Nationals bid up and away

A hot air balloon in the Avon Valley.
A hot air balloon in the Avon Valley.

WA has not hosted the championships since 1984, with the most recent Nationals held at Mildura and Benalla, in Victoria, and Canowindra, in New South Wales.

If Northam is successful in its bid, the Shire of Northam will provide $15,000 to fund accommodation and transport for the event officials.

Shire of Northam President Steven Pollard said the Avon Valley would benefit from hosting the national competition.

‘The Avon Valley is well known for its air sports. The whole aviation aspect is well suited to the airflow here because it is relatively flat,’ Mr Pollard said.

Gren Putland, Michael Clements and Donna Tasker comprise a joint committee from the Northam Aero Club and the WA Balloon and Airship Club, which hopes to stage the titles.

Mr Putland said the championships could generate significant tourism and interest in the Avon Valley.

The event was expected to attract more than 1000 people to the valley, he said.

‘We want to promote ballooning and aviation in the Avon Valley and showcase the region,’ Mr Putland said.

‘Competition (to host the Nationals) has been very fierce in the past few years.

‘The Australian Ballooning Federation will consider applications at the end of June this year.’

The first National Hot Air Ballooning Championships was run in the ACT, in 1978.

Northam has hosted two championships ” one in 1981 and another in 1984.

The annual event is held over 10 days and involves up to 30 competitors.