Every March from 1985 to 1992 thousands flocked to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to witness one of the more spectacular events on the Canberra Festival prog...ram, the Capital 7 Birdman Rally. Canberra’s first Birdman Rally was held on Sunday 17 March 1985 and attracted 26 competitors. Prize money of $10,000 was on offer for the first entrant to fly 50 metres.
By 1987 the number of entrants had reached 39. On a beautiful, sunny autumn day the estimated 100,000-plus spectators cheered on the brave, innovative or just plain mad birdmen and birdwomen leaping off the 10m-high platform in the hope of flying 50 metres and collecting the $10,000. Whether gliding gracefully or nose-diving straight into the water, contestants were assisted back to shore by members of the ACT Water Police, who used the occasion as a training exercise for their divers.
Photo 8192 from the Office of the Surveyor General collection.