Queensland

Australia Day: Eskies and cockroaches run wild

The dreary weather didn't hold Brisbane back, with pimped-up Eskies and cockroach races topping the list of Brisbane's strangest Australia Day activities.

While most were throwing a snag on the barbie or playing a game of backyard cricket, those at the Normanby Hotel at Red Hill were revving their Esky engines.

Team pit lanes, grid girls, track officials and Esky pit stops were set out in the hotel's carpark for the pimped-up Eskies; modified with handles, wheels and 1000 watt batteries.

With $5000 in cash prizes to be won, eager racers lined up to test out their Daytona skills on the humble portable coolers.

A Chiko Roll-eating competition was also held to celebrate its 65th anniversary this year.

Across the river at the Story Bridge Hotel, 40 cockroaches were placed in the middle of a green and yellow mat and left to scurry away, with the first one to cross the outer ring of the mat deemed the winner.

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Cockroach race starter Brett Maxwell said while there were people on the outskirts of the mat to catch any stray cockroaches, some did manage to get away.

"We collect as many as we can (after the race) but there are sometimes a few escapees," Mr Maxwell said.

Mr Maxwell said each race had a new set of "fresh" cockroaches, which had been shipped up from Melbourne.

"They come from the RMIT in Melbourne, they are used in research then they come up here," he said.

Tayler Stacks, 27, entered into the cockroach races to show her American friends how some tend to celebrate Australia Day.

"This is my second Australia Day, I live in Kangaroo Point, I brought everybody so we could enjoy the cockroach races. I thought it was ultimate Australia Day," Ms Stacks said.

Tim Murray, 55, was holding a bundle of goodies and wearing a medal which he'd won in the third cockroach race of the day.

"It was really good at the time, we have been celebrating ever since, it has been great," he said.

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