times per week in a good week.

Graham Atkins

Birthplace: Doncaster, England

Occupation: Patent attorney / intellectual property manager

How long have you lived in the ACT: 12 years

Your first orienteering event: Weston Park, May 2008.  Being Weston Park it was fairly easy.  The next week at Campbell Park I made my first ‘classic mistake’ of orienteering, heading off from control A thinking it was control B on the map.  Hey, why doesn’t the map fit?

Your most recent orienteering event: ANU (2013 Summer series event).

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable: 2010 Australian Sprint Championships at Trinity College Gawler, because I managed to win M40 by a margin of two seconds.  I have to thank the unknown youngster that I tried (and failed) to out-sprint in the dash to the finish.

Worst orienteering mistake: Misreading the contours near the first control of the first day of Easter 2010 (Gudgenby Homestead).  54 minutes for a 5 minute control, and it was only when I’d given up and was looking for the easiest way back that I read the contours correctly.  That effort earned me the Blue Snail Award.

Best orienteering tip received: Never leave a control without a plan for getting to the next one.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Straying a bit outside the ACT, I’ll go for Awoonga near Lake George.  Spur/gully with open woodland for fast running, with lots of hills.  Foxlow Flats and Timbertops are similar.  Strictly within the ACT, I’ll say Radford College – most of the buildings look very similar so it’s a challenge to stay in contact with the map while running fast.  Ask me about granite maps when I’m a better navigator (perhaps in 10 years).

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Rowdy Flat near Beechworth because the gold mining detail is so completely different from anything we have locally.  I’ve also enjoyed orienteering in the sandstone country of the Southern Highlands.  Spectacular scenery, plus sandstone features tend to be linear so are friendlier than granite.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: South Australia for 2010 Australian Championships.

Other sports or interests: Rogaining, mountain biking, 20th century classical music.

Jill Walker

Birthplace:  Sydney

Occupation:  Research Librarian

How long have you lived in the ACTSince 1987 minus a couple of years in England in the 90s.

Yur first orienteering eventPre-children Phil and I did quite a number of 12 and 24 hour Rogaining events in the mid-80s in Victoria.  My first orienteering event was probably a Blue/Green course somewhere in the ACT in the early to mid-90s walking around with a very young Tim and Kristen.  Got into regular orienteering about 2004 when we started taking Kristen to events for the ACT Schools Team.

Your most recent orienteering event:  Street O at Forrest.  Before that it was the Oceania events at Badja.

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable:  An event at Buckenderra where for some reason I can’t remember, I decided to do a longer course than usual. The day was hot, I did a 180 mistake, got totally lost and ended up finishing with heatstroke (I didn’t DNF but probably should have) after about 2.5 hours.   

Worst orienteering mistake:  There have been many mistakes, but at the Oceania middle distance champs this year on the new Rowdy Flat map I made 3 major mistakes in the one day. First I talked myself into how difficult it was going to be whilst looking at the model sites on the way to the start, then totally bamboozled myself by confusing contours and thinking up was down and vice versa. To top it off I gave up when it might have been prudent to stop and think clearly and perhaps start to master the map ready for Xmas 5 Days 2012!

Best orienteering tip received:  Lots –I just don’t remember them when I need them most. 

Favourite orienteering area in or near the ACT. Awoonga on the ridge above Lake George is fun and I enjoy the Timbertops and Sandhills maps outside Bungendore.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT:  Anything with forest and rocks rather than endless open paddocks. Have done well at places like the Malang map near Dubbo where only the elites can run fast through the rock, so my chances of walking and still doing OK are increased.  

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  Went to WA in 2006 for the Australian Championships but if you were to ask the same question this time next year I would say Germany for the 2012 World Masters Championships.

Other sports or interests:  Reading, Bookclub, bushwalking, camping if the weather’s good and socializing with friends. 

Kris Nash


Occupation:  Environmental Planner

How long have you lived in the ACTI don’t!! But I have lived in Queanbeyan and Bungendore for the last 27 years (nearly).

Your first orienteering eventAt Weston Park in 2007. It was a green course and, never having tried the sport or used a compass or even really read a map before,  I was really pleased to finish and in what I though was a reasonable time. Then I noticed that all the other people doing the same course were under 10 and most took half the time I did!! I knew then that I would find the sport a challenge.

Your most recent orienteering eventOrroral Crossing– the least said about that the better.

