Back to where it all began……DROC turns 40!

Record has is that DROC held its first orienteering event on Thursday 25 January 1979 at Carinya Cutting, which Mark Phillips advises was named after a railway line cutting near Mount Evelyn, associated with the old Warburton line. Apparently a steep cutting; similar to the one many of us ran through at Deepdene a few weeks ago. To everyone’s surprise, Barry Giles kept a copy of the results from all those years ago. There were 31 starters, including three Keys and several other familiar names (see results list). Results from a follow-up DROC event at Carinya Cutting on 28 February 1979 are also attached.

Fast forward 20 years, and Prez Pete was tasked with setting a scatter-o course at Blind Creek for DROC’s 20th anniversary. Unfortunately the map could not be located, but the event had a twist in that control 20 was not marked on the map. The only way to locate it was to solve a riddle that went something like this: “The control you seek tonight may make you dizzy because of its height. Look at the map, the half that is west, run up the hill and you’ve passed the test.”  The control was located on a relatively obvious high point and I recall that many competitors successfully located it.   

Fast-forward another 20 years; and record will have it that on Monday 28 January 2019 no fewer than 44 DROC members and 108 starters assembled at the base of the Dandenongs to take part in street-o on the Koolunga map. During the briefing, Debbie Dodd MC’d a quick fashion parade of retro orienteering tops that everyone had been encouraged to wear. Some colourful DROC cotton tee-shirt tops from the early and mid 1980s were on display, followed by some of the DROC cotton tops from the 1990s including one which featured a back-to-front DROC logo. All DROC tops from the modern era were paraded including the “dentist’s collar” version and its sequel without the collar, plus the two current designs that many of us now wear.

Carl Stemp set a challenging course with clusters of controls separated by big gaps and a railway line, just like in 1979 at Carinya Cutting. Some may recall that the Koolunga map used to be called Swagman’s Gully in honour of the once famous Swagman restaurant, which mysteriously burnt down in 1991. The site on Burwood Highway now accommodates an Aldi supermarket. Perhaps Carl’s placement of control 13 – directly beside the old Swagman site – was a subtle nod to the map’s history.

Despite not being a Saturday, a large 40th birthday cake was devoured by everyone after the event with many people staying on chatting, reminiscing and taking advantage of the public holiday evening. An old photo of Phil Torode and Ian Greenwood surfaced from somewhere; Mark Phillips recalled the old days when a number of DROC members’ houses backed onto the old railway line in the Mount Evelyn area; stories of how the Keys started the club were re-told; predictions that James Love will become next DROC president were made; a group photo was taken; newer DROC members mixed with older ones and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.

Results from Carinya Cutting 1979 and photos from Koolunga 2019

Results from Koolunga 2019



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