Dragon boating is a popular international sport, with over 35 countries competing. It is the fastest growing water sport in Australia, both for individuals, and private and corporate teams.

The ancient sport of dragon boat racing dates back to 332 BCE in China. Chinese tradition commemorates the death of Qu Yuan each year at the dragon boat festival, when respect is paid to the dragon, ruler of the water.

Dragon Boating WA is bringing this ancient sport to the Burswood Peninsula for the Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival so you can see some of Western Australia’s top competitors in action.



Qu Yuan was a poet and high-ranking official who was exiled from his state by a corrupt king. When he heard that his court had been destroyed by enemies, he drowned himself out of sorrow.

It is said that villagers went out in the river with boats and drums to try to rescue his body and threw sticky rice dumplings (zongzi) into the water to prevent fish from eating his corpse, but they were unable to find him.

Every year thereafter, the villages returned to the river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, to commemorate his life. Over time, this event developed into a boat race.

This was the beginning of the grand festival called “Duan Wu Jie” often referred to as ‘double fifths’ or simple Dragon Boat Festival.