Jackie Parry, Special Events Coordinator, Octagon
14th July 2004
I spoke recently with Jackie Parry, Special Events
Coordinator at Octagon Australia with event operations
responsibility for Australian Safari. Jackie is a
key member of the team that brings to you events such
as Australian Safari 2004 and this is what she had
what's your background, and that of the Australian
I have been with Octagon Australia for almost 4 years
working mainly on motor sport events and this will
be my fourth Australian Safari. The Australian Safari
is now into its 19th year and started in 1985 with
a starting field of 312 competitors. This was a 7
day event from Sydney to Darwin called the Wynns
Safari. It is amazing that 75% of the field did not
complete the first day.
event did not run in 1998 because the Playstation
Around Australia Rally was run and organised by Octagon,
but since then it has run every year and has become
recognised as one of the most challenging off road
events of its kind in the world.
have big plans for the future of the Australian Safari
and we hope to reintroduce a course in 2005 similar
to the courses of the eighties which were extremely
challenging in terms of length and duration
watch this space!!!
have been Octagon's biggest achievements?
I think that Octagon Australias achievements
are varied, we have organised some wonderful major
events both internationally and nationally, as well
as providing an extremely professional approach to
think another factor is the sheer range of events
Octagon Australia is involved in, including Targa
Tasmania, Grand Prix Rally and Australian Safari right
through to Gravity Games H20 in actions sports. We
are also involved in just about every other aspect
of sports marketing and management, including sponsorship,
athlete representation, marketing, etc we are
the leaders in our business and it is great to be
working with leaders.
makes a good promoter or what makes a good promotional
I think that the key issue to being a good promoter
is delivering what we promise we pride ourselves
on this and it is a key part of our philosophy
also the whole team will get involved to really make
it happen. Also the promoter has to believe in the
event to make sure it works. We have passion on our
side with everyone in our team!
is the appeal of a motorsport event, such as the upcoming
Motor sport has such a wide appeal and is not restricted
just to people who have a passionate interest in cars.
An event like the Australian Safari involves so many
people supporting the competitors, families, service
crews, support personnel and I believe the appeal
of this event is the challenge and the opportunity
to compete in such amazing areas such as the New South
Australian Safari remains unique as Australias
leading off road international event in that it really
is man (or even woman) and machine against the great
outdoors. No other country in the world has such a
varied terrain and the ultimate challenge of Australian
Safari is to actually finish. Because of the amazing
cooperation of property owners from all over Australia,
our competitors have been able to access off road
areas never before travelled on, at times spectacular.
The camaraderie amongst competitors and support staff
is also unique to this event and continues to amaze
our International competitors. We try our very best
to keep the price down to as reasonable and realistic
a cost as possible.
are the main qualifications one needs to meet to compete?
Anybody can compete in the Australian Safari, all
that is needed is the appropriately prepared vehicle,
a drivers licence, a competition licence and
the desire to compete and even win.
is the duration of the event?
The event runs for 8 days with an additional day for
the prologue to determine starting times and order.
a typical day for you, leading up to a big event?
There are many people working through different facets
of the event. The majority of my day is answering
competitors queries and speaking with our many
overnight stops to ensure the entourage of approximately
500 people will have food, accommodation, amenities,
fuel etc. I see my role as the face of the day to
day contact with the competitors and making sure they
are happy with everything we are doing, which is critical
has been most supportive of the Australian Safari
Bob Carpenter our Clerk of Course. Without Bob it
would be impossible to organise the Australian Safari.
I am always amazed at his knowledge of every nook
and cranny of Australia he knows roads and
tracks that are not even listed on maps, Bobs
passion and enthusiasm for the event are second to
How does the Internet assist
Expediates all contact and provides a quicker communication
means to our officials and competitors. Allows transfer
of event related material to the many rural communities
which we do not get the opportunity to visit prior
to the event.
do you know when you and the team have done a good
Because of the tremendous number of people involved
in the event I guess competitor and general feedback
is the most direct form of communication following
the event, however if entries are greater the following
year that is also a good indicator. We know that it
is very expensive to enter the event and to prepare
vehicles, but we try our very best to offer the very
best value for money to the competitors and the event
sponsors. We also try our very best to be fair to
all level of entrants, whether they are teams or private
entries and we have changed the rules this year to
reflect a better class of entry for privateers.
type of car do you drive?
Holden Astra Holden will be very pleased to
hear that! Sadly it is not a 4WD and does not go as
fast as the ones in Australian Safari!
is the most interesting place in Australia that you
work has taken you?
Northern Territory I though it was an amazing
place and although I am a country girl, so different
to where I was brought up and Melbourne, where I live
do you do to relax?
I spend lots of time with good people and after Australian
Safari I just take some time out and recover
note: Media Man Australia will be staying close to
the action, as we have a fellow in Melbourne who is
getting ready to race in the 2004 rally, with our