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorableThe ACT long distance orienteering championships in Awoonga in April this year. It was the first time for ages that parts of the map made sense. I could “see” where I was (mostly). I was even able to work out fairly quickly when I was not where I should be, and then to relocate.

Worst orienteering mistakeOh there are sooo many! Not being able to relocate because I wasn’t on the map at all. Forgetting to punch that last control. Looking for a mound or spur when I should have been looking for a ditch or gully. Following people who are not doing my course – they look so confident I MUST be wrong.  Ignoring people who ARE doing my course. One that particularly stands out is a championship event somewhere (I have blanked out the memory) where I started from the triangle (as you do) but somehow thought I was starting at the circle. I headed towards what I thought was the first control but was really the last control.  It took me ages to work out what I did wrong but it did explain why the map never made any sense!

Best orienteering tip receivedDon’t give up. Every leg has the potential to be your best leg yet.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACTI don’t really have one yet but its nice when they are relatively nearby.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACTAnything with nice distinct features.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering eventClose events are challenging enough but I did participate in a three day event in Newcastle.

Other sports or interestsI played hockey for about 30 years and I think rogaining is great.

Nathan Guinness

Birthplace:  Lismore, NSW

Occupation:  Aerospace Engineer (Air Force)

How long have you lived in the ACT: Six years in total – three years from 1990-92 and since 2009 this time around.

Your first orienteering eventNeither my records or memory are that good, but whatever the first Sunday ACTOA event of 1990 was.

Your most recent orienteering event: Saturday 13th August at the Pinnacle.

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable:  The 2010 five day carnival at Armidale, because I had never competed on consecutive days before and yet chose to run all the Red 1 courses. I enjoyed the challenge and was happy with my results, but I hurt for days afterwards.

Worst orienteering mistake:  Arguably, the decision mentioned above. When it comes to technical errors out on the course, I make too many to identify any particular one as the worst. My mantra while orienteering is ‘the earlier you accept you’ve made a mistake, the better’.

Best orienteering tip received:  Jason Markham (captain / coach of the Defence Academy O-club in 1990) offered the following advice after running one of my first courses with me: ‘Your nav is fine but you need to run faster’. That is probably still the most relevant tip I’ve ever received, but my favourite tip has always been ‘stay in contact with the map’, ie: constantly correlate the map and terrain.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Remembrance Park on Mt Ainslie is my pick of the metro maps, but Namadgi is my favourite area in the ACT.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT:  The sandstone pagoda areas around the Sydney basin, eg: Miner’s Despair at Belanglo.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  Armidale again. Until last December the answer would have probably been Belanglo, but I once travelled to Canberra from Melbourne for a rogaine – think it was the ACT championships in 1994.

Other sports or interests:  All forms of motorcycle riding; virtually anything to do with the water; being in the bush; making or fixing stuff.

Katie Bowen

Birthplace: High Wycombe, UK

Occupation: Student Yr 10 Radford College

How long have you lived in the ACT: Since 1997

Your first orienteering event: String event in the snow in Sheffield UK.

Your most recent orienteering events: ACT Sprint Champs, Easter 3 day in WA and before that the NOL Sprint event at the AIS as part of the ACT Canberra Cockatoos Team.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable:

1. ‘Timbertops’ where on hearing sheep bells I thought there was a cow stampede and went out of my way to avoid them! 2005

2. Wagga where I spotted a person with a large camera but thought it might be a gun and was scared I might get shot at. 2004

Favorite orienteering area in the ACT: ‘Collector Hill’ 3rd at Easter 3 Day 2009 W16A.

Favorite orienteering area outside of ACT: 2010 Schools Relay area ‘Rocky Paddock’. I enjoyed running across the paddocks with flags behind every rock.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: ‘Sorlandsgalloppen’ Norwegian 6 day event. Travelled by ferry from Newcastle in the UK. Not the furthest but the most interesting.

Other sports or interests: Socialising with my friends, rowing, calisthenics, soccer and travelling.

David Hogg

Birthplace: Melbourne

Occupation: Environmental consultant

How long have you lived in the ACT: 40 years

Your first orienteering event: Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria, 23 August 1969

Your most recent orienteering event: 2011 ACT Championships

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable: 1994 Australian Championships, Cantara Dunes, SA. I was feeling really fit, physically, mentally and psychologically, navigated almost perfectly except for one 7-minute error, and found the soft, sandy terrain delightful to run through. (My only Aust Champs win but, apart from that, the event was really memorable).

