Here are a couple of views of the early history of AOA.
The first written in 1984 by Joe Coletti, the Club's first
President and Life Member and the second by Deanne Ketting.
In the Beginning
I'm often asked, "How did Action Outdoors start?"
In mid 1983, Fred Fuchs, a Canadian friend and myself
would go on occasional bushwalks. We expanded our past-time
to include colleagues at the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre
where we both worked. After several months, we had led
many successful jaunts but these were only as frequent
as we could muster numbers.
After some merriment at a Friday evening 'happy hour'
on the premises of the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Social
Club, I suggested we start an outdoor group by placing
an article in the monthly Hospital News of SCGH. This
was heartily endorsed, but unlike most suggestions which
are promptly forgotten, be it in times of merriment or
not, an article did appear in the November issue much
to the surprise of Fred and friends.
One of the respondents was Deanne Ketting who later helped
form the steering committee. Also present at this stage
was Pauline Elliot and later I enlisted the help of my
friend of yore, Richard Allen. However Fred, though a
willing trip leader, shunned organising and, being a free
agent, tired of Australia and pined for the snowy woods
of British Columbia. I last saw him in mid January 1984.
Though initial response to Hospital News was good it
later proved superficial. I then expanded the publicity
to bulletins of other hospitals and later suburban papers,
the Subiaco Post and the Stirling Times. Both these papers
were instrumental in our extension into the general community.
The first few months were trying indeed. Due to groups
being small, one had to constantly ring around to muster
viable numbers. One also had to contend with people piking
out at the last minute and many instances of people, including
trip drivers, not turning up.
By April 1984 the group was gradually increasing, enabling
trips to be well attended and Richard Allen accepted my
offer to become Treasurer. In the first half of 1984 we
were organising trips roughly every fortnight and called
ourselves the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre Outdoor Group.
The name being a little unwieldy it was shortened to QEMCOG
(pronounced "kwemcog"). But this proved unsatisfactory,
so in June 1984 we changed the name to Action Outdoors.
By this time we had recruited Joe Tonga to our self appointed
steering committee. Also in June we prepared our constitution
for incorporation which was soon proclaimed and we became
an affiliated group to the Conservation Council of WA.
Furthermore, we commenced financial memberships and produced
our second excursion schedule, which was for winter, and
we were now averaging at least one trip a weekend.
By the September Annual General Meeting we had over sixty
members, had produced a Spring Schedule with two to five
trips a weekend and expanded the committee to seven. Now
the quarterly excursion schedule has been turned into
a magazine and a monthly newsletter has been launched
with editors, Dvona Henson and Christina Soderberg.
Our membership is now over 100 and clearly it is becoming
difficult for the committee of seven to organise activities,
administer membership and still try to push Action Outdoors.
We are now forming several separate groups to cover general
activities, film and video production, magazine and newsletter,
practical conservation, Presidential and Committee assistants,
publicity and a cultural/social group.
I urge every member to volunteer for one of the groups
and help propel Action Outdoors at full speed.
By Joseph Coletti PRESIDENT
AOA's Early Years
October 1983 - Joe Colletti & Fred Fuchs placed
a notice up on the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre notice
board asking if anyone was interested in a weekend bushwalk.
Deanne Ketting and Pauline Elliott, a personal friend
of Joe's, took up the challenge.
Joe & Fred had previously been members of bushwalking
clubs and were quite fit. Deanne & Pauline had never
bushwalked before let alone a weekend walk with 20kg backpacks
(a bit of education and experience can more than half
Amongst discussions entered into that weekend were the
lack of clubs in Perth that offered more than just bushwalking
and soon after QEMCOG ( Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre
Outdoor Group) was born. It was even contemplated that
we have a "QEMCOG " cartoon animal as a logo.
Fred unfortunately returned to Canada in January 1994,
but he was replaced in enthusiasm for the club by Dominic
With five core members, more adverts turned into short
schedules appearing on the notice board with a variety
of trips being offered. In April 1984, an advertisement
appeared in the Subiaco Post Newspaper, for a picnic at
Shenton Park lake. This was a real success with the membership
being boosted dramatically. This also boosted the amount
and variety of trips being offered.
It was soon discovered that many people assumed that
if they were not connected with QE11MC, that they could
not join, so the name was changed to Action Outdoors Association.
A competition was started to find a logo to fit the image
of the club, and Joe Tongo gave the club its logo which
it still used today.
Abseiling was run almost every fortnight. An Abseilathon
for Telethon was a great success with Channel 7 running
an item on their nightly news. Other activities included
sailing courses, gliding, and parachuting to name a few.
By Deanne Ketting
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