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Docklands turns it on

01 May 2012

Docklands turns it on Image

Docklands was at its sparkling best in early April for the Australian Dragon Boat Championships.

Having experienced what has been claimed to be our best weather in 50 years, the 2600 athletes left Docklands with an overly-exaggerated favourable impression of life on Melbourne’s waterfront.

A carnival atmosphere permeated the suburb for the six days of competition from Saturday, March 31 until Thursday, April 5.  Competitors were easy to spot, with most carrying their trusty paddles on their backs as they disembarked from trams or emerged from locally rented accommodation.

Organiser David Nairn attributed the fine weather to the extra effort that Buddhist monks put into the opening ceremony.

“They went over and above what was expected from them during their blessing ceremony,” he joked.

Mr Nairn said it would not be Victoria’s turn to again host the championships for another six years so it was impossible to say if they would return to Docklands.

“If it was an annual event, no doubt there would be a lot of support for returning to Docklands,” he said.

Sadly, the event was marred by tragedy on the first day with the death of South Australian competitor Peter Bristow.  As a mark of respect, interstate racing was cancelled and it is understood that in future championships the “state day’ trophy will be named in his honour.

There was also drama with a capsized boat on day three of the competition and at least one team lost its drummer overboard.

One negative aspect of the carnival was the deliberate damage to six Norfolk Island Pines during the erection of marquees.

Mr Nairn said he was disappointed with Harts Party Hire, the events company responsible for the damage, as it had performed very well in every other aspect.

Places Victoria said there was no suggestion that anyone would be prosecuted over the damage to the Norfolk Island Pines.

Mr Nairn said the derelict state of the raised wharves on Harbour Esplanade needed to be addressed if Docklands was to seriously compete for similar events.

But he said the feedback from competitors was excellent and Docklands would be fondly remembered in the minds of the nation’s dragon boating community.

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Comments

  • Rose M at 3:50pm on 02/05/12

    One of the most stunning places to have this event, despite the tragedy. More publicity, more facilities and hopefully we will see such events more often. Good on you, Docklanders (and weather gods).

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