June, where did you go? Hello July and hello Territory Day. Territory Day is a celebration of becoming a Self-Governed Territory on the 1st July in 1978. As part of this celebration people can let off their own fireworks.
Anyone who has been in the NT on Territory Day will understand what I am talking about… THIS PLACE IS CRAZY!!!! OMG Darwin was out of control on Territory Day and it certainly was an interesting experience indeed.
Angry and Kat asked if we wanted to join them and a group of their friends to have a BBQ and watch the fireworks, as well as let off some of their own fireworks. We thought this sounded great and picked them up mid afternoon to go and set up our spot. Angry had been there earlier to leave his car and a friends car there to claim our spot, as things fill up pretty quickly as the evening approaches. We went to Cullen Bay which was on top of a cliff overlooking Mindil Beach and the Casino. There is a show put on with live music down on Mindil Beach and then some serious fireworks are let off in the bay. People can start letting off their own fireworks between 6pm and 11pm.
The afternoon started well and we chatted and nibbled and had a few drinks. It was a beautiful spot and a great group of people. It all looked so civil initially.
The large boat in the photo below was carrying the fireworks to be set off later in the evening.
There was a large flat carpark area behind us where people were going to let off firweworks, we didn’t quite make it to 6pm and people started setting off the odd one or two. It wasn’t even dark but they were just too excited to wait. It had not been dark long before one of the fireworks tipped over and shot off into the long grass near where we were sitting. Quite a few people ran over and started working together to put it out and they did manage to get it under control.
This continued on into the night, but as people were drinking and more people setting off fireworks, things quickly got out of hand. At one point Col, another lady and her young niece and myself needed to go to the toilet and one of the people we were there with had an apartment across the road that we could use. So we started the walk to the apartment. It was terrifying!!! We likened it to navigating through a war torn country. There were fireworks going off in every direction and you had to run for cover every 100 metres or so. We made it back safely but it was a scary experience.
Later in the evening another firework shot under the car and landed again in the long grass nearby. There was a Ute parked in front of the fence with people sitting in the back (not part of our crew). The flames were almost engulfing the car and the driver could not get in the drivers side due to the flames, so ran to the passenger side and climbed across to move the car. There were people in the back at the time and it was quite scary as they could have been seriously injured. This one could not be put out by the mob, so the Fire Services were called. I felt so sorry for any Emergency Services People working that night, they would have earned their money. Dealing with intoxicated people lighting fires left, right and centre. Even as the Firetruck was trying to pull in to get to the fire, people were still setting off their fireworks in front of it. There was an ABC crew there filming the carnage. The Firies managed to put this one out and headed off shortly after to address the next crises.
It wasn’t too long before the next fire started. As I mentioned earlier we were on a cliff overlooking the bay. A large group of people jumped in to try and get the fire out. Col was yelling out “Don’t Fall off the Cliff” when suddenly…. someone did. They disappeared out of sight and the group fell silent and gasped. Seconds passed and then all of a sudden he popped up again as he had only fallen a few feet and managed to climb back up!!! So everyone let out a cheer and continued to put the fire out. This place is seriously crazy.
We got a bit of video footage that might give you some idea of what it was like, if the photos have not already. We had to run through this when we tried to get to the toilet. Total mayhem.
The Fireworks put on over the bay were beautiful, but I think I had seen enough by then to really appreciate it. The Territory Day Fireworks show put the Adelaide SkyShow to shame.
There is talk that it may have been the last Territory Day and I understand why, but I get the feeling that Territorians would go out and celebrate and let off their fireworks with or without permission. I am glad we were here and got to experience it, but don’t think I will be rushing out to go to another one, I must admit. We had to sit in gridlocked traffic for over an hour to get to home and the fireworks got more and more out of control as the night went on. I was acutely aware that we could not move the car if a fire broke out near us while stuck in the traffic. We passed some significant fires on our short drive home. Again a shout out to all the Emergency Services People who had to work that evening, I do feel for you all!!!!