Neil Phillips and Christine Arnold organised the first Australian Rogaining Championship, in May 1979, centred on the town of Tallarook, Victoria. The first Australian Champions were David Rowlands and David Church, with Rob and Helen Edmonds teamed with Phil Rumpff in second place. The only interstate team from South Australia came eighth. Neil formed the Australian Rogaining Association (ARA) at the same time, though there were no state associations besides the Victorian Rogaining Association. The second Australian Championship was also held in Victoria, organised by David Rowlands, Graham Foley and Ian Davies in the eroded landscapes of the Parwan Valley near Bacchus Marsh.
When Victorian rogainers Ross and Kerrie Emslie and Neil Phillips moved to Western Australia, a small group formed the WA Rogaining Association in 1980. The first Western Australian rogaine attracted 125 competitors to the Chittering Valley on 20/21 September 1980. The first Western Australian Championship was on 19/20 September 1981 near Beverley. WARA hosted the third Australian Championship on 4/5 September 1982 near Toodyay, with numbers expanding to 261. Despite seemingly thick and flat terrain, rogaining membership has flourished in Western Australia like nowhere else. Some possible reasons are the good weather, closeness of suitable terrain to the main population centres and a concentration on the interests of the social rogainer.
NSW had a history of notable performances in the Australian Universities 24-hour orienteering events through the early 70’s, and running successful 24-hour walks around Sydney, Newcastle and Armidale. Of significance, the 1978 intervarsity event at Wollombi set by Peter Tuft was opened to the public. The first official NSW rogaine was in 1979 organised by the University of NSW. The New South Wales Rogaining Association was formed in July 1983 with Jeremy Challacombe as President. The main people responsible for starting the NSWRA were Bert and Dianne Van Netten, Ian Dempsey and Peter and Robyn Tuft. NSWRA ran the Australian Championship in 1984 near Bungonia, coordinated by Peter Tuft.
Rogaining spread to Australian Capital Territory (ACT), South Australia and Queensland during the decade 1983 to 1993, with strong rogaining associations now established in all these states.
Rogaining first came to Tasmania in January 1982 through ex-Victorians Gordon and Gail Davis who set a flat, open course in the midlands near Ross. The 30 competitors were not enough to kick-start rogaining in the island state and nothing more developed for a decade until the Rugged Roland Rogaine set by Ken Young in November 1994. Rogaining Tasmania was formed under the leadership of Jeff Butt and organised its first event, the Wellington Ranges Rogaine, in December 1995. Three months later, RT hosted the Australian Rogaining Championship at Cradle Valley, bordering the famous Cradle Mountain National Park. With a membership of 274 following this event, RT’s future was secured.
The Northern Territory Rogaining Association was started with the successful ‘Crock and Rock’ rogaine held on 31 July/1 August 1999 in Litchfield National Park. Teams were attracted from every state of Australia except Tasmania. The first rogaine was born at a meeting between Cath Love, David Palmer and Andy Black in October 1998. The event concluded with the NT Rogaining Association AGM where committee positions were offered to the happiest looking competitors. First President of the NTRA was John Ulrichsen, with Secretary David Palmer and Treasurer Annie Whybourne.
NSWRA Newsletter vol 1 no 1
NTRA Newsletter no 1
RT Newsletter no 2
QRA Newsletter Apr 1994
WARA Newsletter vol 2 no 2