G'day Rogainers,

NSW Rogaining eNewsletter, 3rd Nov 2022

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6-hour Search for Skippy Socialgaine, Terrey Hills, Sunday 20th November, More Info & Entry Here

Terrey Hills is one of the highest parts of Sydney, hence The Bureau has its weather radar located there. It is surrounded by Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park which features eucalypt forest, rocky cliffs, deep gorges with rainforest, and mangroves on the tidal areas.

Organiser Julian Ledger says that the course setting team have enjoyed some spectacular days and that “rogaine course setting is a discovery process, as the layers and secrets of the course are peeled away.”

This is your last chance to rogaine in 2022, so get your entry in, keep fit, and hop along to Terrey Hills on the 20th November. Entries close on the 14th but the event may reach its numbers limit before that date.

Free entry is offered to any rogainer who can provide evidence that they were once one of the 67,000 members of the Skippy fan club.

Course setters (Chris Stevenson, Julian Ledger & Katherine Cameron) planning at Control No. 17.


6/3-hour 30th Lake Macquarie Rogaine, Belmont, Sunday 16th October, Results Here

With the Watagan Mountains inaccessible due to the storms in July, our Newcastle group quickly created a new metro-lake-bush-beach course at Belmont, in the suburbs between Lake Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean. 210 competitors were overwhelmingly positive about the area and their adventures on the day.

“Who’d have thought you could come up with such a diverse course from the middle of Belmont.” (Richard Mountstephens)

Mitchell Isaacs and Brendan Davies were clear winners in the 6-hour, almost 400 points clear of three teams who had very close scores. The top five teams were:

  1. Mitchell Isaacs, Brendan Davies (Mens Vet) 2,970 points
  2. Alex Massey, Damian Welbourne (Men) 2,590
  3. Keelan Birch, Annabelle Swainston (Mixed) 2,580
  4. Andrew Renwick, Dean Millitchey (Mens Vet) 2,570
  5. John Barnes, Mardi Barnes (Mixed Vet) 2,470

In the 3-hour, Richard and Thomas Mountstephens won the team competition, and Xanda Kolesnikow the Individual category.

Keelan Birch & Annabelle Swainston - the top mixed team & 3rd overall in the 6-hour

Anita Bickle stepped forward to do coordination, course setting, map production and administration. Here’s Anita’s review of the event:

There were some delays getting a Hash House, initially looking at Boolaroo and Teralba. We were able to book the Community Hall at Belmont, though it was small and had restricted access, then partway through course setting we were able to lock in Belmont High School, with awareness that the hall was being used for exams and we’d need to return everything as originally setup. For the map Ian Dempsey and I acquired a section of the course from Newcastle Orienteering Club, paying them 50 cents per competitor, and I filled in the other areas from Open Street Maps. Ian formatted the map, included georeferencing, and provided the quality review.

Course setting was done by Pam and Bob Montgomery on the ocean side of the Pacific Highway, while Bert and I had the western side. Flags were put out Friday, Saturday and the morning of the event. Bob checked flag 69, on the beach, early on Sunday morning and found it had been stolen, and the bush to which it was attached had been decimated. We made a new flag and the local campers said they would keep a watch on it for us. It was the quietest Lake Macquarie Rogaine in a few years, with just over 200 competitors. We had enough medals leftover from previous years to hand out first, second and third category winners in each of the three competitions. Carolyn Rigby did the 3-hour presentations with Pam Montgomery and Ivan Koudashev, and Liz Bunn did the 6-hour presentations with Bert Van Netten.

Many thanks to all who helped create another successful LMR:

  • Bert Van Netten & Anita Bickle: Setting, Vetting, Flag hanging & collection, Trailer delivery
  • Pam & Bob Montgomery: Setting, Vetting, Flag hanging & collection, First Aid
  • Ian Dempsey: Map, Vetting, Flag hanging
  • Tom & Liz Bunn: Vetting, Flag hanging
  • Robert Kemp: Vetting, Flag hanging, Safety
  • Toronto Girl Guides: Catering
  • Andrew Renwick: Trailer return
  • Ann Montgomery: Flag collection
  • Ivan Koudashev: Flag collection

You can read Keelan Birch’s analysis and Chris Stevenson’s report on our Forum.


