AUSTRALIA DAY fireworks in Fremantle is a step closer with organisers getting council approval and raising $60,000 so far.
Fremantle council canned the fireworks because they were too expensive and “culturally insensitive” to Aboriginal people, but local traders stepped in and are planning their own privately funded display.
Eddie Watling, coordinator for the fishing boat harbour traders’ association, says they are meeting with police and other regulatory bodies to get final approvals.
“Aside from the evening fireworks we are looking to hold cultural events across the city, in venues like Pioneer Park,” he says.
“We will have flags flying at the harbour, including the Aboriginal one, and it will be a great occasion.
“We are also in talks with a radio station and looking into other exciting possibilities.”
A working group, including representatives from the Fremantle business Improvement district and the harbour traders’ association, will organise the event.
The fireworks will be launched from the groyne beside Fremantle sailing club and is likely to last around 15 minutes.
As the display is not on council-managed land, organisers only needed “standard safety approval” from the city staff and the application did not come before council, avoiding the potentially awkward situation of councillors having to approve a private fireworks display after they previously kyboshed their own.
Fremantle council is planning an alternative event to replace the fireworks.
“Planning for the city’s alternative, family-friendly event is well underway with a public announcement expected to be made in the next few weeks,” says Fremantle council arts manager Pete Stone.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK