Bill Johnson Files

Summary of Newsletters from 1982 – 2008

Edited by Bill Johnson and copyedited by Rob Edmonds

Click on the time periods to get the full lowdown.

1982 – 1987

  • Back in 1982, MUMC orienteers grew out of the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club. The inaugural meeting was on 21/4/82 in East Melbourne when a Constitution was drawn up, membership resolved, a committee elected, discussion re club name and colors, and plans drawn up for a new map at Steiglitz.
  • The ‘Emu Orienteering Club’ proposed by Don Fell was accepted. (Ex Melb Uni) … Don says it was Geoff Lawford’s idea, an MUMC member who moved to Canberra and now lives in Ballarat.   
  • Featuring stories from WOCARN at Kooyoora in 1985.

1988 – 1990

Margaret Badminton donated funds to purchase our club trailer and the Adrians paid for its canopy – still going strong years later. This period is worth reading just to to catch up on many nearly forgotten names.

1991 – 1992

Featuring the Veterans world Cup in Tasmania and plenty of quirky anecdotes


  • Featuring Easter Carnival in Western Australia
  • Beginnings of EMU / Nillumbik merger talks


  • We’re the Nillumbik Emus.  The name was suggested by Janet Fitzwater.  21 Emus and 9 Nillumbikians attended the formation meeting.  ‘Our NE logo could stand for “North East’ or “New Entity” or in a burst of enthusiasm perhaps “New Excellence” – financially we are sound, we have maps, we have equipment but all that is to little avail without an active membership, we DO need you, preferably an active you’.
  • The year started off with the Bendigo 5 Days – after the coldest Boxing Day in 70 years and   two days of near constant rain. Meanwhile the Adrian’s and Gill King had been at APOC in NZ. Gill’s descriptive 3 page report mentioned that fences were not marked on maps — 7 strands (2 barbed with droppers every 18 inches, nearly impossible to climb through. Hazel Edwards having been seduced by hot air ballooning’ wrote us an article on her experience.


NE was well represented with 49 members (46% participation) at the Eureka Challenge at Nerrina-White Swan and Petticoat Gully. Despite ill health Helen Schofield won both days. Joyce Rowlands and Dorothy Adrian also won. New ex-Rock Hopper members, the Jackson family (Peter, Carolyn, Melinda and Adrian), did very well, too. Peter has a string of National and State awards and has been involved in all facets of orienteering for many years; is presently VOA President.


  • Janet Fitzwater had a “Matters for Members” page or pages in most newsletters, setting out the various tasks required before an event, during an event, and after an event.
  • The handicap system adopted was score = (100/R) x (B/K) where R is our rating, B is the average km rate of the first three on course 1, and K is our km rate on the day. It was suggested by Joyce and welcomed by Kevin that we have the Vin Maloney award in memory of Vin, and an ancillary award to best of opposite sex and overall club champ.
  • National Rankings were also published made up of results from Easter, Australian or a State Champs (one of the first two mandatory). NE had 10 women and 5 men in the list, with Sue Healy on top with 100.


  • From their residual funds Rockhopper had decided to set up a perpetual Rockhopper Trophy and a Scholarship for promising juniors. We won the inaugural Rockhopper Trophy naming us as the Champion Club of 1996.
  • Ian Stirling demonstrated radio directing finding. He placed three transmitters in the scrub each with a different number of beeps and each sounding intermittently and in sequence. We took turns to trace them via a handheld receiver (sniffer) which looks something like a TV aerial.
  • Sue Healy, now VP had set up the first orienteering club in NSW, Arthur Thurlow’s 4 year role as secretary was been taken by Carmel Davidson (husband Ian has composed and marketed an O board game), Erica passed Treasury back to her mother who was Emu treasurer before the amalgamation.


It was an extremely busy year for the club. The Easter Carnival ‘Maldon Gold’ was an overriding concern. Bendigo and Nillumbik Emus combined to run this major National event, near Maldon with over 900 entries. Good Friday was the family relays at Castlemaine. Day 1 at Smiths Reef went well, tents, banners, finish chute, ten toilets standing sentry-like. Things didn’t go so smoothly on Day 3 at Mt Tarrengower. Bill Johnson explains all.


Nillumbik Emus had their name inscribed on the Qantas Trophy for the club winning the highest points in the Australian Championships. It is only the second time that a Victorian Club has won, and we did it on foreign territory (NSW). YV won the trophy in Victoria in 1995 . We also retained the Rockhopper Trophy for Victorian Club Champions.


  • Seven members went to the South Island of NZ for the Masters Champs. Some 1500 entries from around the world took part.
  • Easter 3 Days. Day 1 was at Namadgi National Park, complex granite in eucalypt forest, the green was really green. Day 2 was at Shoalhaven River, 90 minutes East of Canberra, similar terrain with cypress pine and fallen timber in the steeper areas. Day 3 was the hardest; complex granite was an understatement.


  • Easter 2001 was exceptionally good; perfect weather, good maps, good organisation, Sportident and plenty of food. With the advent of Sportident and the hanging of computer results on a clothesline there was no need for our Results Unit anymore. There were also presentations to Geoff and Schon Hudson at the AGM for their splendid Sportident work during the year.
  • The Lal Lal Maxi was a huge success with over 150 participants. Derek Morris set the courses and Rob Edmonds was the organiser. Catering was provided for the first time and included in the entry fee. Lauris Stirling led the catering team, providing soups, salad rolls, fruit and hot drinks.
  • The Victorian Champs were a big effort; 180 entry forms for 320 runners, progressive Excel spreadsheets, cross referencing, confirming Sportident numbers. 


  • The World Masters Carnival at Glenluce and Kooyoora attracted over 800 competitors.
  • The Maxi Score at Mt Hickey, had 170 entries. Geoff Hudson spent many hours programming Sportident for the score type event which enabled competitors to get a printout of the sequence of their courses .

This was supposed to be Bill’s last newsletter as Geoff Hudson had offered to edit and produce digital email outs of Emu Droppings. However, Bill continued to maintain a personal account of ‘Emu Thoughts’ for the next 6 years.


  • Report on Lorne Surf Club’s annual “Mountain to Surf event”.
  • Club walk on the Mornington Peninsula
  • NE organised the Oceania Relay Champs (incl Aust-NZ Challenge) at Kooyoora.


Rob Fell, Hugh Mallen, Rachel & Alice Edmonds, and Jessica Niven helped the Victorian team to a memorable victory in the Australian Schools’ Orienteering Champs.


A short edition with club members adventures away from orienteering.


Bill’s final ‘Emu Thoughts’

Scanned photos from Bill Johnson’s Newsletters dating back to the era around the 1990s

Bill’s Photos Scanned – Dropbox

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