Nothing more Aussie than dunnies in January
WHAT'S more Australian than eating lamb and enjoying a cold beer while listening to the Triple J Hottest 100 on January 26?
Going to the Aussie World's Australia Day Dunny Races. At least that's what chief operating officer Aaron Flanagan thinks.
Yesterday capped off the 24th true-blue race between Sunshine Coast sports clubs with thousands of locals and tourists flocking to the amusement park despite the rain.
"We own the Aussie brand in the amusement park sector so there's no reason why we can't make it an iconic Australia Day event," Mr Flanagan said.
"No one should do it better than us.
"We have the perfect atmosphere among the gum trees and the kookaburras.
"Given we got poured on from 8-10am and have had this turn-out gives me a lot of confidence."
The race saw a return to its 1992 roots with the heats and finals being moved from The Pub car park to the original track on the Aussie World back oval.
But after just 11 months in the job, Mr Flanagan has plenty more changes in store for the Coast's most patriotic race.
"I used to run a similar event in the Wimmera region in Victoria where we had 30-40 relay teams enter every year," he said.
"We want to escalate and modernise the day so we're getting 50-60 teams a year.
"We'll have live music and we'll give sporting clubs that enter discounted tickets to sell, so they can raise $25-50k for their clubs.
"We want to have a real community focus."
Only eight teams took part in this year's race, but the knockout-style tournament was full of life despite damp conditions.
The Sunshine Coast Falcons exacted revenge on last year's winner, Sunshine Coast Fire, by knocking that team out in the semi-final before taking out the grand final against Caloundra Panthers AFL.
It was the Falcons' fourth dunny race title, but the highlight of the day was when the Fire's international summer signing shouted "I am Japanese", in their first heat victory.
There were plenty of other activities on the day with tug-o'-war and mullet throwing for the kids.