A HUGE crowd lined Lake Wendouree on Saturday for Ballarat's Australia Day celebrations.
Coordinator Craig Fletcher yesterday described the day as one of the city's most successful Australia Day celebrations.
The size of the crowd was impossible to pick, but when the fireworks display ended shortly before 10pm the streets around the lake turned into a mass of cars and people worthy of peak hour at Melbourne's Flinders St.
Meanwhile, at Clarendon College close to 4000 people turned out for the second 2002 concert of the Australian Federation Tattoo.
The concert was the biggest of three that ran Friday, Saturday and last nights.
Events Ballarat and Beyond event director Tracey Hull said audience members were comparing the show with Scotland's Edinburgh military tattoo.
By the lake, the celebrations began modestly with a few hundred people scattered around the shore to watch clowns on bicycles, the aerobatics of a RAAF Roulette stunt plane and parachutists.
But Mr Fletcher estimated as many as 40,000 people had attended the lakeside celebrations during the day and evening.
He attributed the numbers to the long weekend and other events, such as the tattoo, drawing people to Ballarat.
Late in the afternoon the celebrations were formally begun with a parade along Wendouree Parade to View Point.
Activities included speeches by Mayor David Vendy and Australia Day ambassador Danny Frawley.
Cr Vendy said Australians were lucky to live in safety.
The celebration also included the announcement of Ballarat's Citizen of the Year (Topsy Nevett), Young Citizen of the Year (Bryce Ives) and the Community Event of the Year (the Anti-Cancer Council's Relay for Life).