Wave of yellow to hit the harbour on Australia Day

SURF lifesaving club volunteers joke that local businessman Tony McGrath is the surrogate father to 10,000 yellow babies.

His Carrington business, McGrath Newcastle, houses the plastic ducks used in the Ducks 4 Dollars fund-raiser - the major fund-raiser for the 13 Hunter Surf Lifesaving clubs and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Last week surf lifesaving volunteers were preparing to unload and clean off the thousands of ducks to be raced in Newcastle Harbour on Australia Day.

The lifesaving clubs, along with the Westpac bank branches, are selling the ducks for $5, with the winners of the 200-metre race taking home $1500 in cash prizes.

Hunter Surf Life Saving chief executive Rhonda Scruton said the surf lifesaving clubs' fund-raising pressures were not well known, and beach safety was costly.

"Everyone thinks we are government-funded," she said.

"But chook raffles and Ducks 4 Dollars are our main income."

■ Ducks 4 Dollars will be held outside the Queen's Wharf Brewery on Australia Day, Sunday, January 26, from 10.30am.

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