Worst orienteering mistake: A multiple mistake at APOC 2000 in Queensland, when I made numerous attempts from different attack points to find one control. Got my name on the Parawanga Snail Award as a result.

Best orienteering tip received: Concentrate (from Rob Vincent, former Australian National Coach)

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Wild Deer Sands (actually in NSW – Mount Clear is my favourite within the ACT border, but hasn’t been used for several years).

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Probably either Cantara Dunes, SA, or Mount Kooyoora, Vic., but there are many other contenders in Australia and overseas.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: 1994 Veteran World Cup, Northern Scotland.

Other sports or interests: Rogaining, bushwalking, skiing, historical writing, cryptic crosswords, and a golden retriever named Fuji.

Liz Abbott

Birthplace: Perth Australia

Occupation: Self Employed Physiotherapist

How long have you lived in the ACT: Since 1987

Your first orienteering event: Lake Leschenaultia, WA 1979

Your most recent orienteering event: ‘Wattle Ridge’ at Hilltop NSW on 3rd April. Not a good race – forgot to take my brain with me! (Ed note, On 9th April Liz won the W50 ACT Middle Distance Champs by 12 minutes and backed up on 10th April to win the W50 ACT Long Distance Champs by 9 minutes – remembered to take the brain this time!)

Most memorable orienteering events:

7-man Night Relays at Belanglo hut with a Parawanga Team including Andy Hogg and Nicki Plunket-Cole. I enjoyed running in at 2am and having trouble waking Andy up for his run. Lots of fun – can’t remember the result!

My first World Champs in 1987 in France. Jenny Bourne 39th, Liz Abbott 41st for Australia. 11th in the Relays.

Swedish Interclub Club Relay event for Taby SOK (Swedish O Klubb). 28-man relay. I ran first leg with 2 other runners for the club. The first 3 legs had 3 runners each, and we all ran across a paddock opening our maps which were in paper bags and then most people stopped at the forest edge – chaos. Maybe we came 7th overall?

Harvester Relay UK for Happy Harts Club. 7-man Relay starting at midnight. We ran a female team and won something?

Australian Champs Dubbo 2008. Winner W50 beating Jenny Bourne my main rival.

Worst orienteering mistake: Missing the final flag on the last day of Easter 3 Days 2003(?). Would have won W40 had I punched it. Must have turned the brain off too early.

Best orienteering tip received: “If you get mislocated, think about where you’ve been” from Carol McNeil, British WOC Coach, in a card she sent me just before the 1987 WOC, France. Really works if I remember to use it.

Favorite orienteering area in ACT: Granite maps.

Favorite orienteering areas outside ACT: Lots – ‘Cantara Dunes’ in SA (challenging sand-dune terrain), Swedish or Norwegian areas (lovely soft marshes to run in), Pagoda Rock maps at Lithgow (amazing rock cliffs), Grindelwald in Switzerland (great blueberries), Wattle Ridge NSW (except last weekend!).

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: ‘Sorlandsgalloppen’ 6 day event Norway 1996 by ferry from Newcastle, UK.

Other sports or interests: Family, rogaining, bushwalking, summer-sixes soccer, reading science history, cross-stitch, gardening.

Bill Monaghan

Birthplace: Clermont central Queensland.

Occupation: Part work / part retired (and it’s great).

How long have you lived in the ACT: Since 1965 or 45 years.

Your first orienteering event: One of the cold winter Saturday events somewhere in Canberra back around 2002.

Your most recent orienteering event: October 2010, the Victorian Middle and Long Distance Championships then before that the 2010 South Australian and Australian Championships.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: The 2008 Australian 3-days Easter event in Dubbo where I came second in the last event (after running well both previous days but making one crucial error each day to ruin my time).

Worst orienteering mistake: At the 2006 Easter 3-day event in Castlemaine where I unfortunately followed Wal Pywell around for over an hour while we searched for control number one. (Editors Note: this probably just out ranks Bill’s memorable sprint finish at the Easter 2010 event at Collector Hill – you best ask Bill for an explanation).

Best orienteering tip received: “Run like the clappers” – advice often given out by our venerable ex-leader, Darryl.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Honeysuckle Creek.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: The Beechwood area in Victoria.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: Maryborough Qld for the 2008 Australian Championships.

Other sports or interests: Golf, swimming, reading, chess and rugby.

Rohan Hyslop

Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Occupation: Teacher

How long have you lived in the ACT: Since 1972 with some gaps.

Your first orienteering event: A twilight event on Red Hill in 2006 then at Buckenderra in March 2007 after which I was sold.

