THERE are differing opinions as to how the billycart got its name.
Some say it is because they were originally drawn by a billy goat, others feel their name arose from the fact that kerosene tins or ‘billys’ were used as seats in billycarts.
But whatever their origin, no one can dispute that billycarts are still going strong today, 130 years after the first Australian billycart was whacked together.
Supporting evidence of the billycart’s survival was the 2013 Queensland Titles Billy Cart Race held at Malanda over the weekend of September 21-22.
With $1500 in prize money and $500 worth of trophies and medallions up for grabs, this year’s hugely popular event was organised by the Malanda Lions Club for the fifth year in a row.
Most billycarts raced over the weekend were made out of recycled materials and took between one week and six months of hobby time to construct.
It was very much a family concern for some like first-time competitors and father–daughter team Darryl and Sophie Seymour.
Their billycart took two months to build and was made from a baby cot, baby seat and 30 kg dumbbell weights that they found at the dump.
“There’s some good physics to it - the bearings, the size of the wheels all come into it,” Darryl said.
But, physics was far from the conversation when Winner of the Celebrity and Media Cup Shane Knuth revealed all his secrets.
“I’m greatly honoured to win the Billy Cart Celebrity Cup and would like to thank all the bakeries throughout the Tablelands for feeding me up on curry pies that gave me the edge,” Mr Knuth said.
Co-Chair of the Race Committee Evelyne Lewiston said the highlight of the day was watching so many “littlies” having a go.
“Two little boys ran all the way home to get long trousers and a long sleeved shirt so they could have a practice run and ended up competing,” Ms Lewiston said.
“Another lady also had a practice run and ended up buying a billy cart off one of the competitors on the day!” she said.
Malanda Lions would like to sincerely thank all sponsors for their valuable contributions which made this event possible.
Proceeds from the race will go to the Malanda Lions’ construction project - four independent living units for young people with a disability.