postheadericon WARA Life Members


The WARA constitutions permits the granting of Honorary Membership for members who have "rendered a conspicuous and distinguished service to the Association". We have the following life members, most of whom are still actively involved in rogaining either in Western Australia or interstate or overseas.

Neil Phillips 1983
Ross Emslie 1983
Kerry Emslie 1983
Jim Walter 1987
Ron Lockley 1991
Fred Abbott 1991
Maggie Jones 1998
Jane Hardy 1998
Jill Elderfield 2004
Vince Harding 2005
Warren Smith 2006
Gary Carroll 2006
Geoff Monk 2007
Ian Thomsett 2012
Richard Matthews 2015
Jim Langford 2017
Gerard Massam & Sue Monter 2017
Paul Szijarto 2021
Steve Sertis 2021


Neil Phillips - Past President and Founding member of WARA

Neil Phillips formed the WA Rogaining Association in 1980, after moving to Western Australia, along with fellow Victorian rogainers Ross and Kerrie Emslie. Neil was one of the vetters at the first ever WARA rogaine in 1980, held in the Chittering Valley.

Neil Phillips championed the production of an organisers' manual to officially define the sport, and has helped in various roles at various events.

Neil, along with Christine Arnold organised the first Australian Rogaining Championship, in May 1979, centred on the town of Tallarook, Victoria. He was also involved in forming the Vistorian Rogaining Association (VRA), Australian Rogaining Association (ARA), and the Intenational Rogaining Federation (IRF).

Neil Phillips can truly be said to be one of the founders of rogaining.

Jim Walter - Founding Member of WARA

Jim was one of the founder members of WARA in 1980 and also a Treasurer in those early days, where his guidance and hard work helped to make the WA rogaining association what is is today.

As well as helping at events (setting, admin, and hash) he and his wife Beryl were regulars when it came to clearing up after an event.

FOOTNOTE: Jim Walter died on Monday, 14 November 2005 at the age of 83. WARA has lost a keen competitor and a gentleman in every sense of the word. Sympathy and condolences to Beryl and her family.

Maggie Jones - Former Committe Member

Maggie began rogaining only one year after WARA was formed. She had been orienteering for a number of years and an “O” friend, Jo Hiller, who had been on the first rogaine and thought it was fantastic and said that she must try it. Jo talked Maggie into going on the next event with someone Maggie had never met before who was desperately looking for someone who could read a map. So, Maggie went, thoroughly enjoyed herself and came second in the women’s section. Maggie has since competed in over 60 events.

Maggie has been the Association’s Vice President and/or Secretary over the period spanning 1997-1999 and 2002-2005. She was also on the 1996 World Champs sub-committee. In an era when the the committee was made up of very competitive, superfit members, she was sometimes the lone committee voice who pushed for courses to be set with also the “social” rogainer in mind.

Not content to compete and be on the WARA committee, Maggie also has volunteered in hash (cooking) and admininstration roles at seven events.

In 2000 she was awarded an Australian Sports Medal in recognition of her contribution to our sport of Rogaining.

Jill Elderfield

Jill Elderfied is someone who epitomises such willingness to share the love of our sport with others, especially juniors, and to bring them on board in a structured and supported manner. She has introduced countless students, and many of their parents, to rogaining, while also maintaining her own participation at a high level.

Jill's love of maps, and geography in general, first led her to orienteering in about 1989. She was then led to rogaining by Lorraine Kirke, entering the appropriately named “Lunatics' Luck” at Julimar in May 1990.

It was not long before the potential of rogaining as a worthwhile activity for her students captured Jill's imagination. Working with a core of students in her orienteering class at BCGS, she soon had enough interested to warrant taking busloads to rogaines on a regular basis. The familiar sight of the Grammar School bus rolling in to camp represents the culmination of prior planning, teaching, encouraging, organising and parenting of what have invariably been cheerful and well-behaved groups of young rogainers. In addition, Jill has always been available to answer any inquiries from other Schools wishing to become part of the rogaining scene.

A long line of successful Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School competitors have dominated the Junior Categories of the majority of events held over the last decade. More importantly, dozens and dozens of young people have had the opportunity to build their skills, resourcefulness and self-confidence by trying the personally challenging sport of ROGAINING. The benefits of their experiences have been lasting and they have been quick to acknowledge this.

The affection and respect that Jill Elderfield has earned from her pupils over the years is demonstrated by the nickname "Aunty Jill" which she wears with pride and humility.