Your most recent orienteering event: 2010 SA and Australian Championships in the Barossa Valley and surrounding areas.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: Probably the sprint finals at the World Masters at Homebush. I was used to having about seven competitors in my age class not seventy and the map and courses were excellent.

Worst orienteering mistake: My first major event was Oceania in 2007. The middle distance was at Honeysuckle. I got to a control and must have read the control number wrong because I went everywhere but back to that control ‘knowing’ it wasn’t right and getting more and more desperate and confused. After about forty minutes I went to it and it was my control.

Best orienteering tip received: For areas like Honeysuckle to filter out the rock and focus on the contours until you are in the control circle.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Boboyan Divide

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Chewton Diggings, Ophir and Sappho Bulga. Probably too hard to answer, just running on a new map is great.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: When we went around Australia in 2008 we designed the trip so that we went from the Kimberley across Northern Australia to get to the Australian champs at Maryborough, Queensland. We then turned around and drove right back across the centre back to Western Australia.

Other sports or interests: I’ve always been involved in outdoors activities, bushwalking, climbing, fly fishing, camping and bird watching. I also enjoy cooking, reading and gardening. However orienteering has taken over my life in the last couple of years. Most weekends are spent travelling to events, competing and socialising afterwards.

Doug Kemp

Birthplace: Wagga Wagga

Occupation: RAAF Pilot  

How long have you lived in the ACT:  Since Jan 2009 and previously 2002-2005.

Your first orienteering event: It would have been in Sydney in the 1980’s.

Your most recent orienteering event: Mt Majura in the Saturday comp.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: The NSW state comps at Falls Creek in (about) 1981. Memorable only because my team mate and I, being poor students, had no transport and camped out at Falls Creek for the comp (I’m sure the latter was mildly illegal). We managed to survive hitching from Albury, hypothermia, and living among red bellied black snakes to run a reasonable comp.

Worst orienteering mistake: I’m not sure but it would have involved blundering around the sandstone cliffs of Sydney.

Best orienteering tip received: On my return to the sport after a few decades of distractions, someone pointed out that writing the control numbers on the punch card was a good idea. I think by then I’d actually realised that the numbers were on the control description – I don’t remember them being there in the olden days.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Anywhere ithout pine trees.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: The Snowy Mountains as long as hitch hiking and camping isn’t required.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: Depends if it’s measured by distance travelled or time taken, but all within NSW/Vic.

Other sports or interests: Spending money on farming or time with the kids.

Sue Garr

Birthplace: Bendigo, Victoria

Occupation: Teacher

How long have you lived in the ACT: 27 years.

Your first orienteering event: After retiring from a long career in hockey, I decided to try a non-team sport (where you didn’t have to train in the dark and freezing nights of winter). I’d heard about orienteering from a physio (Liz Abbott) who’d worked with one of the representative teams I’d played in, which combined my two loves of long distance running and the bush. That was way back in 1993 and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Your most recent orienteering event: QBIII, Dubbo.

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable: There have been so many memorable events, which is why I love going to as many events around Australia and overseas as I can. Probably the ones that stand out the most are APOC in rural China, where the courses ran through farm plots and the local populous looked on in bemusement and the rather primitive toilet facilities were a challenge, the World Masters in Portugal because there were over 4000 competitors, the organisation was faultless and the camaraderie amazing, and the 2006 Australian Championships in Western Australia, where I finally won an Australian title.

Worst orienteering mistake: There have been so many over the years it’s hard to single one out! A costly one in an Australian Championships was on a long leg where I was pretty much following the red line but when I turned the map over where I’d folded it, I followed a different line that was on another long leg that crossed over the original. It took me far too long to realise why nothing seemed to fit as I approached the control. By the time I worked it out, I had a big time blowout and all hope of doing well was gone.

Best orienteering tip received: Aim for the big features and use the contours.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Honeysuckle Creek and Boboyan in Namadgi.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: The big cliffs of the Southern Highlands maps and the Lithgow area.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: Portugal for the World Masters in 2008 and so to be Sweden & Switzerland in 2010.

Other sports or interests: AFL, I’m a one-eyed Collingwood fan, cricket, travelling, and reading.

