Illawarra Kareelah Orienteers was formed in 2000 after a merger of two smaller clubs – the Illawarra Orienteers and the Kareelah Orienteering Club. Today its membership extends from Double Bay to Berry!
Illawarra Orienteers was established in December 1982 with a membership mainly comprised of orienteers from Sydney clubs living in the Illawarra. The club’s first president, Mark Wilmott, was a guiding force in the development of the club and orienteering in the region, encouraging locals to try out orienteering on maps in the Shellharbour/Killalea and Stuart Park/Towradgi areas and providing courses in orienteering through the Illawarra WEA (Workers Education Association).
The first major event organised by the club was the Long “O” – an ultra long distance event held in the Belanglo Forest in 1985.
Kareelah Orienteering Club
The Kareelah Orienteering Club formed in 1972 and was the second orienteering club established in NSW (the first being Bennelong which still exists today). At this time it was decided that a new club was needed to serve orienteers in the southern Sydney suburbs while the Bennelong Club would serve orienteers in the northern Sydney suburbs.
Kareelah is an Aboriginal word that means ‘south wind’ and the southern Sydney suburb of Kareela is a derivation of this word.
The first president of the Kareelah club was Ian Hassell who was an active member of IKO for many years. The club’s first event was held at Temptation Creek at Grays Point on 12 December 1973 using a hand drawn black and white map.
By 2000 the club’s membership was declining and a joint venture with the Illawarra Orienteers was proposed.