Early Orienteers reunite for 50th anniversary event

From left to right: Sandra Hogg, Don Fell, Fiona Fell, David Hogg, Alex Tarr, Janet Tarr, Ron Frederick, Tom Andrews, Mike Hubbert, Kathy Liley and Peta Whitford.

Last Sunday (25 August 2019), orienteering legends from the first event held in Victoria (23 August 1969) and from the early 1970s attended the 50th anniversary event at Cardinia Reservoir (MelBushO event). Pictured above are Sandra Hogg, Don Fell, Fiona Fell (then Shaw), David Hogg (5th in the first event), Alex Tarr, Janet Tarr, Ron Frederick (winner of first event), Tom Andrews (organiser of first event), Mike Hubbert (8th in first event), Kathy Liley and Peta Whitford (then Horne). Missing in action (ie. out on a course) were other early 1970s legends Ian Baker and Lindsay and Jan Thomas. All except Tom are still orienteering! They were part of the exhibit of memorabilia in a history tent at the event, which included displays of old maps and articles mostly supplied by Mike and David, O scrap books kept by Alex and Peta, O magazines kept by Kathy, two of the original refresh buckets used as controls (posted from WA!) complete with self inking stamps, an old control stand and old O clothing.

There was lots of browsing and carousing by old, not so old and new orienteers.  There was laughter and amazement at some of the weird and wonderful revelations in the memorabilia, including the need to adjust every compass bearing by 11 degrees, control descriptions such as ‘a clearing with a good view’, Alex’s obsession with compass bearings and pace counting, Peta’s obsession with doing the long men’s course, a rule forbidding wearing red clothing on a course, a pub crawl (the aim being to find 11 pubs out of 37 on the map, and having a drink at each one), a map of Yarra Bend Park before the freeway, a photo of Sue and Steve Key swimming in the Yarra,  the use of a potentially mine-ridden Point Nepean for two events in 1969 and 1970, the amount of sponsorship and publicity (including an article in The Truth called The Girl with the Lacerated Legs) and the high and increasing participation rates at events – sometimes organisers were overwhelmed with the deluge of newcomers wanting to try this exciting new experience.  It was indeed a nostalgic and memorable day. We packed up, exhilarated, pondering our future and looking forward to the next 50 years.

Tom Andrews, the organiser of the first event in 1969
Ron Frederick, the winner of the first event in 1969

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