Chris Helliwell

Birthplace: Yorkshire

Occupation: Molecular Biologist

How long have you lived in the ACT: 15 years

Your first orienteering event: A community program event on Black Mountain. I only had running gear so came back with shredded legs from running through all the prickly bushes

Your most recent orienteering event: Summer series at Black Mountain Peninsula

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: A NOL at the 2004 NSW championships on the Ganguddy map which has a lot of big rock features. It was a long race with a map change and I’d gone really slowly round the first loop and had been going for 1h45. I had decided that I’d stop at the map change and save some energy for the rest of the week. As I jogged into the arena, the cockies coach back then, Jason McCrae ran up “Devil – you’ve got to finish, there are only three cockies left in the race”. The cockies needed to have three finishers to score points in the national league so I had to go on, Jase appeared with some snakes and an energy gel. It took nearly three hours to get round, probably the longest orienteering race I’ve done, but definitely memorable.

Worst orienteering mistake: Hmm, there are quite a few. And I keep adding to them!

Best orienteering tip received: Don’t run faster than you’re navigating.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Honeysuckle Creek – it always throws up surprises

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Kyoora, have only run there once but would definitely go back

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: Tasmania

Other sports or interests: Running, triathlon

Sandra Oliver

Birthplace: Australia

Occupation: Scientist

How long have you lived in the ACT: On and off since 2001.

Your first orienteering event: I don’t remember my first, I was very young, but I do remember one event when I was about five years old. I badly scraped my knee after falling over and still have three horizontal scar lines on my kneecap from it.

Your most recent orienteering event: The team’s race out at Sparrow Hill – I had a good run there!

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: I once ran in a race in the Czech Republic, right on the border with Germany, and the course crossed over the line of stones in the forest marking the border between the two countries several times. Being an Australian, it was quite a novelty to run over a land border!
Worst orienteering mistake: Too many to count, I make mistakes on every course!

Best orienteering tip received: “Straight is great”.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Sandhills and Mulloon Creek because they’re generally open and fast terrain.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Near Kassel in the centre of Germany – the surrounding villages are so pretty there and the forests are spectacular in Autumn.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: I once travelled in a minibus that took a group of orienteers from Berlin all the way to southern Germany – it was an interesting trip and the accomodation involved sleeping on the floor of a gymnasium along with about a hundred German orienteers.

Other sports or interests: If I’m not working, I’m usually out running!

Darryl Erbacher

Birthplace:  Gladstone, Queensland

Occupation:  Retired

How long have you lived in the ACT:  Since 1965

Your first orienteering event:  Burra (near Queanbeyan)

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable:  ANZ Challenge, Seven Mile Beach, Tasmania. 1988.  Got to assembly and found no punch card.  Ran 1k to car, got card, ran 1k to assembly, ran 1k to start.  Australian and NZ teams were anxiously looking for me.  Ran straight into start box, picked up map and off.  Won by 7 minutes.  Lesson:  Always warm up.  It puts off the opposition as well.

Worst orienteering mistake:  ANZ Challenge NZ 1989.  Decided to run around a marsh and rubbish to come at the control from behind.  Description was middle cliff.  From the other side looked like a large boulder.  Fluffed around, found the next control, came back carefully to my rock (did this twice).  Then I decided to look at the other side of the rock (4 meters high and across) and here is a split in the rock.  Lesson:  When you know you are in the right place look on the other side of the feature, or else go straight.

Best orienteering tip received:  Never stop running and always run in the direction of the control.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT:  Glendale

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT:  Cascades, Queensland, Seven Mile Beach, Hobart

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  Portugal

Other sports or interests:  Golf 

Geoff Stacey

Birthplace: Canberra

Occupation: Student studying Engineering and IT at the ANU

How long have you lived in the ACT: All my life

Your first orienteering event: Started going around with mum at a young age, but I only remember pine forests.

Your most recent orienteering event: Saturday event at Mt Wanniassa, in preparation for the Metrogaine the next day.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: In anticipation of the next question, I’ll go for one that wasn’t memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Monday of Easter 2008 was the final selection trial for the JWOC team and was a chasing start. Having made a mess of the day before, this meant that I was in 13th place, with something like 6 people starting within two minutes before me, at about 20 second intervals. I needed to catch them all in order to have any chance of selection. I flew out of the start and managed to catch the first person by control 1. I passed him, came to a big open area on the second leg, and saw a trail of the next four people stretched out ahead of me. I rapidly closed the distance between us, before entering a large patch of rock in which the control was hidden. Here, I took a moment to look around, and counted the number of people scrambling all over the rocks, who were searching wildly. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I had caught them all by control 2! I punched the control and raced off to control three, one person with me and the rest behind. Myself and the other person came over a ridge, both clearly feeling a little uncertain. He ran off in one direction, while I decided to check out a suspicious looking cliff, which turned out to be the control feature. While I was behind the cliff, the others came over the ridge, saw the other guy running up the hill and decided to chase after him, not seeing me. Once they’d passed by, I came out and continued on my merry way. Now, it was only a matter of holding them off after such an explosive start, and somehow I managed it. This race was filled with chaos, pressure, hilarity and competition, making it the most tremendous racing experience of my life.

