City of Perth Skyworks
The City of Perth Skyworks (formerly the Lotterywest Skyworks) is a fireworks show in Perth, Western Australia. It is held each year on Australia Day (26 January) over Perth Water, the section of the Swan River adjacent to the central business district.
The Skyworks show usually runs for half an hour and has involved fireworks launched from bridges, barges, and buildings in the CBD. The fireworks are choreographed to a soundtrack which is played on the radio while the fireworks are underway. Many people travel into the inner-city to watch the event, with others watching from the tops of hills and bridges.
The Skyworks started in 1985 in conjunction with 96fm, and is now one of the most popular events in Perth. Some people camp out from early morning to get the best view. Good viewing points are South Perth, Kings Park, and the Perth foreshore, while the flat nature of the Swan Coastal Plain allows viewing from elevated suburban locations further away. In 2005 and 2006 onwards, Foti Fireworks were in charge of the fireworks. In 2007, Howard and Sons were responsible for the fireworks and Laser System Europe were responsible for the new laser show.
The City of Perth Skyworks are currently sponsored by the City of Perth, Channel Seven and Mix 94.5. There is usually a delayed telecast of the Skyworks on Seven. The soundtrack is broadcast twice by Mix 94.5, to be synchronised with both the fireworks and the TV broadcast.
Less than a week from the 2010 Skyworks display, Lotterywest pulled out as the naming rights sponsor for the display because of concerns revolving around alcohol fueled violence. Lotterywest was the major sponsor for 15 years.
In recent years some spectators have acted in an undesirable manner, detracting from the enjoyment of others. Reports of unruly and drunken behaviour at the show, of which some have led to fights and scuffles with the police, have become increasingly common. At the 2006 Skyworks the Western Australian Police successfully mounted an operation to minimise such behaviour.
In the late 1990s several small fires also erupted in the Kings Park bushland due to people igniting sparklers at the event. This led to the eventual banning of them.
Police and emergency service officials came close to cancelling the 2007 Skyworks due to extreme heat and strong winds. During the display, fires broke out on three of the fireworks barges. No one was injured, but nearby spectators had to be evacuated due to the thick smoke that blew towards the area. The show's finale was cut short and nearly a quarter of the planned fireworks display was lost due to the fires. The 2012 Skyworks were also nearly canceled due to extreme rain (so powerful, in fact, that a piece of tin seemed to have been stolen from a construction site and used as shelter; it was found in a nearby tree the very next morning). The rain and thunder continued into the Skyworks, which onlookers said added to the experience.
At the 2010 Skyworks alcohol was completely banned to prevent unruly behavior, leading to a reduced crowd of 300,000 people at the foreshore.
Other Australia Day fireworks in Perth
In 2007, Fremantle held a small fireworks show for about 30,000 people as an alternative to Skyworks. In response, Perth Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said "Comparing Fremantle's proposed Australia Day cracker show to Lotterywest Skyworks is like comparing the City of Fremantle to the City of Perth – it's second rate."
- "Lotterywest axes link to violent Skyworks". The West Australian. 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- "Authorities shrug-off Skyworks fire". Seven News. 2007-01-27. Archived from the original on 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Martin Philip, Debbie Guest and Christiana Jones (2007-01-27). "Barge fires force revellers to evacuate". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Skyworks row explodes". The Sunday Times. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
- "Australia Day Perth - 26 January 2007". Enjoy Perth!. 2007-01-20. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2007-04-02.