24hr Australasian Championships, Pyrenees Ranges Vic, 8-9th October, Results Here

Ronnie Taib described it as “the most physical course I’ve ever walked, combining a devilish amount of cumulative elevation, very few tracks, and copious amounts of fallen timber.” He was referring to the recent Australasian Champs, held 200km north-west of Melbourne. Ronnie, with his regular teammate David Williams, were the top NSW team, placing 2nd behind defending champions Julie Quinn and David Baldwin. Here’s the top ten teams:-

  1. David Baldwin, Julie Quinn (ACTRA, Mixed Vets) 3,200 points
  2. David Williams, Ronnie Taib (NSWRA, Men) 3,010
  3. Ivan Koudashev, Xanda Kolesnikow (NSWRA, Men U/23) 2,880
  4. Shelley Bambrook, Elizabeth Dornom (VRA, Women) 2,810
  5. Gill Fowler, Joel Mackay (NSWRA, Mixed Vets) 2,730
  6. Eric Lambers, Alaster Meehan, Paul Monks (VRA, Men) 2,720
  7. Paul Guard, Amanda Koopman (QRA, Mixed Vets) 2,580
  8. Mike Hotchkis, Tristan White (NSWRA, Men) 2,580
  9. Mitch Nissen, Brock Hawke (QRA, Men) 2,490
  10. Richard Robinson, Tamsin Barnes (QRA, Mixed Vets) 2,290

Congratulations to our NSW teams, taking four of the top ten positions. It’s notable that four of the top ten were Veterans (that is, at least 40 years old) and eight were from north of the Murray River. Our other teams in the 24hr were:-

  • Toni Bachvarova, Andrew Smith 1,770 points
  • Graham Field, Martin Dearnley (2nd MUV) 1,410
  • Ted Woodley, John Anderson, Julian Ledger 1,160
  • Richard Sage, Nihal Danis, Dom Pitot 700
  • Sean Edwards, Oliver Pitman, Jake Evens, Thomas Mountstephens 0

Xanda Kolesnikow (left) & Ivan Koudashev were 3rd outright, 1st Under/23 and 2nd in the Mens category – and that’s the biggest smile ever recorded on Ivan’s face!

After excessive rains across Victoria, participants had to evade road closures and floodways to get to the site, but the weekend emerged clear and crisp. The hash house site was relocated to a somewhat drier area and the organisers had to lay a carpet of straw across the hash house site, to avoid a quagmire.

David Williams reported, “We didn't have any issue with the wet and managed to keep our feet dry. There was no rain during the event except for some light drizzle, and the lack of flats meant there weren't too many bogs to avoid. It actually made planning for water easier as all the creeks were running, and there weren't many water drops.”

Gill Fowler and Joel Mackay are always in contention, but they faded on Sunday morning. According to Gill, “We had a few poor navigational blunders after dark that lost large chunks of time but didn’t impact too much. Until I missed a crucial junction and subsequently missed turning to 103. This was the final straw for Joel, who was in a low patch, leading to a required break, albeit not too long as it was pretty darn cold just before dawn. With the choice of a short route back to the HH or pushing on into another very hilly loop, moving away from the HH, guess which option was selected? In hindsight... yes, we should have waited until sunlight to make the call. It’s always better when the sun is shining. Nonetheless we had a pleasant few hours at a more leisurely pace, and finished around 9:45am. The ANC(*) was a winner, with minestrone soup, sweet treats and a fire.”

The 2019 World Rogaining Championships were also held in the Pyrenees … except they were in the Spanish Pyrenees, with an altitude range from 1300m to 2500m. Ronnie Taib and David Williams both considered the Victorian Pyrenees rogaine to be more difficult, with David observing, “The World Champs in the real Pyrenees had far more trails and had been set so that with careful planning you could mostly stick to them and avoid large, steep ascents and descents. That was definitely not the case in Victoria, which I think was a superior rogaining course. It is meant to be the sport of long distance cross country navigation after all.”

At the other end of the results, Oliver Pitman with his first-time-rogainer friends were disqualified for not having their phones sealed and inaccessible. Oliver reports, “some of our team took their phone to take photos of the course and the trip. We got caught out because somebody accidentally dropped their phone on the course. It was found by another team when its morning alarm went off! We still had a great time with a score of 910 (if we hadn't lost the phone...) A little bit disappointing, but we did some excellent navigation, were very impressed to find a 100-pointer at night, and we had a lot of fun which was the important part.”

