The Victorian State relays are on Sunday 5th March (just under 4 weeks away) at Darebin Parklands. This is our chance to start the process of returning the Rockhopper Trophy to its rightful home. The more people who enter, the more points we can muster. A fun and social day that our club pays for. Your first step is to ensure you are a club member (a quick trip to Eventor will sort this) and then leave a comment or email Andrew Cameron at Andrew@n8health.com.au so he can enter teams. Teams can be serious or social. Deadline is by February 20th.
Ian Johnson is the oldest member of the Bendigo Orienteering Club. His 88th birthday comes up in August 2016 and the club will celebrate the occasion at his micro-sprint event at Black Jack Gully near Castlemaine on August 13th. Ian still competes in events although he is now slowing down a bit, but he still enjoys the bush and finding hidden controls. I wonder how many people reading this will still be able to navigate their way around the Bendigo bush when they are 88 years old.
Ian retired from primary teaching in 1986, and came to live near Castlemaine, so it could be said that in 1986 the Ballarat orienteering world lost an asset and Bendigo gained one. At 88 he is still heavily involved in the sport; orienteering is a sport for all ages but the balance is still very much weighted in favour of the younger and fitter, and to see an 88 year old navigating his way around the rough forest areas week after week is still a bit off putting for many people. He has competed in almost every event organised by the Bendigo club since his arrival here but now, though still active competitively he is easing out of the organisational activities.
Ian first ventured into orienteering on a novice course at an event in 1971 at St George’s Lake in the Creswick Forest. Ian said he walked or scrambled it, as he went across country where he could, but did not use a compass. He can remember that the controls were buckets hanging by a rope with pens of different colours to mark the spaces on the map. He mapped the forest behind his newly built home in Ballarat and when some local runners were thinking about starting an orienteering club, he became an original member, taking on the position of Treasurer with a strict spending oversight. Tom Norwood and Ian both agreed low spending was essential to start with, and they gathered the profits carefully. The first event Ian organised was on June 1st 1975 on a map he helped to field work and draw. The longest course was 3.75 km with 13 controls. The cost of entry was only 20 cents, and compass hire the same.
With the experience of these initial ventures into orienteering behind him, Ian decided to make a better coloured map with more accurate fieldwork, using his usual three point triangulation, which is labour intensive but very accurate. Another map of Canadian Forest followed, it was bigger and more complicated, but still accurate. His map making procedure is, even now, still firmly rooted in basic, original methods with little time for new technology. Ian managed to make some more maps from some free photogrammetry he got from an International Three Day event. Today he still makes his own maps using free hand, pacing and drawings – then passes them on to others to digitally prepare the final map. During his time at Bendigo he has never missed course setting at least one — until recently two events every year and still continues to compete every week.
He is an avid environmentalist and his knowledge of indigenous plants is second to none; he has written numerous volumes on his observations of micro climate and vegetation changes and is also the author of many, many articles on navigational techniques as used in orienteering; his property at Harcourt is not connected to electricity and he lives a Spartan and totally carbon neutral lifestyle.
Ian Johnson is an amazing person, he is iconic to our sport– a “living legend” of the Bendigo Orienteering Club and an individual the like of whom we will probably never see again.
Peter Creely, based on observations by John Wilkinson and Colin Walker.
We will celebrate Ian’s birthday at the event that he will course set at Black Dog Gully in Harcourt on 13 August this year. The occasion will be much more social this year with a BBQ and food supplied by the club. As in past years Jenny Ball will make Ian’s birthday cake and all are invited to stay and celebrate Ian’s birthday in the company of other club members.
This coming Saturday we have a special event in the evening, for you to come and enjoy orienteering in twilight or night conditions. People who attended last year’s inaugural night champs event loved it and raved about how well organised it was and how much fun they had.
This is a brilliant opportunity to come and navigate in the twilight or in the dark, knowing there are other people nearby doing the same thing. It will help improve your navigation skills and is great for development. Course 1 and 2 are a mass start event at 5:35 and pre entry is required. Course 3-5 are run as normal with starts between 4:45 to 5:30 so you get to pick how dark you want it to be. Pre entry for these courses is still preferable.
The sunset is due to happen at 5:31pm and there will be a fire to keep everyone nice and warm as well. More details and pre-entry on Eventor. The deadline for pre-enty has been moved to midday on Friday. If you have a spare headlamp with strong light that you don’t mind lending to someone else, please bring it along. Christpher Naunton (our organser) has had some requests.
There is $50 for the winning male and female on course 1 for the night event Saturday night.
On a cold but fine Saturday, Bendigo Bush 16 got off to a slightly delayed, but fox free start. The Brown’s Reef map is mostly open bush and offers some fast gully and spur orienteering terrain. Course 1 and 2 were relatively long (7.9 km and 6.0 km) and provided some interesting route choices for runners. Course 1 was won by Ben Goonan from Peter Hobbs and David Brownridge with all three averaging better than 6 minutes/km. Course 2 was the most popular course and Chris Naunton led Jimmy Cameron home with both runners averaging better than 6 minutes/km. Lian Perry from Eureka Orienteers won course 3 from local Bendigo runner, Rueben Cameron. Archie Neylon and Eleanor Williams both performed well to win courses 4 and 5. Thanks to Andrew Wallace for setting up the computer system on the day, Neil Barr for assistance with course setting and all helpers who assisted by picking up the controls.
We had a good day yesterday at Dahlia and Arts festival. We had about 40 groups go round which involved about 100 people. A lot of interested adults that didn’t have a go on the course, but are interested in trying orienteering in the bush. I have invited them to a free trial in a fortnight at Spring Gully. The brochures were great too.
The first of Bendigo Orienteering’s Bush Series events is taking place this Saturday the 19th between 12:30 and 2:00pm. Whether this is a warm up for Nerrina the following day, or maybe part of a day out in Bendigo to be combined with the Marilyn exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery or the Bendigo Craft Beer Festival.
Whatever your motivation, make your way up the Calder to experience the relaxed nature of orienteering around Bendigo. As a special treat we are putting on cooler weather. Currently a pleasant 22 degrees is predicted.
Directions from Centre of Bendigo: From the fountain at the centre of town take Mitchell Street towards the south east. Continue to follow as it turns into Carpenter Street, turning left into Spring Gully Road. Continue following Spring Gully Road south, it eventually turns into Mandurang Road, then Sedgwick Road. At the Mandurang Cricket Ground turn right into Nankervis Road, then after approximately 1 km, left into Pearces Road. The start is on the right after 800 metres.