Emus Online - 30th July 2007

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Next Weekend - 5th August

This map, situated between Castlemaine and Maldon, is ideal terrain for newcomers to orienteering. Good running in well-defined spur gully terrain - and not too steep. Our organiser, Joyce Rowlands, would like to thank all of you that rang/wrote to offer assistance and she's pretty sure that everything is covered at the moment. Nonetheless, one can never have too many helpers - if you're coming along, please touch base at the event and see if there's anything that needs to be done (above all - the more control collectors that we get, the sooner we all get away and get home after the event - so please stick around to help out after the event closes).

  Event Name Badge #2, State Series #6 (Medium)  
Date 2007-08-05  
Suburb/Location  Castlemaine - Maldon  
Map Mia Mia (Scale 1:15,000, 5m contours)  
Fireban District North West  
Directions to Start   From Castlemaine; take the B180 towards Maryborough and Newstead. Turn right into the Maldon Road C282 and after approx 1.5 Km turn left into Muckleford School Rd. Follow O signs for 5 Km.  
Melway Ref 609C6  
VicRoads Ref 59D2  
Organiser  Joyce Rowlands 9723 6740  
Course Setter  Rex Niven 9444 1803  

STOP PRESS - The staff and ladies from Newstead Primary School (South of the event site) have kindly offered to provide catering at the event.  There will be a good selection of hot and cold food plus tea and coffee available for sale. Please support the local school.

Member News

Northern Series Planning Underway

Many of you may not realise that the Northern Series was an NE initiative a few years ago - to allow us to establish a series of street events in the area serviced by our club. AS things turned out, this has proved quite popular both for us and for the members of other clubs.

Planning for the 4th Northern Summer Series is well underway with key changes being:

Emus Course-Setters for the Summer Series

Ian has skilfully negotiated a reasonable number of events to be organised by NE members and is now looking for course-setters. He has circulated a list of events to street-O regulars for whom he has email addresses...but he may have missed you. If you would consider running an event for us during the Summer daylight saving period, please call Ian directly on 9876 3643 and offer to lend a hand.

Note that you're not constrained to NE maps only; if you would like to run an event on the map on which you live or nearby, just let Ian know and he'll work with you to get that one for you.

Fiji Islands - a brief holiday

We recently had the opportunity to travel to the Fiji Islands for 7-8 days. In spite of the need to work for a couple of days, we did manage to squeeze a few non-work activities in. Some brief thoughts below...

There are two main racial groups in Fiji – 48% Indian and 49% Fijian plus a few minorities such as Chinese. The Fijians clearly resent the Indians – even to the sport that they follow “they play Soccer….real Fijians play rugby”. In the shops, the Fijians are pretty relaxed while the shops run by the Indians are much more pushy….although it seems that some Fijians are catching on to this.

We got up at 6:30 one morning to go on on a trip into the interior to visit a Fijian Village. We travelled South along the Coral Coast – about 70-80Km to a place called Sigatoka. The towns there were quite run down – and maintenance of roads, buildings etc is clearly not a priority for the people and/or government there. The people are quite delightful – incredibly friendly and amazingly courteous to strangers. We travelled all this way in a ramshackle mini-bus driven by a very chatty Fijian chap. Along the way, he pointed out the various crops that were growing – Sugar Cane, Papaya, Kava, Cassava (although I’m none too sure of the correct spelling of the latter two.

After another 30 minutes of bumpy road, we met our guide Josh – a young with a remarkable knowledge of the suburbs of Melbourne as he’s visited friends there on a number of occasions. The Jetboat ride up to the village took about 45 minutes – a few pictures along the way below…

Just starting out… Spectacular cliffs along the way

The locals all waved as we passed by

Ladies have to wear a dress in villages

We were met up-river by the 19 year old daughter of the village minister. She was a little shy, but spoke quite well and we had little trouble communicating with one another. She and a friend showed us around the village – the church, the detached kitchens (to reduce health issues from smoke inside habitations) and then the village hall…where it seemed that everybody from the village had turned up to meet us. We were expecting a discrete buffet type meal…but as guests, it seemed that we were the only ones that would be eating. They laid out Sunday best and served each of us with a huge plate of local produce – bananas, cucumber, cassava, sweet cake, papaya and a number of other things that I didn't recognise. We ate one of each item – most of it quite bland flushed down by home-made lemon cordial.

While this was going on, they passed around bowls of the local home-brew to each of us – a drink made from ground up roots of the Kava plant mixed with water and strained through a fine cloth. Again quite bland – and no after effects or noticeable hallucinatory sensations at all – although, I suspect that you might have to drink gallons of a stronger brew than this to experience the euphoric sensations associated with the drink. Hmmm...all in a shared drinking vessel made from a coconut shell - while we worry about water borne diseases that can be conveyed in this way, clearly they have more pressing concerns.

As a result of our discussions, we found out:

Local kids were very happy

Detached kitchen – damp wood stacked above the stove to dry




The village from the church  Town hall as locals start to gather

The gathering in the hall was a little difficult, but the men played guitar (a man’s job apparently) and sang amazingly well. Occasionally, someone would wander up and ask one of the visitors to dance with them and it would have been impolite to refuse - so we tried our best. We made a small donation to the minister for the “phone project” that they have underway and headed back to the boat. The trip back was faster than the trip up – as Josh wanted to show us what a jet boat could do in the hands of a skilled driver.

We headed back towards home and got the driver to drop us in the main town next to the tourist area (Nadi - but pronounced Nandi) – so we could have a look around. Incredibly run down – and it was only as we headed towards a taxi rank that we noticed that he had dropped us in the poorer area of town and that there were shops in better condition a little further up the road. We had coffee, cake and did a little shopping in one of these and then headed back for dinner.

Newsletter Editor Needed

I volunteered to help out with the newsletter a few years back now; this enabled Bill Johnson to escape and move on to things that were of more interest to him. Not going to bush events any longer makes it quite difficult for me to generate content for the newsletter - and so it's time to pass this task on to someone still participating in that area. Please send applications to any committee member or come along to the next committee meeting - see below.