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The Boat at the Bottom of the Garden Posted on: 04 April 2019

Dragons Abreast Melbourne and Bendigo and the wonderful Otis Foundation have joined forces to enable the “Judy Costello” boat to rest beside the tranquil lake at Bramare in Mandurang.

The “Judy Costello” is a heritage dragon boat and holds a very special place in the hearts of many Victorian breast cancer survivors and their families.

A team of breast cancer survivors was established in Victoria in the summer of 2001/2 to train and participate in the 2002 Melbourne International Dragon Boat Festival, including two Bendigo women and their supporters. It all started with two teams called “Hope” and “Inspiration”, which evolved into Dragons Abreast Victoria, eventually becoming Dragons Abreast Melbourne. 

In 2003 the participation was special, paddling a new boat dedicated to the memory of Judy Costello, a first season paddler/drummer who died from advanced breast cancer. The 12 metre wooden boat was built in Melbourne for the team by Brian Atkins “The Wooden Boatman” with the support of donations from Judy’s family and friends and the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). The “Judy Costello” has been blessed by Buddhist monks and painted with her name and group logos.

Since then she has been paddled with love, pride and gratitude by the Dragons Abreast women in Melbourne. For many years, the annual Judy Costello memorial paddle to Herring Island was an event where survivors, families and friends also paddled as part of her crew.

The Otis Foundation, provides retreat accommodation at no cost to anyone dealing with the challenges of breast cancer. We currently provide properties in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory. 

Each stay provides our guest with time out to relax, reconnect and regroup. Friends, family and partners are also welcome.

The “Judy Costello” rests in Mandurang, where people staying at the Otis’ St. Hannah’s and St. Jude’s retreats can see her beside the lake.