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Moonlight Madness

MM GO moon   Moonlight Madness, urban night orienteering by headlight or torchlight under a full moon, has returned for winter 2014.

Garingal members (and a guest appearance from WHO - thank you) are setting Sydney Summer Series format courses (30 controls, 45 minutes) on a Wednesday night just before each Full Moon between April and September.

Course setters should be putting on an event with the intention that it must be fun and enjoyable for anyone lunatic enough to don a headlamp or carry a torch and jog around somewhere in Sydney finding moonlit control features at night.


No Date Map Meet Setter/Organiser Phone
1 Wednesday, 9 April 2014 Vineyard Creek Telopea Tim Perry (WHO) 0400-667-786
2 Wednesday, 14 May 2014 Primrose Park, Cremorne Young St, Cremorne (bottom end) Dave Stanley 0415-312-732
3 Wednesday, 11 June 2014 Kissing Point Park, Putney Waterview St, Putney Larry Weiss 9481-9659
4 Wednesday, 9 July 2014 Rofe Park (Sheldon Forest) Scout Hall, Mimosa Oval, Turramurra  David Stitt  9413-3814
5 Wednesday, 6 August 2014 Shrimptons Creek, North Ryde Flinders Park, Flinders Rd,
North Ryde
Stacy Bryce & Mike Ward 0408 882 503
6 Wednesday, 3 September 2014 Swaines Creek, Chatswood Lowana Park, cnr Fullers Rd & Grevillle St Dave Dash 0422-598-920


Maps will be 1:7500 on A4 for ease of readability and to avoid ridiculous all-control course lengths - these events are for everyone to have a good choice of controls to consider getting to.  The best orienteers should just about get all 30 controls inside 45 minutes every time - ideally, their only challenge is to beat the 45 minutes by clever route planning and execution.

Venues are picked for good night-time views, and/or at least where no night-time orienteering has been run before.

Starts are between 5.30pm and 7pm with courses closing at 7.45pm when we go out to retrieve the markers - so you need to come back by 7.45pm because after then, there will  be no markers out there to look for!

SportIdent is not being used, just cards and pencils to make things easier for our novice setters. 

Cost will be the usual for urban events:
$10 adult member or group. $7 junior member $5 sub-junior member
$13 adult non-member or group, $10 junior non-member
$25 family maximum (pay no more for extra family member entries)

Watch the GO home page for Madness details.


For Nostalgia buffs, reminders of past madnesses follow........


Our final moonlight adventure for 2013 was MM6, Wednesday, 18th September, and started from Mimosa Oval, Mimosa Rd, Turramurra on a NEW map prepared specially for this night run. 

Wednesday, 18th September 2013

  "Sheldon Forest"

Our new map of southern Turramurra, prepared by first-time mappers John & Elizabeth Bulman, included a considerable area of bushland known as "Rofe Park", which adjoins/is part of the longer section of bush that is Sheldon Forest.


Rofe Park has a network of reasonably good tracks so controls were put at interesting or useful places, consistent with the requirements of night orienteering. 

Some parts of the tracks are quite rocky so needed care in where you put your feet.  Likewise, in the steepest parts are old sandstone slabs as stair-treads which also needed careful stepping on, particularly if going down the steps. 





The bush itself is generally very thick-to-impenetrable and the off-track terrain very steep, so "don't wander off the tracks" was our advice.


 The streets in this part of Turramurra don't have many footpaths with jogging along the generally quiet roads was the better option.

Our start was from the small facilities block at the end of the car park at Mimosa Oval - entered from Mimosa Rd. 

Being the last Moonlight Madness, and close to the Spring Equinox, early starters had the benefit of running in some daylight, and our two top scorers (600) were among the early (about 5.30pm) starters.  Results of all competitors gave an average score of over 450, an excellent outcome for our novice setters (John & Elizabeth Bulman) who had also made the map.

The 10 metre contour interval bemused some competitors, and some others had temporary difficulty separating public passageways and private driveways (so we apologise to any Turramurra residents accidently visited by a head-lamped orienteer with a confused expression).

The Results and the map can be viewed from our 2013 Results page.

Finally, a big "Thank you" to our six MM setting teams for an excellent fun series for 2013 - Carolyn & Rod, Tim & Bryony, Dave S., Karin & Larry, Tom & Claire, and Elizabeth & John.



Here's a short report on our moonlight escapade on 21st August.