Ronnie Taib summarised… “It was a great course and the setters certainly put a lot of effort into it, setting the bar very high. I wouldn’t like to be the setter for next year after such mastery. Oh no, wait, we are the setters for next year?”

Further reading: Full results can be found here, with route analysis here; David Baldwin’s report here; More reports and many photos on the VRA Facebook site here.

(*) All Night Café. For competitive teams this may be the vital factor, in that all NSW teams succumbed to the comfort of the ANC, whereas Julie and David bypassed that section of the course.


After three failed attempts to run the 24-hour NSW Championships at Gundabooka National Park, between Bourke and Cobar, the question should be asked, will we ever get there?

Our latest attempt, in September, had all the flags hanging and the number of entries growing, until a large rain system moved through mid-week, closing all dirt roads and the National Park. Michael Watts has expended significant energy, time and emotion to prepare the course, with numerous factors combining to make his outback venture difficult – not just weather; there have been pandemic constraints, the tyranny of distance, and lack of facilities in remote communities.

Many rogainers had already committed to a travelling holiday in the region, and hopefully they enjoyed their journey. Some of them volunteered to collect the flags, including Mat Collin who bogged his Subaru on the Friday, confirming any debate about vehicle access. After being rescued by a young tradie, Mat continued to retrieve 17 flags.

Nicole Mealing and Andrew Brown recovered 40 flags, while Mark, Amy & Karl Von Huben got the last six, on the eastern edge of the map. Of the area, Nicole observed “there is a lot of variety in the terrain. Some of the tops are open grasslands and others are more dense pockets of trees. The views of the flat lands are pretty special, as is seeing Mount Gunderbooka from the flat lands. Lots of nice creeks - some are rock slabs, others have huge boulders in them, or lovely, sandy creek beds. There were interesting rock formations around the course, and only one plant that I swore at due to its spikes.”

Nicole summarised by saying it is “absolutely stunning rogaining country!! I really hope an event can be held here in future.”

But is it practical to try again when so many factors can conspire against us? Much of the year is too hot to rogaine, leaving a limited period of time for safe and enjoyable appreciation of the area. (Keep in mind that we are lightweight walkers, with space blankets, snake bandages and self-sufficiency for protection.)

Photo by Andrew Duerden, while hanging flags 17-18th September

Andy Macqueen vetted the course, with Greg and Sarah King, and he, “saw most parts of the course. We worked mostly solo, which is a special experience in itself. One day I’d be doing long compass traverses through flat mulga country, looking for a knoll (aka obscure bump). Next day I’d be clambering around rocks on a mountainside, or having lunch by a stream. I came to the conclusion that it would be a challenging rogaine, but a memorable one.”

Andy acquired an appreciation for “the space, the silence, and the mystery - like all outback country. Whether we should try again at Gundabooka depends on whether there is a team of ‘Michaels’ prepared to do the hard yards. Rogaine or not, I intend to return next year for some more exploring.”

Andy Macqueen vetting at Gundabooka in August

As to the future, we have choices:-

  1. Try again when we have a team of enthusiastic helpers to organise a rerun. We could include a series of activities in the region, such as a minigaine or orienteering course, so participants would take at least a week to experience the far west. A rerun is unlikely until 2025, given NSW are hosting the Australian Champs in 2023 and we already have a site in mind for the NSW Champs 2024, or
  2. Michael could publish the map as-is, so anyone can explore the course at their own convenience. This would be similar to our virtual rogaines (MapRun) with no other involvement or responsibility upon the NSW Rogaining Association, or
  3. Vow to never go west of the Newell Highway again.

Let your committee know what do you think? We appreciate feedback and advice. As a teaser, the Australian Champs next year will be held just east of the Newell Highway. Watch our website for more info.

Trevor Gollan


One. The Midlands Muster, Tasmanian Championships 5-6th November

Unfortunately, cancelled due to flooding

Two. Anything in the 2023 Calendar

We still need someone to take on the Paddy Pallin 6-hour in June. How about you? If you can help then contact Graham Field (volunteer@nswrogaining.org) or Trevor Gollan (events@nswrogaining.org).

Find us on Facebook and Strava here.

Trevor Gollan
on behalf of the NSW Rogaining Committee