18 June 2021

Dragon boating to get a permanent home at Grevillea Park

| Lottie Twyford
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man holding rice balls

The recently-held Dragon Boat Festival highlighted the links the sport creates between the community. Photo: Chu Chen.

Work is set to begin in coming weeks on the new home of dragon boating in the ACT at Grevillea Park.

The contract for the design of the facility was last week awarded to Cox Architects, the brains behind high profile projects such as Casey Market Town, Capital Airport Group’s new office and the Raiders Centre of Excellence.

Once complete, the facility will include new boat storage, training room, event administration and change rooms.

Minister for Education and Youth Affairs Yvette Berry said the new facilities would allow Dragon Boat ACT to locate all its activities at East Basin, further activating this part of Lake Burley Griffin.

“It is great to be supporting dragon boating in the ACT, which is one of Canberra’s largest water-based sports and an increasingly popular activity for women and people of all ages,” she said.

dragon boat on lake

The still waters of Lake Burley Griffin provide the perfect Dragon Boating stage. Photo: Chu Chen.

Boasting more than 600 members, Dragon Boat ACT president John Corcoran said the sport was experiencing rapid growth, even throughout COVID-19.

“It’s accessible to all people no matter what their age or sporting ability might be. So whether you want to join to be really competitive or just to make friends and be social, there’s something for you,” he said.

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Mr Corcoran said everyone at Dragon Boat ACT was delighted at the news and looking forward to their new facilities.

“It’s literally been decades since we have been in temporary accommodation which we recently had to move as well from Lotus Bay to Grevillea Park.

“Now, hopefully within a couple of years we will be able to move into our new permanent facility which will make dragon boating even more fun and more interesting for its members,” he said.

He also hopes it will allow the club to better attract new members and retain existing ones as the sport continues to grow.

Once the facility is built, Dragon Boat ACT will rent it from the ACT Government.

The ACT Government committed $400 000 towards the design of the facility in the 2020-21 Budget earlier this year, forming part of the Government’s $1.7 million election commitment for a new home for dragon boating.

A recently-held Dragon Boat Festival highlighted the links between Canberra’s multicultural community and the sport.

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The Dragon Boat Festival is held annually in China and continues to hold cultural significance for the Chinese community in Canberra. Originally, it commemorated the legend of enemy of the state and poet Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the river to escape capture by the king.

Now, it’s more about getting together with friends and family.

The shores of Lake Burley Griffin came alive on Sunday 13 June with a mixture of racing demonstrations from dragon boating teams and cultural stalls, dances and food.

Several recognisable faces were in attendance including ACT Greens Leader and Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury who delivered a speech on the day.

CMS FM91.1 Chinese Voice Program Coordinator Wenjin Zhou said the day had been even better than they had anticipated.

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