  21st August  "Chatswood"

chatswoodaerial  offices  concourse

Although our orienteering map included the Chatswood CBD, ...................................

start-finish  bridge

... we decided to start from the very pleasant Muston Park, which extends between busy Penshurst St and quiet Eden St in the eastern reaches of Chatswood.  Scotts Creek flows through Muston Park being crossed by a bridge, the only sane means of going from one half of the park to the other.  The creek is generally wide and deepish through the park with thick vegetation along its southern bank.

creek   thick bank veg

Muston Park has numerous stands of tall trees, a childrens playground and many seats in the well-maintained grassed areas.  grassed area   collonade

We set up in the amenities building  beside Scotts Creek. First-time setters in Tom Joss & Claire Winnick did an excellent job using Chatswood's leafy streets and parks for interesting control locations.   Unfortunately, even before we began at 5.30pm, a 30-point control in the Concourse complex had been "cleaned up", not by over-enthusiastic orienteers, but apparently by a conscientious council cleaner who took away our flag, reflector and even emergency tape, leaving nothing behind.  So we gave everyone 30 points compensation for this lost control, even if they would not have maybe gone that far on their runs/jogs.

The evening proved excellent for exercising mind and body under the just risen full moon, and good scoring was again the order of the day night.  Congratulations to Claire & Tom for some very good setting, with no one quite doing the 600 (um... 570) in under 45 minutes, but a lot got very close one way or another.   Chatswood traffic got blamed by at least some, of course.

Results are here, the map with controls here, and for the back of the map showing the control descriptions, map legend and some local history click here.




Here are brief reports of our earlier lunacies:

July 17th - “Westleigh”

 It'd been a while since Garingal had used this area of our large Westleigh map that takes in quite a bit of Thornleigh as well as Westleigh. One of Australia's leading professional mappers, Alex Tarr, had an input to this map, albeit some years ago now.

park sign   park view  street view

Starting from a convenient picnic hut in Ruddock Park, Coral Heath Ave, Westleigh, our day-light experienced team of Karin Hefftner & Larry Weiss set an excellent night-O score event on a very excellent winter's evening (felt like spring to most participants). A few bush tracks to power pylons as well as parks and lots of tricky streets.  Map was 1:7500 on A4, controls set for fun-finding, not frustration very evident by the good scores achieved.

Results (pdf) are here, and to check the map (gif) click here, and to see the control descriptions, click here.


MM3, Wednesday, June 19th, around Killara-Lindfield, - here is a report.....

Wednesday,  June 19th - “Seven Little Australians” 

This year, for Moonlight Madness #3 (which we combined with our traditional Winter Solstice night-O event – the June Full Moon in 2013 is at the Winter Solstice), we started from the Killara Park pavilion at the northern side of Bert Oldfield Oval in Killara Park.  Here's some background information about where we were on Wednesday evening, 19th June for those happy enough to bowl along to Killara in the dark.

      Bert Oldfieloldfieldpaviliond
William Albert Stanley "Bert" Oldfield (b. 9 September 1894, Sydney, d. 10 August 1976, Sydney) was an Australian cricketer, playing for NSW and Australia as wicket-keeper.

 He served in WW1 with the first Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as a Corporal in the 15th Field Ambulance. He was wounded in 1917 when shot in the leg. At the conclusion of the war, he was selected to be part of the Australian Imperial Forces cricket team that played 28 first class matches in Britain, South Africa and Australia.

 Oldfield made his first-class cricket debut in the 1919-20 Australian season, and played his first Test match against England in his hometown of Sydney the next season. He was dropped for several matches over the next few years, but established himself as Australia's automatic wicket-keeper selection in the 1924-25 Ashes series against England.

 He missed only one other Test in his career, that being the fourth Test of the 1932-33 Bodyline series. In the notorious third Test at Adelaide, the English Bodyline tactic of bowling fast balls directed at the Australian batsmen's bodies reached its most dramatic moment when fast bowler Harold Larwood hit Oldfield in the head, fracturing his skull (although this was from a top edge off a traditional non-Bodyline ball and Oldfield admitted it was his fault). Oldfield was carried from the ground unconscious. He recovered in time for the fifth Test of the series.

 Always an easy-going personality, Oldfield immediately forgave Larwood for the incident, and the two eventually became firm friends when Larwood later emigrated to Australia. Oldfield played Test cricket for four more years, ending his career in 1937. He was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1927.

 Oldfield played 54 Tests, scored 1,427 runs with an average of 22.65, and taking 78 catches and 52 stumpings. His tally of 52 stumpings remains a Test career world record. In first-class cricket he played 245 matches, scoring 6,135 runs at an average of 23.77, and taking 399 catches and 263 stumpings.

