top of page

It's Beer Can Regatta time again! The first official regatta was held back in June 1974, the brainchild of a couple of visionary locals, Lutz Frankenfeld and Paul Rice-Chapman. They aimed to create some sort of 'water festival' that would be popular with both the locals and tourists. When more than 20,000 people showed up to the first regatta (more than half Darwin's population at the time) they knew they'd struck a winner. But success came at a cost, as Lutz had almost been killed the year before when he was hit by one of his creations during the research and development phase. This rare image is one of a set of photos recently donated to the Northern Territory Library by Lutz, along with some mementos from the raft that he sailed to Singapore in 1977, named the Can-Tiki. Whatever you think about the seaworthiness of Lutz's boats, you have to admit he has a can-do attitude.

Published: 9 July 2017

Picture: Lutz Frankenfeld Collection, Northern Territory Library


Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

bottom of page