Worst orienteering mistake: There are many ways to measure how bad a mistake is, but I think time is the most obvious. My first ever red course was set by Darryl Erbacher at Badja. I knew I had to take it steady, but it was far beyond anything I’d ever come across in my life. The first control was a long leg, and when I became lost there was a large region of the map in which I could plausibly be. After something like an hour of searching in circles, I ran into the only other competitor in my age class, who was having quite a similar experience. We searched together for a time, before he decided to head out to the road along the edge of the map to relocate. I decided to look around a little more, finally found a control and checked the number. It was my control 7. Well, at least I knew where I was. With renewed hope, I set out again, but it didn’t take long for me to lose my place once more. After more time searching, I found another control. This turned out to be my second control, meaning that I’d overshot the first one by a few hundred metres in very dense forest. Very carefully, I made my way back to control 1 (only just managing to keep track of my location), and finished that first leg with a time of around two and a half hours. The rest of the course went in similar fashion, although the legs were shorter, but after getting lost once more on control 6, and guessing that the course had probably closed, I made my way back to the finish through bitter cold and rain, to be given a four and a half hour DNF and to find that the other competitor in the age class had given up long ago.
Best orienteering tip received: Hmm…I think it would have to be to check my control codes!

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: The ANU, I think.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Hard to say…keeping it to within Australia, I think somewhere like Sunset Mountain, typical spur-gully.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: To the other side of the world, for JWOC in Sweden.

Other sports or interests:
I think just about anything could go here!

Sports: soccer, tennis, squash, rogaining, and adventure racing.
Other Interests: people, music, philosophy, psychology, pretty much any form of games, arts, and even maths!

Rebecca Hyslop

Birthplace: Canberra

Occupation: Student

How long have you lived in the ACT: Always!!

Your first orienteering event: Western Park(October 2006)

Your most recent orienteering event: QBIII in Newcastle and I won!!

Most memorable orienteering event and why it is memorable: Australian 3-Days in Dubbo, Easter 2008. It was the first big event I had taken part in and I came first in W10A. I also had a great time meeting a whole lot of new orienteering friends.

Worst orienteering mistake: Not being able to find the last control on a blue course in Tasmania and running around near the finish even though it was taped!

Best orienteering tip received: Making sure your map is orientated.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Aranda Bushlands (and older brother Richard set some awesome courses there recently).

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Benbullen in Tasmania. I was first finisher of the day out of 600+ orienteers, even though I couldn’t get over the fence.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: Going via Broome to get to the Australian Champs in Queensland in 2008.

Other sports or interests: Soccer, running, camping, spelling and reading.

Morten Pedersen

Birthplace: Roskilde, Denmark

Occupation: Research Fellow, Centre for International Governance and Justice, Australian National University

How long have you lived in the ACT: Six months. We are still settling in, but my family is enjoying the space after eight years in Rangoon and Tokyo and we have just applied for permanent residence.

Your first orienteering event: I think my first competition was the Danish Easter 3-Days in 1977 when I was 9 years old. The next 10 years, I spent most weekends and holidays orienteering in Denmark and around Europe. Since 1987, I have been very little active, but with our recent move to Canberra I hope to change that.

Your most recent orienteering event: The Saturday event in June 2009 at Mt Majura West.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: There have been so many, and most a long time ago. In 1986, I was part of the first (and last, I think) Danish team to win “Ungdommans 10-Mila” (the youth class). That was quite an experience, especially beating the Swedes on their homeground (to be fair though, we had two or three future world champions on our team). But perhaps my most memorable run was at the Spring Cup Relay in Denmark five or so years later. I had been called in for OK Pan Aarhus’ first team despite having already retired from elite orienteering several years earlier (to go travelling), and I suddenly found myself going out in the lead on the third leg, two minutes ahead of a chasing group of five top Swedish and Finish teams. I was eventually caught on the last loop and changed over as fifth or sixth (with terrible cramps in both calves), but to lead such a high-profile relay for nearly an hour, running really far beyond my capacity, was quite a rush. I can still clearly remember the feeling, and the terrain!

