Kathy Kingsford

Kathy Kingsford

Life Membership is the highest honour that QORF can bestow and Life Members will be held in the highest esteem.

Kathy Kingsford

Kathy Kingsford
Born: 7 July 1956, Sydney, NSW
Moved to Queensland when 8 years old.

Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Science)
Graduate Diploma of Outdoor Education
Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Further Education and Training)

QORF Life Membership: 12 March 2009

Although the first 12 years of her working life were spent in the field of medical science, Kathy Kingsford’s passion for outdoor recreational pursuits saw her transition to a long and successful career in the outdoor sector. Working initially as an outdoor instructor, she took on various roles and committee member positions with industry organisations such as Outdoor Educators’ Association of Queensland, the Outdoor Council of Australia, and most notably with QORF, (Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation).

As Executive Officer from March 1999 to May 2008, she substantially grew QORF from a profile, capacity and delivery point of view. Her years of valuable service were recognised with Life Membership in 2009. These days, she is a Manager with Sport and Recreation Services (SRS), Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing.

Read on to find out more about her contributions, adventures and aspirations for QORF.


During her early thirties Kathy Kingsford walked away from a career in medical science to focus on her first love – outdoor recreation and education. Leaving the Haematology Department at Princess Alexandra Hospital in 1990 she completed her Outdoor Education qualification before setting up her own business, Outdoor Encounters, and for five years worked as instructor for a diverse range of client groups, activities, employers, programs and venues. She was also a part-time project Officer for Fitness, Sport and Recreation Industry Training Council from September 1994 to November 1996.

After serving as the Executive Officer, Standards and Training Division, for the Outdoor Recreation Council of Australia (ORCA), Kathy accepted the position of Executive Officer at QORF in March 1999. Nine years later, in May 2008, she bowed out, deciding to continue to champion the outdoors from the position of Manager: Land Use Planning unit (previously Outdoor Recreation unit) within Sport and Recreation Services (SRS) at the Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing.

Throughout her career, Kathy has also held several voluntary positions with various industry organisations:

  • Queensland Camping Association Inc: Committee member (1993-1996).
  • Outdoor Educator’s Association of Queensland: Membership Secretary and Treasurer (1992-1996)
  • Recreation Training Queensland: Director (1999 – May 2008)
  • Recreation Industry Training Company: Director (1999 – April 2004)
  • Sport and Recreation Training Australia: Director (1999 – April 2007)
  • Outdoor recreation rep on Sport and Recreation Industry Advisory Committee (Jan 2004 – August 2008)
  • Outdoor Council of Australia: Director (1999 – August 2008); President (Sept 2007 – August 2008)

“Involvement in these industry organisations helped me to establish an extensive network of industry professionals across sport and recreation, while contributing to the development of the industry at a very dynamic time. My involvement also challenged and developed me as a professional, broadening my knowledge.”


Outdoor Career Related Highlights

“When I look over my career, there are three stand-outs:

  • Involvement in the establishment of the Outdoor Recreation Council of Australia (ORCA) and its successor, the Outdoor Council of Australia (OCA).
  • During my involvement with ORCA I was responsible for the national consultation and development of the National Outdoor Recreation Industry Training Package, which was the first national standard for the training of outdoor leaders in Australia.
  • Based on the Training Package, while employed at QORF, the establishment of the National Outdoor Leader Registration Scheme (NOLRS).”
Interest in the outdoors

As a teenager and young adult, Kathy spent countless hours bushwalking, camping and paddling – a large number of these week-end day trips in SEQ visiting National Parks, e.g. Mt Tamborine, Springbrook and Lamington. One of five children, family holidays were spent in a caravan at the beach in the summer or travelling to other parts of Australia e.g. Kosciusko National Park in winter. As an adult adventurer, with her husband, Peter, until his death, and later with family and friends, she has ventured to some of Australia’s and the world’s most idyllic, remote and peaceful locations, actively changing the way she explores the landscape and destinations she visits. Her outdoor recreation and adventures have included:

  • Rockclimbing (both top-rope and lead climbing) and Abseiling (single and multi pitch), in Queensland, Mt Arapiles (Vic) and Blue Mountains (NSW) (until 1997).
  • Recreational canoeing / kayaking / sea kayaking in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Alaska, Antarctica, Canadian Arctic, Fiji and New Zealand.
  • Cross country skiing (N.S.W. and Victorian snowfields; including multi-day campouts).
  • Trekking in Nepal, Bhutan, South America, Asia and Africa (group treks) including 28 day Everest Trek via Arun Valley, Annapurna Circuit, Inca Trail and ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro.
  • Trekking (independent) in Europe, New Zealand, U.S.A., South America, Alaska and Canada.
  • Cross country mountain biking in south-east Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and New Zealand.
  • On road cycle touring in southern China, Tasmania and south-east Queensland.
  • Over 40 years Bushwalking (day/multi-day walks) throughout Australia including wilderness/untracked areas.
  • Rogaining and mountain bike orienteering in south-east Queensland.
  • Backpacking and independent travel in Europe, Japan, China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, South America, North America, Canada, Africa.

