Wacky Ways Australians Raise Money

Charities and fundraisers have been used for centuries to try to make money and because they’ve been done several times over, people needed to get creative, and none are more creative than the Australians. Beyond their lamington drives, Australians have some of the most unique activities we’ve ever heard of. From dunny races to beer regattas, here are some of the strangest Australian fundraisers. 

1. Cockroach Races 

There’s an old Australian saying that goes “bet on two flies crawling up the wall” and while we have no idea what that means, it might have been the quote that inspired the cockroach racing at the Story Bridge Hotel. In 1982, two guests decided to settle which community had the fastest roaches by making them race. Since then, they’ve hosted Australia Day Cockroach Races which is now an annual fundraiser for youth charities. The street is closed, and mini stadiums are erected so people could be comfortably seated to watch the races. Roaches are purchased and trained in advance and are given funny names on the day of the competition.

2. Wife Carrying Championships

Carrying one’s wife over the threshold shortly after a wedding is a tradition in many parts of the world but Australians took the common custom to another level when they made a competition of it. In the town of Singleton, ironically, husbands carry their wives on their backs through a challenging obstacle course to find their champion. The winners are then given the opportunity to go to Finland to compete in the World Wife Carrying Championship. But they’re not the only ones; many countries began to host their own competitions. 

3. Tuna Tossing 

Every January in a southern Australian town called Port Lincoln, people gather to watch and take part in Tunarama. Although people gather for the festivities, the tuna toss is by far the most popular. In 1979, when attendance was dwindling, the committee decided to add the event to raise excitement. It was inspired by the way fishermen threw tuna from their boats to the trucks. For over 40 years, men and women use the Olympic hammer throw to twirl then toss tuna across a field. The current record stands at 122.15 feet. 

4. Melbourne Birdman Rally

Despite having accomplished flight through airplanes, space crafts and the likes, humans have continued trying to live their Icarus fantasy. One such activity that allows Australians to “fly” is the annual Birdman Rally in Melbourne. People who want to compete spend months designing flying contraptions which they launch from a platform into the Yarra River. The winners are based on how far the apparatus flies and how much money the contestant raises for their charity before the rally begins. 

5. Narooma Duck Races

Perhaps the strangest item on this list is the Narooma duck race held by the Narooma Rotary Club. Every year on Australia Day, the organization releases 1000 numbered (plastic) ducks in an estuary with the goal of reaching downstream. Locals and other participants choose a ticket and urge their numbered duck down the finish line. The first one to reach the wharf is the winner. The person with the corresponding number wins $1,000 and money is also given to a local charity. The ducks who go off course are rescued and removed from the course.


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