The Upside Down Under
Annual Yabbie Racing


'Yabbie' is the term for freshwater crustaceans found in dams in many places around Australia.

Many young kids grew up catching them with a piece of string and some meat. In a few places they even race them.  Read on to find out more...

My favourite way of catchin' them when I was a kid was to shoot a galah with my trusy 22, tie a bit of string around it's feet, chuck it in the dam, wait a little while and then quickly jerk the galah back out of the water.  Most times quite a few yabbies would come hurtling through the air with it.  Too easy!  Not only that, you could often eat the galah too!

Yabbie Racing
Many young Australian kids grew up catching Yabbies with a piece of string and some meat. In a few places they even race them, such as in the small Victorian town of Talbot, where they hold an annual Yabbie Festival.

Yabbie Racing

Many places in Australia host an annual Yabbie racing event - such as in the small Victorian town of Talbot.

This festival, held on the main streets of Talbot, is a brilliant day out with something for all the family. In addition to a surprisingly wide selection of yabbie edible delicacies and treats, there are also other ways the yabbies will entertain the masses, with the live yabbie catching and racing action, fun for everyone.

Yabbie races are also held in Parkes, Moonie, Kajabbi and Windorah in Queensland.

The crustaceans can be raced on different types of tracks.  Some are raced down a board separated in their own little numbered lanes.

Yabbie Racing at Moonah
The annual yabbie races at Moonah, Queensland, use the separated lane method.

Others are placed in the centre of a circle, covered with a bucket and released when the starting whistle blows.  The yabbies then shoot off (or amble off anyway) and the first to reach the edge of the circle is the winner.

Yabbie Racing at Parkes
At Parkes, NSW they utilise the circular yabbie racing track.

For the Windorah's 'International Yabby races', the event consists of four races of 10 yabbies slowly ambling towards a green line spray painted onto gravel.

Yabbie racing at Windorah

So Just How Popular Are Yabbies?

Unlike horse racing, you can actually eat the crustaceous competitors!

THE great Aussie obsession for all things seafood is showing no signs of abating — and this summer we will see a different shrimp on the barbie.

The freshwater yabby, found in dams, ponds and lakes across rural NSW, is becoming a popular seafood choice for city dwellers as well.

The creamy, earthy taste of the freshwater crustaceans — less salty than prawns — is ­attracting more and more fans, according to experts such as Narrabri farmer Rick Cunningham.

Yabbies are Yummy
Freshwater yabby farmer Rick Cunningham can't keep up with the demand for the Sydney restaurant market. Picture: Peter Lorimer

Yabbies are so popular that Mr Cunningham has built 120 more ponds on his property in the state’s northwest.

When he started his fish farm five years ago, he grew yabbies for bait but has now turned his sights to the lucrative food market, where yabbies sell for as much as $50kg.

“We mostly grew them to about an inch for the bait market but there is more money in food so we grow them out to four inches,” Mr Cunningham said.

“The prices are going through the roof because there is so much demand for the product and not a lot about. Everything I grow is sold months in ­advance.’’

Now, that's what I call popular.


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