BALLARAT residents were hailing Australia Day celebrations a resounding success last night as 4000 revellers crowded the Lake Wendouree foreshore for the showcase fireworks event.
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It was the culmination of a huge day across Ballarat and the nation, where residents and new citizens alike celebrated their Australian pride.
Many residents flocked to citizenship ceremonies, swimming pools, backyard barbecues and activities during the day before large crowds went to Lake Wendouree in the afternoon to take up a seat in readiness for the popular 3BA Skyworks Spectacular fireworks display.
Police and emergency services last night praised the crowd, with no major incidents reported.
Police Sergeant Daniel Grainger said most people had left the Lake Wendouree area and had begun to make their way home after the fireworks.
“It is a great thing that we can have so many people in the one location and have no trouble like that,” he said.
Ballarat mayor Josh Morris said he had seen the crowd build at the lake throughout the day, with many residents getting together early in the day to reserve their prime foreshore property for the fireworks spectacular.
“It is a great opportunity to show off the blue ribbon part of Ballarat which is the Botanic Gardens and Lake Wendouree and to get everyone to visit that part of Ballarat and enjoy their Australia Day. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Cr Morris said.
“I think it is good opportunity to get out and have a chat to people.
“I had my kids there at the playground and it was a good chance to come together, to get out there and talk to people and to be a part of the community – it’s fantastic.”
Some of the people who arrived at Lake Wendouree early took the opportunity to have dinner on the foreshore while the sun was still shining.
"We aim to please every year and I think we've done that again"
Dean Sheridan arrived with his family at 3pm to ensure they got the perfect viewing spot.
“The kids were getting bored at home so we just decided to come down – it’s a good day to catch up with family and friends,” he said.
“It is good cheap entertainment for the kids.”
3BA general manager John Fitzgibbon said he was stoked with the final display that lit up the night sky in an array of colours.
“We are ecstatic, each year I say the show was more spectacular than the previous year but this year was just outstanding,” he said.
The display has become a tradition for many Ballarat residents who lined the foreshore.
“It is the culmination of all of the Australia Day activities, it has become an Australia Day tradition to come and see the 3BA Skyworks and it is up to us to keep that tradition going,” he said.
“We aim to please every year and I think we've done that again.”