Sunday, 30 August 2009
On Friday 28 August 2009 the annual Oxfam Trailwalker commenced in Sydney’s north. The fundraiser held by the charity Oxfam is an event where teams of 4 people walk or run over a 100 km trail through Sydney’s northern bushland and National Parks.
Sydney CREST has provided communications support for the last 10 of the 11 years that the event has been held. A network of fixed and portable radio repeaters are set-up and are linked together to provide safety communications to each of the checkpoints along the course.
This year 500 teams (that’s 2,000 individual participants) commenced the walk of 100km principally on the Great North Walk from Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River to Georges Heights near Middle Head on Sydney Harbour. Each year, teams have 48 hours to complete the course however the fastest teams typically complete the course in under 14 hours.
Teams are required to raise a minimum of $1000 each. In 2008, over 2 million dollars was raised for Oxfam. These funds support Oxfam’s work in 26 countries including indigenous communities in Australia.
The event is a multi-squad Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) event. VRA Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue also assists Oxfam with the event by “extracting” injured walkers from the trail, providing operational logistics in the control centre and sweeping some trail sections to ensure that all walkers are through. CREST has been assisted by other VRA squads including the NSW Cave Rescue Squad and Wicen. Members of the Manly Warringah Amateur Radio club also provide operators to man the CREST control station.