Worst orienteering mistake: Whew. Not sure, but losing 15 minutes to the first control at the recent ACT Long Distance Champs would be up there among the worst, especially considering that it wasn’t (or shouldn’t have been) that difficult. The 9,4 km was already more than I am really in shape for, so it was a struggle to finish the course after that.

Best orienteering tip received: Make sure you don’t miss the first control!!

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Honeysuckle Creek. But it will take a while before I get my head around the Australian granite terrains and can fully enjoy them. Afterall, orienteering is the most fun when you find that “flow” and can run fast and without mistakes.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: I love the highly technical pine forests in Sweden, Norway and Finland. But I think what I appreciate the most is the variation between different areas and the ever-changing challenges.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: As a junior, I would go 4000 kilometre by bus each winter to prepare for the new season in snow-free terrain near Bordeaux, France (although we did stay for 10-14 days).

Other sports or interests: I tried soccer and badminton for a few years as a kid and have done a fair bit of skiing. But once I seriously started with orienteering I dropped everything else and I always knew I would return to it someday. I just didn’t know it would be halfway around the world.

Bruce Bowen

Birthplace:  Hamilton in Victoria

Occupation:  Public Servant

How long have you lived in the ACT:  Since 1985

Your first orienteering event:  Introduced to orienteering in Sydney in 1982 but only did a few events.  Took it up seriously as my main sport in 1988.

Your most recent orienteering event: 2009 ACT Championships.  Prior to that the Easter 2009 events in Tasmania.

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable:  Lots of these – too many to recount – but they include night orienteering in England on maps such as Burnham Beeches, running in the complex goldmining area at Naseby in New Zealand and in the 6-day SØrlansgallopen in Norway.  But at the top of the list has to be the ‘Marriage O’ I organised for friends that attended our wedding!! 

Worst orienteering mistake:  Trying to run too fast in a sprint race in Norway and ending up at the same wrong control site twice in an event (the second time I even walked from the previous control and still ended up at the same wrong flag!)

Best orienteering tip received:  For spur gully terrain (like we have around Canberra), navigate very carefully if a leg on a course goes either down a spur or up a gully that divides.

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT:  Anywhere the navigation is tricky – e.g. Honeysuckle Creek and Big Badja maps

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT:  Sand dune maps such as near Newcastle and Hobart plus granite terrain like Koororya near Bendigo.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  I have been fortunate to have been able to orienteer in Sweden, Norway, France, UK, Czech Republic, Canada and NZ.  Because of my work I have occasionally travelled home from Geneva to Canberra, got off the plane on a Sunday morning, and went straight to an event and ran  – that is about 12000 kms to an event!!

Other sports or interests:  Watching my children playing sport, non- fiction books, mountain bike riding.

Tony Garr

Birthplace: Brisbane

Occupation: Engineer  

How long have you lived in the ACT: 4 years but have orienteered in ACT competition for about 16 years.

Your first orienteering event: Can’t remember but Badja near Cooma was one of the first. I DNF’ed there when I punched a control which had a number that was different from that on my control card but only out by one. At that time I didn’t know that course setters and controllers rarely make mistakes with control numbers and I should have looked elsewhere for the right control.

Your most recent orienteering event: Tasmania Easter 3 Day, April 2009.  

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable: Asia-Pacific Orienteering Championships in Kazakhstan in 200
4. Just getting there was an adventure requiring transiting via Moscow and Uzbekistan. The events were of a high standard and very challenging.  There were masses of performers in traditional costume at the opening ceremony making it an event to remember. 

Worst orienteering mistake: It is difficult to pick just one from my collection of “1001 mistakes you can make at orienteering” but at the Tasmanian Championships at Pittwater Dunes about 5 years ago I took about 3 hours to do the course but never did find one control in the sand dunes even though I tried to approach it from at least 5 different attack points. Normally I try to avoid DNF’ing, “letting the course defeat you” as a president of our club once said, but I capitulated on that occasion.

Best orienteering tip received: Aiming off (among others).     

