Have you ever been to Australia? No? Well, neither have I, but I’d love to go one day. I might have gone already if it wasn’t for my girlfriend’s irrational fear of poisonous wildlife… Don’t let my problems stop you, though, from visiting a place that not only (exclusively) inhabits three Hall of Fame animals (Koalas, Wombats and Quokkas) but is also famous for its amazing barbecue whilst basically having summer all year around.
What I recently discovered about the former British penal colony (yes, Australia was originally used as prison by the British Empire) is that a group in Australia’s Northern Territory created a competition by combining two of my favourite hobbies: drinking beer and not throwing trash out. The Darwin Lions’ Beer Can Regatta is an annual event dating back to as early as 1972 and has developed into a festival for can and boat lovers. It’s exactly what the name implies: a regatta with boats compiled of beer cans. And the best part about it is: everyone can participate.
“Thou Shalt Build the Craft of Cans”
Contributing with a small fee of 50 dollars, you’re free to join any aquatic event at the festival – as long as you obey the rules and “The Ten Can-mandments” which include “The craft shall float by cans alone” and “Thou shalt build the craft of cans”. Any rookie beer boat enthusiast might feel a bit overwhelmed at first but even here the Lions Clubs of Darwin who organize the event offers assistance. On their website you can not only look at great boat designs from years past but also get a great guide that helps you build your own craft.
Doing something just for a laugh is generally never a bad idea and would’ve completely sufficed as a purpose for the Darwin Lions’ Beer Can Regatta. However, since the Lions Clubs of Darwin are all for the improvement of their community, they turned the regatta into a charity event benefitting the Northern Territory’s Cancer Council and the Mindil Beach Surf Livesaving Club amongst others.
Darwin Lions’ Clubs Combine Upcycling and Recycling
Charity isn’t the Beer Can Regatta’s only beneficiary – of course every event featuring metal packaging is about recycling as well. In the rule set, the organizers urge participants to pick up their cans after the event for recycling. Thus, they’re creating an environment in which the metal cans are upcycled before being recycled, giving them a purpose beyond just containing delicious beverages.
Using materials beyond their intended purposes and still keeping them in the cycle is sustainability at its best and that is exactly what the Darwin Lions’ Beer Can Regatta is most impressive at.
Would you like to one day enter the contest and float on your self-made beer can boat? What would your boat look like? Tell us in the comment section.