My personal pursuits in the outdoors have been both a counterbalance to my work but also a regeneration, enabling me to return refreshed and open to possibilities.”

What is your favourite motivational quote?

Nil. Very self motivated!


Involvement with QORF

“I first became involved in QORF in the early days, helping to develop the Articles of Association in 1996 when funding was first offered by the Queensland Government to support a peak body for outdoor recreation. At that time there were a lot of disparate organisations but no ‘single voice’.

“At that time I was a sole trader conducting outdoor programs and was on the Management Committee of the Outdoor Educators’ Association of Queensland (OEAQ) and the Queensland Camping Association and saw the benefit of having a single voice and inroad into government process.”

Kathy became Executive Officer of QORF from March 1999 until May 2008.

Value to QORF

“When I joined QORF as EO it was still a fledgling organisation with minimal credibility or capacity to generate income and become sustainable. I helped QORF become known within various government and industry circles as an organisation that had the expertise and capacity to manage outdoor recreation-related projects.

“Specifically, projects managed during my employment included:

  • Analysis of recreation opportunities in the vicinity of the proposed Traveston Dam for Queensland Water Infrastructure (2007).
  • Development of a Regional Trails Strategic Plan for SEQ on behalf of state and local government funding agencies (August 2003 – March 2006).
  • Development of the Mountain Bike Riding in Brisbane Education and Training Plan for Brisbane City Council (2004).
  • Development of the requirements and process for the National Outdoor Leader Registration Scheme (NOLRS) on behalf of the Outdoor Council of Australia (2004-2005).
  • Development of a Risk Assessment and Management Framework for Walking, Bushwalking and Nature Study in Ipswich City Council (2003 – 2004).
  • Needs of Underage, Unlicensed and Unregistered Trail Bike Riders: Research project (2003) in conjunction with Griffith University.
  • Development of Recognition Tools for 60 units of competency (both generic and outdoor recreation specific) from the National Outdoor Recreation Training Package (2002).
  • Revision and update of the National Outdoor Recreation Training Package (Version 2.0), under contract to Sport and Recreation Training Australia. (October 2001 – March 2002).
  • SEQ Outdoor Recreation Demand Study (2001-2002). Research project (2003) in conjunction with Griffith University on behalf of State and local government.
  • Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation curriculum for NSW Dept Education and Training (2002).

“Significant achievements during my employment as Executive Officer were:

  • A substantial increase in the organisation’s profile, membership and income (and QORF’s capacity);
  • Introduction of the Outdoor Leader Award (the first industry award for outdoor leaders in Australia);
  • Completion of the SEQ Regional Trails Strategy (which subsequently enabled the allocation of $8.8 million over five years for the development of three regional trails);
  • Establishment of the annual QORF Awards;
  • Establishment of the National Outdoor Leader Registration Scheme (NOLRS); and
  • Increase in staff from 0.8 FTE Executive Officer to Executive Officer with up to six employees.
  • Significant revamp of the QORF website.”

Hopes for QORF

“That the industry realises the need for organisations such as QORF, understands the work that they do behind the scenes, and the need for QORF to be supported (via membership and involvement) in order to advocate and lobby effectively on behalf of the industry.”

The next 20 years for QORF

“To reach individuals and families involved in outdoor recreation and adventure tourism independently, in addition to the current client base of organisations, clubs and their members.”

Staying Relevant?

“By providing a greater range of products and services to suit the independent outdoor recreation/ adventure tourism participant and having the capacity to market QORF and its services to them.”


QORF’s Motto is Live Life Outdoors. How do you do that?

“All my recreational pursuits are outdoor so any spare time on weekends and holidays is spent doing outdoor activities or adventure travel.”

The Favourites!

Outdoor Gear

“A good head torch – essential for every outdoor activity.”

Outdoor Activity

“First love is bushwalking/trekking but knee issues have forced me more to sea kayaking and cycling in recent years.”

Outdoor Adventure

“Hard to pick just one favourite!

  • Sea kayaking in Antarctica, seeing a lot of wildlife, especially kayaking among a minke whale (getting very close)
  • Walking the Overland Track (Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair) in Tasmania – great variety of scenery and vegetation
  • Seeing turtles hatch while camping on Lady Musgrave island (Queensland) and watching them struggle across the beach to the water
  • Reaching the top of Mt Kilimanjaro (5895m) – a personal challenge because of the altitude
  • 7 day sea kayak in south west Tasmania (Port Davey area) with spectacular scenery, physical challenge, serenity of campsites on beach
  • Sea kayaking and snorkelling in the Whitsundays because of isolation at island campsites, spectacular coral, great sunrises/sunsets.”
Place in Queensland

“The Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park. There is a great variety of bushwalks with varying difficulty and scenery, close to Brisbane. Good accommodation options also – lodge, campground, tent cabins.”

Parting Thought

“There is a career path if you look for it. There are plenty of options where you can use your knowledge and skills directly, or indirectly.”

Kathy Kingsford


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