This souvenir program was produced for the Australian and International Dragon Boat Championship, held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, Penrith.
Australia’s formal introduction to the sport of dragon boat racing came in 1980 when a surf lifesaving team from Western Australia was invited to compete in the Penang Dragon Boat Festival, in Malaysia. The following year Western Australia and New South Wales sent teams to the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival for what was then considered the unofficial world championships. In 1984 Sydney held the inaugural Sydney Dragon Boat Festival at Farm Cove where 31 clubs of men’s, women’s and mixed teams competed at Farm Cove, Circular Quay. The Western Australia Dragon Boat Association formed in 1985.
Dragon boat clubs have since formed around the country and in 1991 Australia was a founding member of the International Dragon Boat Federation, and an Australian team took part in the First World Championships held in Yue Yang, China in 1995.
In 2003 the sport was officially recognised by the Australian Sports Commission and Australian paddlers were granted permission to wear the Australian Coat of Arms on their uniforms – official recognition for a sport that had come a long way comparatively quickly in Australia.