City of Perth Skyworks
|City of Perth Skyworks|
2006 Skyworks from the Applecross foreshore
|Inaugurated||26 January 1985|
|Most recent||26 January 2019|
The City of Perth Skyworks (previously named for other sponsors[a]) 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 involves fireworks launched from multiple barges in the middle of Perth water and, for many years up until 2012, included launches from various building rooftops in Perth CBD. Earlier Skyworks shows have also occasionally seen firing points include fireworks off the narrows bridge (around 2001 and 2002), off moving boats (late 1990s/early 2000s), off jet skis (2012) and fireworks suspended from helicopters (1999, maybe also previous shows), and buildings in the CBD. The fireworks are choreographed to a soundtrack which is played on the events main sponsoring radio station while the fireworks are underway, with a different theme given to the soundtrack every year. Many people travel into the inner city to watch the event, with the main vantage points including Langley Park, South Perth Foreshore, Sir James Mitchell Park & Kings Park (Perth Esplanade also having been the former major vantage point until 2012/13 when it got shifted to Langley Park to allow the commencement of the Elizabeth Quay development). Others are also found watching from the tops of hills and bridges and from suburban streets and neighbourhoods that give views to the city.
The Skyworks started in 1985 in conjunction with 96FM and firework company Syd Howard Fireworks International, 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. A delayed telecast has been broadcast by Channel Seven since approximately 1996 and usually takes place a few hours after the event finishes with a simulcast on the radio. Another telecast replay usually takes place on the following weekend. Many fireworks companies have taken charge in supplying the fireworks, Pyrostar International held supplied many sky shows during the 1990s/early 2000's, 2005 and 2006 saw Foti Fireworks in charge of the fireworks. 2007 to 2009 saw Howard and Sons responsible for the fireworks and Oracle Attractions were responsible for the lasershow. In 2010 Foti Fireworks again took charge of the fireworks and every year from then until 2015, in which Skyworks 2016 again saw the return of Howard and Sons. The City of Perth Skyworks event is Australia's largest fireworks celebration in the country on Australia Day.
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 Channel Seven, but from 2019 the Skyworks will instead be broadcast on Channel Nine for the first time, after Channel Seven had being the only skyworks broadcaster since they started the telecasts in 1996. 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 fuelled violence. Lotterywest had been 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 cancelled 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 behaviour, leading to a reduced crowd of 300,000 people at the foreshore.
At approximately 5pm on 26 January 2017, a Grumman G-73 Mallard seaplane stalled and crashed into the Swan River, a short distance from the Causeway, in front of thousands of spectators. Emergency crews and nearby people on the river rushed to assist, however the pilot Peter Lynch and the passenger on board died. As a result, as a mark of respect for the deceased and their families, to preserve an investigation scene and amid concerns of aviation fuel in close proximity to the fireworks, the City of Perth elected to cancel the 2017 Skyworks.
Other Australia Day fireworks in Perth
In 2007, Fremantle held a smaller community-based 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." The Fremantle Council's annual fireworks show was cancelled in 2017, however that year local business owners paid for their own fireworks display.
- "Noise Abatement (96fm Sky Show) Exemption Order 1986" (PDF). Western Australia Government Gazette. 3 January 1986. p. 15.
- Donna Powell Photography. "Coca-Cola Perth Skyshow 2012". Facebook. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- http://www.perth .wa.gov.au/skyworks/info.html
- "Authorities shrug-off Skyworks fire". Seven News. 27 January 2007. Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- Martin Philip, Debbie Guest and Christiana Jones (27 January 2007). "Barge fires force revellers to evacuate". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- "Australia Day Perth plane crash: Victims remembered as authorities search for answers". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- "Skyworks row explodes". The Sunday Times. 3 January 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2007.
- "Australia Day Perth – 26 January 2007". Enjoy Perth!. 20 January 2007. Archived from the original on 20 February 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2007.