With enthusiastic people like Jill Elderfield amongst the WARA membership, the future of the sport is secure.

Vince Harding - Past President and Former Committee Member

When Rogaining started in 1980 Vince was invited along but declined for many years as he believed all these people were CRAZY! Vince's first rogaine was Skeleton Weed (1986, 12 hour) where the water ran out and the only water his team could get was bore water that made them crook. They retired, went home and vowed never to do this again. Since then Vince has competed in 58 rogaines and volunteered 13 times and has a passion for Rogaining.

Vince had volunteered many times for many aspects of rogaining, includig first aid, truck driver, setting, vetting, admin, and hash house. Vince had often offered his house for committee meetings and post rogaine barbecues; had been a member of the WARA committee for may years, including being President for three years; maintained the WARA map bank, and advised potential setters on areas that could be used for rogaines.

Vince is a very competitive person but has always competed in a fair and friendly way and he was in the winning team at the 1989 Australian Championships. Another role that Vince performed in an unofficial way for WARA was as the Bibbulman Track hut building coordinator; WARA has built a number of the huts on the Track because of Vince’s involvement. This comes in handy When WARA has had dealings with CALM it has been useful to point out to them the work we have done for the Track.

Clearly Vince had contributed much in organising Rogaining in WA over a long period. Rogaining has a culture that has developed over the years and to many of us this is what makes the sport so special. It is summed up by the phrase that Vince loves to repeat – "Rogaining is Fun”.

Warren Smith - Past President and Committee Member

Warren has been an active member of WARA since 1989 and first joined the Committee in August 1994 and, as many of you present will remember, for five years, from March 1999 to February 2004, he was our President. He has competed in 67 rogaines and been either setter/vetter/hash house/admin helper on 18 occasions.

For the past eleven years Warren has been our Volunteer Coordinator and, as we all know, WARA events only run as smoothly as they do because of our volunteers. He not only coordinates the volunteers but has run a meeting in his home prior to each event so that all volunteers can get to know each other and learn what they have to do. He has developed his expertise and reputation as a first class Volunteer Coordinator to such a level that the Department of Sport and Recreation asks him to lecture on the subject to other sporting organisations, something I’m sure most of you are probably not aware of.

His promotion of rogaining to the rest of Western Australia is tireless and this is illustrated by his 12 month effort with David Westley from Karratha to get the event at Millstream organised, set, vet and run. Through this effort he has exposed rogaining as an environmental caring sport and rogaining has been invited back to Millstream. Groups like, Water Authority, CALM, the aboriginal elders, iron ore & gas companies now know of and respect the sport of rogaining.

He has been a tireless worker for our Association both behind the scenes and at events, including helping to load and unload the truck at events. Warren is always cheerful, helpful, never has a cross word to anyone and is always encouraging to all members. I believe that over the past 16 years, Warren has given WARA more than its fair share of his time.

Finally, we should not forget his family who have taken countless messages over the years and given huge support to Warren. I think that now is an appropriate time to make a special thank you to Yvonne, Warren’s wife, who has for many years run and developed the WARA shop and of course who can forget the wonderful spread of home made cakes and other goodies that she has provided for committee meetings and volunteer get-togethers.

Gary Carroll - Past President and Committee Member

Gary has been an active member of WARA since 1989 and first joined the Committee in August 1993, and from November 1996 to March 1999 he was our President.

He has competed in many rogaines and been either setter or vetter for a dozen or more events. In addition he was for a short while the Vice President and for many years the Newsletter Editor. He has also been Volunteer Coordinator prior to Warren (if any of you can remember back to when Warren wasn’t the Volunteer Coordinator).

Gary has been a tireless, enthusiastic, non-stop worker for both WARA and rogaining in Australia, behind the scenes for many years.

For 10 or so years, he has been on the ARA Technical Committee which monitors/ writes/revises the Rules & Regulations for Rogaining throughout Australia. This is a time consuming position for which you need a very good computer with a large memory to cope with the voluminous emails that come through from the Eastern States. I can vouch for this having seen copies of the reams of emails that came through during the 1999 revision of the Rules when Gary was President. There has just been another review of these Rules & Regulations last year and again Gary has worked his way through all the paperwork and kept the WARA Committee up todate and forwarded WARA’s suggestions for changes.

Gary has also been our Technical Officer for many years helping setters with obtaining maps from DOLA, advising them on how to use OCAD and all those other technical things that mean we end up with a first class map at each event.

