Henley-on-Mersey is the Latrobe Municipality's focus at Bell's Parade, Latrobe for Australia Day on January 26 from 9.00am until 4.00pm. This event is coordinated by the Henley-on-Mersey Management Committee, a collaboration by the Rotary Club of Latrobe, Lions Club of Latrobe and Latrobe Council.
Ferret racing, a highlight at Henley-on-Mersey, creates great excitement and anticipation amongst the audience but is also steeped in tradition when ferrets were used to farm rabbits. The practice was that a ferret would be placed down a hole and with due fervour seek out the rabbits which would try and escape through another outlet only to be caught by a net over that exit. Legend has it that many farming properties in the district were originally purchased thanks to the efforts of ferrets and the resulting rabbit pelt income.
At Henley-on-Mersey, the ferrets are placed in a specially constructed course in which the ferret has the ability to see daylight in sections, manoeuvre over different surfaces and even turn around, with the first ferret to fully emerge from the course at the other end being the winner. There are quite some anxious moments when the ferret starts to emerge, the crowd roars with delight and the ferret promptly retreats back into the course.
The Henley-on-Mersey Management Committee continues to broaden the aquatic opportunities that are afforded by the staging of this event at Bells Parade including the Betta Milk Race. These precariously constructed crafts made out of Betta Milk containers place a challenge on competitors with the added race creating much excitement.
The conduct of the highly successful Bell's Parade Triathlon, a heat of the Tasmanian Triathlon challenge will also be held. Further information is available online from Cradle Coast Triathlon.