Geographically, the club's base covers Sydney's northern-most beaches, across the northern suburbs, to Hornsby and Ryde. That said, many orienteering club members live outside their notional club base. And Garingal members are spread as far as the Central Coast and even Carcoar.
We're a friendly bunch! People tell us we're friendly and helpful, we love to have a char! We offer Garingal Dinners during carnivals, a Christmas Party (typically in February), Pub Dinners after Sydney Summer Series events, and the occasional novelty event (e.g authentic Hungarian goulash cooked over coals by our Hungarian members).
Our members. We're one of the largest clubs in NSW and always had a large family base. Our members range in age from under 8 to 87 years and cover all skill levels. Our 8 teams in the 2022 Sydney Metro League series include members not much past their trainer-wheels up to elite (go the Goannas, Frillnecks, Dragons, Legless Lizards, Monitors, Skinks, Blue Tongues and Geckos!!!). Several of our juniors have represented Australia at the Junior World and World Championships. Some members are keen mountain bikers and compete in MTBO events. Many members go in the kindred sport of Rogaining and do extraordinarily well! Most years, some Garingalites go to the World Masters Orienteering Championships or other European events - simply because they can and elite skills are not required.
Some of us are in for life! We have conferred 9 Garingal Life Members. Several members have been recognised by Orienteering Australia for their decades of service to our sport. Even more have been recognised by Orienteering NSW.
Annual Club Awards. Each year the Garingalite with the best performance across a specific range of events, regardless of age, is honoured with 'Club Champion'. Juniors have a Trophy for the Most Improved, plus an Encouragement Award. In addition, the Silver Hare is awarded to the person or couple who have given great service to the club.
A 'funny thing happened' during our first decade..... In 1981 we lost all our juniors!! How bizarre! Sneaky? A few of our juniors started at UNSW and discovered that by establishing a sporting group they could access several campus parking permits. Hark the beginnings of a new club, Big Foot, which quickly sucked most juniors out of all Sydney clubs. Four decades on, our junior section is again thriving and competing against the children of those Big Foots!
* The origin of the name 'Garingal'
Ray Jerrems, 1st President of Garingal writes: "I was a member of the first Club formed at the behest of the NSW Orienteering Association, Bennelong Occasional Orienteers (BOO). I was approached by the Association to form another northside Club, based further up the North Shore Line from BOO’s catchment area. A number of BOO friends said they would help by joining the new club, and one of the early questions was the name for the Club. Initially we called it “Illawong”, suggested by my wife Diane because it sounded nice and means “view of the water”, but soon we decided to use a more local name. The name “Ku-ring-gai” (as used by the Council) was too complicated to spell properly, but we decided to still keep the aboriginal theme of the name of the local tribe. Two variations of pronunciation emerged from my research, being “Karingal” and “Garingal”. We opted for “Garingal” because a southern club had set its heart on using “Kareelah”, which would (like Karingal) abbreviate to “KO”. Also, conveniently, we thought that “GO” had a better (and perhaps less confrontational) ring to it anyway.