He helped to compile, and continually updates, the Setters and Vetters manual. He also wrote the Pebbles programme that we now use in admin for recording the results and does many other technical things behind the scenes that helps rogaining run smoothly in WA.

He also was a major contributor to the Novices Guide and has been a regular participant at the training sessions, which we have been running for novices for the past couple of years.

Gary is always bright and cheerful, even at events when he has been out all night on patrol looking for lost/injured souls and refilling the water drops. He is a willing worker who chips in during the events doing whatever needs doing and doing it without being asked.

He is a fountain of knowledge with a very good memory which has proved very useful over the years for many Presidents and Committees.

The Carolless Rogaine (2010) marked the end of an era when Gary upped stumps and moved to Tasmania.

Geoff Monk - Past Equipment Officer and Committee Member

Geoff has been a stalwart of Rogaining for as many years as I can remember. His dedication to the renewing and maintenance of our Rogaine equipment is second to none.

He has always been willing to assist in any way possible in encouraging the participation rate of volunteering within our sport. I don’t think that there would be anyone who has done so much in making Rogaining as comfortable for the volunteers or the competitors with the equipment that he and his side kick, Ron have dreamed up - (the hot water heater, bain marie, new big gas burner, hand wash foot pump for the toilets, the fire container for Friday nights and I could go on..)

Geoff is a big man with a very kind heart and friendly character, but at the same time not afraid to take prisoners if that is required! At the campfire on Friday nights he can outlast the best of them for stamina and is usually the last man standing, when all have crawled off to their tents. Geoff has the ability to make all who come to the fire feel more than welcome even if they are newcomers.

Ian Thomsett - Past President and Committee Member

Ian began his association with WARA on a fine April morning in 1981 as a 16 year old boy with his dad, and 143 strangers in the bush near Jarrahdale. 12 hours later they they had come 26th out of a field of 40 teams, and Ian was hooked.

He has been a consistent competitor and his rogaining performance is to be envied; an assortment of placings with top 10 place in around half of events competed in. Ian is certainly no slouch in the volunteering stakes either, having worked in Admin, Hash, First Aid and even driving the truck, as well as having set or vetted quite a few events.

Ian has served on the committee in a number of roles. He first volunteered in 1995 as newsletter editor and has served as Secretary, President and Immediate Past President. Who can forget his immortal words “No rogainer will ever go without rice again”? The contribution to WARA doesn’t end there; he assisted for many years with the annual Dryandra training weekends and the setting/vetting seminars. He is an enthusiastic participant in - and an active promoter of - the sport of rogaining.

Richard Matthews - Past President and Committee Member

Many of you may be unaware of the positive impact Richard had on rogaining in Western Australia, nationally and internationally. Richard was an extremely active volunteer and leader during the 1980s and 1990s. Many of the characteristics that distinguish rogaining in WA that we now take for granted were established during WARA’s formative years while Richard served on the WARA committee. Richard temporarily moved to British Columbia in 1997 and ceased to take a key role in WARAs activities from this time.

Richard served on WARA Committee Sept 1982 to Sept 1988, including being President October 1983 to September 1986. In 1982 WARA had around 400 members and less than $5000 in the bank. Richard also set or vetted at 5 WARA events including the Bullant 1989 Australian Championships

Richard enjoys the endurance aspects of rogaining in all its guises. Setting, vetting, control collecting or just getting to the event. In leadership roles, Richard was a skilled delegator who involved as many people as possible and thus generated wider interest and development of skills in our sport. Richard has always organised and competed in events with a sense of fair play and respect for all entrants.

Jim Langford- Past President and Committee Member

Jim commenced regaining in April 1997, at the Black and Blue 12 Hour Rogaine where he came 70th (out of 157). Something obviously clicked with Jim as he has been a dedicated rogainer ever since. Since then Jim has done 78 WARA bush events, a significant portion of which he has been in the top five placings. He also has competed in 12 interstate/international events.

But it is not for his rogaining prowess for which Jim deserves Life Membership - it is his dedication to the administration and management of both events and rogaining itself. Jim (and Margaret) set their first event in 1999, the Wandering Around Wongamine USD, less than two years after starting rogaining. Since then Jim has set a total of 19 events (almost one a year). Over the past couple of years he has "saved" a number of events by stepping in and setting/vetting them when no one else was willing to step up to the plate. He is also at events helping out; most events he will be at the hash site by midday to help set up the tents and assist with all the other preparation work that goes on before most competitors have even left home. Having helped to pack the truck on the Thursday night before the event, he is usually around helping to pack up, even after a 24 hour event, unless he is out picking up controls.

