NRG's Great Raft Race was great fun for spectators and rafters.
NRG's Great Raft Race was great fun for spectators and rafters.

Gladstone Harbour Festival a hit with numbers strong

THIS year's Gladstone Harbour Festival has been hailed a success by events coordinator Abi Galbraith.

The most popular events were Saturday night's INXS concert and the nightly fireworks, Ms Galbraith said on Sunday afternoon.

"I don't think the numbers dropped in with the shorter festival timeframe," she said.

"INXS and the fireworks pulled huge crowd numbers because of their family-friendly appeal."

She said some of the newer attractions trialed this year were also well worthwhile.

"The Jetpack demonstrations were a bit of an unknown but were great and are keen to come back again," she said.

The Dolphin Sea Scouts were excited before the race...
The Dolphin Sea Scouts were excited before the race...

And although the number of floats for the parade was down on last year, Ms Galbraith said the committee would come up with new ideas to keep the festival going strong in 2016.

Eight rafts participated in this year's Gladstone Harbour Festival NRG Great Raft Race, which is always a crowd favourite.

...but the scouts’ strategy fell apart on water.
...but the scouts’ strategy fell apart on water.

Boyne Smelters' Vikings took out the winning title, combining their man power with a carefully engineered vessel.

BSL captain Shane Lougoon said they'd slapped their raft together in just a week and were surprised with the win.

"Everyone pulled their weight and our strokes were like the rhythm of a drum."

Mr Lougoon said the men had an unusual method of training in the lead up to the race.

"We didn't change our diets or train any harder, just had a high rep of schooner lifts and the aluminium from the company that powered us up.

"It was all about teamwork and everyone pulled their weight."

EVO Portables attacked with hoses and flour.
EVO Portables attacked with hoses and flour.

The Vikings theme was an idea one of the employees came up with and it was their dominant nature that had them push ahead amidst the sea of amateurs.

"We shot 'em sweet.

"We'll finish the day with an ale and be back next year to defend the title."

Hundreds of locals got in early and lined the bridge, East Shores and Auckland Point look-out to watch the team's battle against flour bombs, fire hydrants, water pistols and each other.

The Sea Scouts raft unfortunately didn't make it back in one piece but a few of The Observer's crew helped tow their raft to shore where everyone was in high spirits.

Sea Scout raft entrant Hayden Albeck said although they didn't win, he had good fun. "We started okay but then the (inflatable) Dolphins fell out and we sunk," he said. "It was funny though, I think mum wanted to go in it too."

NRG pelted the Observer raft with flour bombs early in the race.


  • Pride of the NRG: WALZ
  • 2nd Best Creative Raft: Boyne Smelters Ltd
  • 3rd Best Creative Raft: Evo Portables
  • Best Backyard (privateer) Raft: Clinton State School
  • Best Dressed Team: Clinton State School
  • Most Entertaining Team: NRG
  • Best Juvenile Entry: Dolphin Sea Scouts
  • Endurance Award: The Observer
  • Titanic Award: Dolphin Sea Scouts
  • Perpetual Trophy (overall best): WALZ
  • Line Honours: Boyne Smelters Ltd
  • Media Trophy: The Observer