Rogaining in New South Wales
Rogaining style events began in New South Wales in the early 1970s. These events included intervarsity competitions at Armidale (1972), and later at Hartley (1974) and led to NSW competitors occasionally travelling to Victoria where the sport was being formally established. Peter Tuft and his team from the University of NSW coordinated another intervarsity event at Wollombi in 1978. Using the same course, Peter ran this event again the following year, opened the event up to the wider public, and called the event the 1st NSW Rogaine. In 1981, the Sutherland Bushwalking Club organised the 2nd NSW Rogaine at Wingello.
In the early 1980s, Bert VanNetten and Ian Dempsey from Newcastle, were joined by Jeremy Challacombe (recently arrived from Victoria), and they discussed the possibility of establishing rogaining on a more permanent basis in NSW. To gauge the level of support, they organised a 24 hour rogaine at Murrurundi at the western end of the Hunter Valley in 1983. The event was moderately well attended and this led to the establishment of the NSW Rogaining Association (NSWRA) later that year.
By the late 1980s, rogaining was on a firm footing in NSW thanks largely to three initiatives. The first was the ability of the NSWRA committee to develop a number of event organisation cells to ensure that rogaines were staged on a regular basis. The second initiative was the formation of a relationship with the Paddy Pallin organisation to run an annual Paddy Pallin Rogaine which helped to promote the sport to a wider audience. Finally, Warwick Marsden who served as a NSWRA committee member throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s provided strong leadership and helpful mentoring throughout this period.
Rogaining terrain in NSW, at least for bush events, tends to be mostly eucalypt forest with small pockets of open private land. We make extensive use of National Parks and State Forests. Thanks to the long-term assistance of Graeme Cooper, NSWRA consistently uses the Navlight system for all events (i.e., both bush and urban events), and we have a reliable computer-based administrative system that, among other things, allows quick on-the-day processing of results. In recent years we have employed an event administrator to ensure consistency across events and to lighten the load for event organisers. We celebrated 30 years of rogaining in 2013 and the sport continues to have a bright future in NSW.