He joined the committee in 1999, became vice president in 2003 and president in 2004, a role he held for five; years. He then took over the role of Volunteer Co-ordinator from the long-serving Warren Smith in 2009 and held it till 2012. After a short breather from the committee he stepped in yet again to fill the role of treasurer in 2016-2017.

He was a key member of the team that reorganised the processes and procedures that Administration use to manage an event with the introduction of electronic punching in 2016. And in 2010 he painstaking went back through every newsletter/list of results and generated a competitors database, a database with every event everyone has competed in and each result, a database that can be queried to produce a list of events and places for any one person.

Gerard Massam and Sue Monter

Gerard joined the committee in 2004 as newsletter editor and filled that role for 4 years. In late 2005 Sue Monter took over as event entry co-ordinator from Kerry Cowie. In 2008 Gerard handed over the newsletter editor role to concentrate on assisting Sue with the membership database and also to start developing the online entry system. He achieved this for the 2009 Oz Champs, and also developed the online clothing ordering system used for the same event. Gerard and Sue were involved in the revamp of the WARA website, moving the content to Joomla. In 2010 Gerard started work on developing an electronic punching system, one that was to be substantially cheaper than the system in use in the eastern states due to the use of current technology.

Gerard and Sue has had input into the interfacing of the membership database and the electronic event management system (Pebbles). Gerard left the committee in 2015 and handed the electronic tagging system over to others. Gerard served on the committee for 11 years and has had a significant input into the use of technology to facilitate the smooth running of WARA.

He and Sue have managed the membership database and event entry systems for 10 years and have significantly improved and streamlined these systems. The amount of work they do for each and every event is huge and I believe that we need to recognise this through the award of Life Membership.

Paul Szijarto- Past President and Committee Member

Paul’s first event was the Caenarvon Hills Rogaine in June 1985 when he came 42nd out of 106 teams. Since then, he has competed in 90 local bush rogaines and three novelty events. Paul last competed in 2018 as he has taken the opportunity of retirement to spend more time travelling. This has not stopped him helping WARA in other areas.

Paul has made a huge contribution to WARA by being in the setting/vetting team for 15 events. As a setter myself I have some idea of how many days and nights of work this has involved. Paul has always produced events that members could enjoy and do with confidence knowing that everything had been well planned.  The most recent event that Paul helped set was in March 2020. He has also volunteered on another 13 occasions, mainly in Admin.    
Paul has made a big contribution to WARA in the administration of the Association. He was Vice President of WARA in 2009 and 2010. He then became President in 2011. He carried on as President for six years until 2016. During that time he oversaw one Australian Rogaining Championship, the Down South Rogaine in 2016. In the two years leading up to this event, WARA introduced electronic punching under Paul’s guidance.

Paul has always been willing to help. He has helped with truck loading on many occasions. We could always rely on him being “hands on” at rogaine events.


Steve Sertis

Steve’s first event was The Dish in June 2002 where he came 63rd out of 141 teams. Since then he has completed 32 bush rogaines and three novelty events. He has vetted one event and helped out on 11 other occasions mainly in hash.

Steve’s real contribution to rogaining has been his involvement as Hash House Co-ordinator. He took on this role in 2010 and immediately set about streamlining the entire hash process, from reviewing how previous events went and what was left over to the menu development and quantity estimation process. This has resulted in much less wastage of food at the end of the event. There may have been a few hiccups early in the process – we all remember Ricky Thackray’s complaints about no rice left after a 24 hour event - but the result has been well worth it. Steve has managed the hash for every event for eleven years. While he has not always been available to attend events, he has always been there to make sure that the food was ordered and the Hash team was set up ready to go. Sometimes he has done this from outside of Australia – once from the Mt Everest Base Camp. This commitment to service is outstanding.

Steve was also instrumental in developing the existing battery power supply system, replacing the old generators. Much quieter and more efficient around the hash site, though it was always great to hear rge generators as you approached hash after a long rogaine – you knew you were getting close to home.

As a long term member of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation (20 years this year) Steve has been instrumental in introducing many keen bushwalkers to regaining. At one stage Steve made it a requirement that all Bibbulmun Track guides did at least one rogaine. It was a common occurrence to see Steve at a rogaine surrounded by a big group of novices from the Foundation.  He always had a smile on his face and if he is at an event he always drops in to hash to see how he can help, even if he is competing.



Last Updated (Saturday, 06 March 2021 07:29)

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