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Dragons Abreast pink t-shirt

Date: c 1990
710 x 470 mm, 0.57 lb. (0.26 kg)
Medium: elastane (spandex or Lycra)
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Cynthia Kuiper
Object Name: T-shirt
Object No: 00039741

User Terms

    This fuchsia pink t-shirt is the uniform for Dragon's Abreast paddlers around Australia. The logo and colour are potent symbols of the movement's aims to raise awareness that women can lead active lives after breast cancer. This t-shirt was worn by competitors in the Dragons Abreast team in the late 1990s.
    SignificanceThis Dragons Abreast t-shirt is significant because it reveals Australia's adoption of dragon boat racing as a therapeutic exercise for breast cancer survivors.
    HistoryThe Dragon's Abreast program was established in Canada in 1996 and successfully challenged conventional medical opinion that vigorous upper body exercise should be discouraged in breast cancer survivors. Many doctors felt it would encourage swelling in the arms. The Dragons Abreast program grew quickly in Australia and the pink rash vest became a strong symbol of its goals and aims. Today pink rash vests are no longer worn for all Dragons Abreast club teams. They are still worn by competitors in the smaller clubs but the larger ones, such as Sydney, Newcastle and Missabittatitti in Brisbane have their own uniforms. The fabric proved sweaty and uncomfortable in hot weather.

    Dragon boat racing is an international competition, promoted outside China as a medium for cultural exchange in the 1980s. Its increasing popularity in Australia is mirrored around the world. The combination of an ancient Chinese festival with Australian rowing and surf life saving skills helped establishe dragon boat racing round Australia, along with participation in international events. It has become the fastest growing team sport in Australia.

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