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT: Honeysuckle Creek/Apollo Road. Thousands of granite rocks, tricky gullies and creeks and lots of thick scrub. Have been a good variety of testing courses set there in recent years. I like the term “Bermuda Triangle” that an elite orienteer used to describe the vague area there that has small gullies and spurs and, unusually for this map, hardly any rock features. Course setters love to have legs criss-crossing that area and lots of orienteers disappear there for some time but usually reappear eventually. My goal is to complete my course one day without making any significant errors.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT: Badja. Big (some are enormous), small and numerous rock features and tricky terrain. Was used for a World Cup event some years ago.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event: World Masters Orienteering Championship 2008 in Portugal. Lots of international competitors with a fairly large contingent from Australia including ACT. Courses mostly in sand dune terrain but some also through old city alleyways. Had fun times socialising with the small group of Parawangans who attended and doing post-mortems on our courses after events. 

Other sports or interests: Cross country skiing, tennis, photography.

Lucy McGarva

Birthplace:  Wagga Wagga

Occupation: Public Servant (Enviro. Mgmt)

How long have you lived in the ACT:  on & off since 2002

Your first orienteering event:  I can’t remember! … though I’m pretty sure it was a blue course with my dad following closely behind.

Your most recent orienteering event: Sunday 22nd March 2009 at Sparrow Hill

Most memorable orienteering event and why is it memorable:  Aust Champs relays in South Australia (possibly ’94?), I remember the course going right along the beach with amazing views (though it was a bit distracting, I remember having a terrible run).

Worst orienteering mistake: Aust. champs in about 1997… I did a 180 from a control and didn’t realise for about a kilometre.  I’m pretty sure I was well off the map by then!

Best orienteering tip received:  Direction, Distance, Detail…

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT:  Commonwealth Park (it’s the only place with no hills!)

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT:  The spur gully areas up near Wollindilly Bend.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  I did a few events in Scotland…

Other sports or interests:  Running, climbing, travelling, hockey…

Greg Lane

Birthplace:  Portland, Vic (but a spiritual Queenslander, to the eternal frustration of my wife, Jodie, who is also a Victorian).

Occupation:  Scientist.

How long have you lived in the ACT:  My family moved here 30 years ago when my Dad was transferred with the RAAF.  I’ve lived here ever since, other than the period from late 1995 to early 2001, during which Jodie and I lived on the east and west coast of the U.S.A. with first 0, then 1, and finally 2, out of our eventual 3 kids.

First orienteering event:  I did a few events in my early teens somewhere around 1980, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I started again, beginning about half way through the Wednesday lunchtime community series.

Most recent orienteering event:  As I write this, it was yesterday at Sparrow Hill.

Most memorable orienteering event:  One of my very first red courses in early 2006 at Glendale Crossing.  It was cold, wet, windy, and trying very hard to snow.  I was dead last (by nearly an hour!) on Red-1 and spent over 2 1/2 hours running around in circles, misjudging distances and miscounting gullies.  I eventually managed to find all the controls, and, as I ran into the finish, wet, cold and covered in blood after finding every thorn-bush-filled green section on the map, I remember thinking to myself, “that was awesome!”.

Worst orienteering mistake:  Where do I start?!?  My most common mistake is that on a 1:5000 map, I, almost without fail, manage to over-run the first control.  At the recent Murryong Ridge event I folded the map in half and took off.  By the time I decided I had run too far, I had managed to (without realising) run off onto the folded under half of the map.  I then spent ages trying to relocate on a clearing along a gully.  Eventually I flipped the map over, to see that there was another clearing along a gully on the other half of the map.  Cursing my stupidity, I was at the control within 90 seconds of flipping the map over.  The end result of all this foolishness was a 10:04 opening split, four minutes more than the next closest competitor, and with the vast majority of people having run 2:30 or less.  Way to start a sprint event!

Best orienteering tip received:  Thumb the map, slow down, and use your brain, not your legs.  (Clearly I still need to practice this.)

Favourite orienteering area in the ACT:  I’m a sucker for climbing any sort of hill, especially one with rocks on it.  I will nearly always go over the top just to spend a few moments enjoying the view.  The Boboyan Divide map used for the Oceania Long Distance championships in 2007 ticked all the right boxes for me.

Favourite orienteering area outside the ACT:  I loved the granite terrain in Dubbo at the Easter carnival last year.

Furthest you have travelled for an orienteering event:  Currently that would be Dubbo, but we are about to head down to Tassie for the upcoming Easter carnival.  Lets hope it doesn’t rain too much as we are planning to camp!

Other sports or interests:  Most activities in the bush.  Presently that would be rogaining, bike-riding, mountain-running and bushwalking.  In an ideal world I’d find time to get back into cycle-touring with Jodie and the kids, and maybe even some climbing and caving.