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What happened to the Birdman rally?

By Roadrage77 - 20 June 2008 43

Can someone tell me what happened to Canberra’s greatest annual event – the BIRDMAN RALLY? Remember all those fools jumping off a 10metre platform at Regatta point? Did someone die in the name of public entertainment or is it merely another casualty of public liability insurance? I can’t help but feel all of the fun is being taken out of life and people are taking themselves way too seriously these days.

I’m not sure when the last one was held but it would have to have been at least 10-15 years ago. I was a kid when I can last remember it happening, but I vaguely remember the even being replayed on late night TVin the 80’s. From memory you got 5K or so if you could travel 50 metres. Maybe I’m imagining it but I think only one guy managed to do this.

 Birdman- are you out there?

What’s Your opinion?

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43 Responses to
What happened to the Birdman rally?
heinous 8:47 am 22 Jun 08

We need more festivals, like they have over seas. So we can appreciate and show respect to our culture, and I don’t mean bought in culture like the multicultural festive. I mean events where can get pissed and sh*t like that. Ya with me?

JC 3:07 am 22 Jun 08

It didn’t last too long after some guy won it one year. Bit sad this and all the other events that made up the Canberra festival have long since gone. What do we have now? SFA.

ant 11:32 pm 21 Jun 08

miz said :

If you like the idea, there was still a cool rope swing at Pine Island last time I was there.

We had one of those at the last resort I worked at. It was a knotted rope at the top of a cliffy bit, and you used it to swing out and avoid a field of rocks that was wrecking the entrance to a nice powder field. Patrol didn’t interfere with it. The average punter wasn’t about to use it…

miz 11:28 pm 21 Jun 08

If you like the idea, there was still a cool rope swing at Pine Island last time I was there. Shhhhh! or the fun police will remove it (like they remove bike jumps, cubbies in the bush, etc etc.

ant 11:18 pm 21 Jun 08

I reckon they could bring it back, start it early-ish in the morning, all done by mid afternoon. I bet a radio station would love to run it. They still pull the crowds in teh US and are a heap of fun.

Vic Bitterman 6:57 pm 21 Jun 08

The birdman rally as part of Melbourne’s Moomba festival was a yearly event for me growing up as a kid…. I never even knew there was one here!

illyria 6:42 pm 21 Jun 08

Manly in Sydney recently held a Birdman Rally.

I miss it too, these days my kids would think it was a hoot!

When I first moved to Canberra in the late 80’s it was in full swing. I think 1990 or 91 may have been the last year I remember going. That was in my young and crazy days when my friends and I were attracted to the beer swilling, boof headed blokes who used to hang out in crowds at the food and wine frolic, get paraletic and then fight each other. Getting older and wiser really is a beautiful thing.

Lets face it, it was out of control after a few hours and the Govt is as likely to bring it back in as Kevin Rudd is to forget about taxing ‘alcopops’.

Cancelling it may have been an early ACT Govt initiative to reduce binge drinking (oh wait, then they started Summernats….)

ant 12:14 pm 21 Jun 08

The ones they still hold in the US are great, very similar in attitude to our old one. There’s some geniuses who build things that actually will glide, and others who make elaborate things designed to glide exactly like a brick, and others who take delight in making utterly pissweak things that in no way resemble anything air-worthy, the whole idea of which is to disintigrate before they even hit the water.

They have similar things at ski resorts in spring, called pond skimming. There’s a giant pond prepared in teh snow, and people try to glide on their skis over it before sinking, usually in fancy dress. There’s also crazy sled races earlier in the season, Colorado used to have a beauty called the Cardboard Derby. Until they changed the location of it, the run was too steep and everyone just about killed themselves at the bottom. Here’s some pictures of the first year at Copper:

Pesty 11:30 am 21 Jun 08

I think they invented the aeroplane! Seriously, sounds like fun, no wonder its not happening anymore. In the UK there are annual processions of “fun’ called carnivals, insurance costs stopped them dead for a few years after some drunken fool had a mis-hap. They are happening again, but not like they used to, again the fun element is gone from the community, probasbly not “cool” or something.

taninaus 7:27 am 21 Jun 08

I think besides the public liability issue, the organisers thought it was a bit passe – as it went when there were a lot of changes being made to the festival (I think in the late 80’s/early 90’s?). it definitely was good for a laugh!

ant 10:40 pm 20 Jun 08

I think the Rally went before the alcoholic frolic went. The latter was a hoot, we’d turn up early while the grass was still dewey and snag a spot in the rhododendron beds, down from Regatta Point. Armed with deck chairs, the weekend papers, and gourmet picnic (and eskys). Then we’d conduct sorties out into the fray to get that chocolate thing from the braidwood restaurant, and whatever else looked good, and bring it back to Camp. The roving female police band was always good for a laugh, as was the extrovert antics of the crowd. Then, when we’d had enough, we’d head home before the silliness got nasty.

p996911turbo 10:09 pm 20 Jun 08

I’d love to see it. What’s the deal with Red Bull Flugtag vs the Birdman stuff?

Deano 10:09 pm 20 Jun 08

I think it disappeared, along with the ‘Alcoholic Frolic’, when it became the Multicultural Festival – obviously not cultured enough.

Holden Caulfield 9:49 pm 20 Jun 08

I don’t think the Birdman Rally was unique to Canberra, was it?

They’re always good for a bit of a laugh though.

ant 9:21 pm 20 Jun 08

I think it was insurance, liability, etc etc. Oddly enough, they still hold these events in the US, almost exactly the same as our one.

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