Several hundred Canberrans have signed an e-petition calling on the ACT Government to reinstate the popular Birdman Rally on Lake Burley Griffin.
Last held in 1992, the rally was a crazy event in which Canberrans (and entrants from elsewhere) attempted to fly for at least 50 metres from a 10m scaffolding tower over the lake in contraptions of their own making as part of the annual Canberra Festival celebrations.
Rod Armstrong has set up a petition on Change.org entitled Birdman Rally Canberra – Bring it back!!!
At last count he’d attracted nearly 400 signatures towards his goal of 500. Mr Armstrong plans to present the petition to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Opposition Leader Alistair Coe.
“Fellow Canberrans, its time me to bring some fun and life back to our Lake Burley Griffin,” he writes on the petition page.
“Remember the days of going down to the lake to watch the Birdman Rally with family and friends? We should get it up and going again. It would be a perfect event for Canberrans and visitors of all ages (Maybe on Canberra Day or Australia Day). Even if the Government won’t allow it we should still make our own Birdman Rally at Lake Ginninderra for old times’ sake, BYO barbie and drinks. Get Ready to pack the esky :)”
The Birdman Rally ran from 1985 till 1992. Entrants competed for $10,000 to $20,000 in prize money. According to a National Film and Sound Archives post on the history of the event, one problem was that entrants would indulge in a few drinks at the Food & Wine Frolic to boost their confidence ahead of their attempted flight from the 10m tower.
Eventually the organising sponsor, Capital 7 television, pulled the pin, citing prohibitive public liability and prize insurance costs.
Check out video of the rally here.