 Our map is named “Seven Little Australians”, the nearby bushland reserve named in honour of Ethel Turner who wrote this Australian children's classic book whilst living in Lindfield – her house was in Treatts Rd, also on our map.  “7 Little Australians” includes part of Gordon Creek and (in daylight) displays the sandstone flora found in the “North Shore”.

             fallen tree

       Wombin Reserve is another section of natural bushland which includes native sandpaper figs (ripe when they're entirely black and the skin peels off when touched).  

The dirt track through Wombin leads into the elaborate and very formal garden built by Mick Swain, a Sydney bookseller of the 1920s.

swain Swain Gardens.    

Today preserved by Ku-ring-gai Council and a team of volunteers, this is a garden set into a gully in a style popular in the 1920's.


Exotic magnolias, azaleas, rhododendrons, rare historic roses and camellias all flourish beneath the mature eucalypts, linked by a network of stonework pathways.




 Another unusual feature of our event area is Quarry Mason's Forest, a very small, very round and very steeply sided old stone quarry now a public park.



Starts were from 5.30pm until 7pm with course closure at 7.45pm (when we went out and brought back all the markers).

Results as a pdf can be downloaded here.  The map front (control locations) and map back (control descriptions and legend) can be likewise downloaded as pdfs by clicking map and back-of-map.

The map was 1:7500, magnetic north was spun to best fit the event area of the map to A4, and the controls spread to give everyone plenty to find in their 45 minutes.  The weather despite earlier threats of cloud and wetness proved good for night running, with occasionay views of the nearly full moon through the scattering clouds.

The only downside to the event was a serious knee injury to Anthony, one of our fastest competitors but thankfully two passing orienteers, Joel & Gordon (also both fast and experienced competitors) abandoned their courses to assist until the ambulance arrived. We all wish Anthony a safe and speedy recovery.


 A short report on MM2:

Wednesday,  May 22nd - “Greenwich Point”

Another first-time night-O use of an orienteering map covering a very picturesque peninsula in Sydney Harbour was somewhat spoiled by the weather (light rain) and the local council digging up the park just before our event, necessitating a slight shifting of control #28 into a very close position such that just about every entrant went to it as their first control for a very quick 30 points.

clubhouse and courts  We thank the Greenwich Tennis Club for allowing us to use the facilities - with the rain, we set up under their club-house awning which proved an excellent little and well protected area for us.

Controls were spread around most of the Point's bush and parkland-lined shore and with some northwards into the streetscape of Greenwich itself. As well as the maze of narrow streets at the Point, quite a bit of hill-climbing provided an extra aerobic 'work-out' for our 40 hardy entrants.  The wet conditions meant progress had to be a bit slower and more careful than if dry.  Several entrants went to all the controls but no one did it within the 45 minutes, while some missed one or two to be back with a minute or so to spare.  The average score was over 410 (out of a possible 600), so the majority of our competitors were able to find plenty of controls inside the 45 minutes, exactly the target for these fun night events.

We thank Bennelong Orienteers for use of their map.  And Bryony & Tim Cox for setting us committed lunatics a course of a quality and facility that they wish we all could run and enjoy every event - apart from the weather!!!!

Down-loadable pdfs are here for the MM2 Results,  the map,  and the back of the map (which has the control descriptions and legend).


Here's a little report about a great MM1.

April 24th – “Macquarie Lighthouse

Started and finished within sight and the light of the historic Macquarie Lighthouse, this event had spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean (the >90% full moon rising in the east) and turning westwards, there were the Sydney lights as you looked down Port Jackson.

We thank Western & Hills Orienteers for the use of their map for this first-time night-O event here.

And our first-time Garingal course setters, Carolyn Davies & Rod Eckels who live just down the road coast, and put out a brilliant course. And brilliant weather too!

Our competitors had an average score of 416 out of a possible 600, meaning just about everyone was able to get around to a lot of controls.
It was good to see quite a few Sub-juniors (with a parent) participating as well as a number of "less-junior" groups trying night-O for the first time.


Our meeting point (Start/Finish) was under our cabana set up beside the historic and recently refurbished Signals Station.

The Map was 1:7500, A4, with control descriptions and legend.  Controls were our new mini-flag markers with red reflectors and tags with the number & letter codes on the flag string. 

To download the map as a pdf, click here.  For the back of the map (control descriptions, Legend, and some other stuff), click here for that pdf.

Results for the 71 entrants can be downloaded here as a pdf.

Any queries about any MM event, contact David Stitt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 9413-3814



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