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Be a lucky duck
Crowds at the Great South Australian Duck Race - a Free Event (Image Supplied)
Our feathered friend the duck holds a great appeal for mankind, even for motorists who risk their lives to avoid a line of ducklings crossing the road. Families with young children also love to feed the ducks at ponds, lakes and wetlands around SA.
When I first heard about the Great South Australian Duck Race, I wondered how organisers could possibly persuade the ducks to race in the same direction, but I soon found that I had made an assinine assumption. Rather than risk losing any of the competitors to a red curry, the organisers of the Great South Australian Duck Race have wisely chosen to use yellow rubber ducks for the competition. This also means that the Strathalbyn Soldiers Memorial Gardens lawns are much cleaner and safer to sit on.
The Great Duck Race is an annual free event organised by the Strathalbyn Rotary Club. Strathalbyn is an attractive historic town in the Adelaide Hills, with many antique stores, a vibrant monthly market, and some great food available from local bakeries. In the centre of the town the Soldiers Memorial Gardens are a picturesque place to picnic on the banks of the River Angas.
Moby Duck Guards the Wind Machine in the Strathalbyn Soldiers Memorial Gardens (Image Supplied)
Every November the peaceful river banks are full of quackery, with 2500 numbered rubber ducks ready to fly down the river - aided by a large wind machine. A giant Moby Duck will be keeping watch over her brood of racers, while the town's businesses will be decorated with ducks too. If you are a sufferer of anatidaephobia, it's not a good day to be in town! (Anatidaephobia: an irrational fear that somewhere in the world, there is a duck looking at you in a wicked way).
Visitors to the free Great Duck Race will be given a chance to buy tickets, and if your number matches that of the winning duck, you will win a valuable prize. First prize is $1000.00, second prize is $300.00 and third prize is $200.00, so it will be quite a feather in your cap to win. No need to be down if you lose though - it's all water off a duck's back.
Market Stalls Will Sell Food at the Great Duck Race (Image Supplied)
While ducks are the star attraction of the day there will be many other fun things to do at Great South Australian Duck Race. Market stalls will tempt you with fresh local food, and there's plenty of fun for kids including face painting, playing with animals, and rides.
If you're mechanically inclined you can even enter a "Formula D" race for motorised ducks (entrance fee $50) with the chance to win a great prize.
Take a SteamRanger Steam Train Ride Through the Adelaide Hills to Strathalbyn
Getting to Strathalbyn in the Adelaide Hills is a scenic drive by car, but SteamRanger has come to the rescue with a fun alternative. Departing Mt Barker at 10am, a SteamRanger steam train will climb over the summit of Philcox Hill before meandering downhill into the colourful centre of Strathalbyn. From Strathalbyn railway station, it's just a short walk to the Strathalbyn Soldiers Memorial Gardens and all the fun things to do for the day.
Return to the Strathalbyn railway station for a mid-afternoon departure for Mt Barker. Listen to the steam locomotive working hard as it follows the long winding trip, arriving back at Mount Barker about 3.30pm. Check the SteamRanger website for more details.
See the Adelaide Hills in a Heritage Railway Carriage
At the time of writing the program of things to do at the Great South Australian Duck Race had not been posted on the website, but it should be up soon. You can also check for news on the Strathalbyn Rotary Club Facebook page.
Hello Dave,Liked your article.Went last year,but got there just B4 the race and all the tickets had been sold,After the race and some food by the river,my grand daughter had her face painted and then we went to the wonderful swimming pool next to the gardens.Also took a look at the amazing motor cycle sculpture in High St. close to the Town Hall.The train trip goes through some nice scenery and is not long..With a bit of luck you will see some kangas close to the track.