A STRONG crowd of several thousand turned out to the rebellious Australia Day fireworks display put on by Fishing Boat Harbour businesses on Thursday.
Angry at Fremantle council’s cancelling of its own fireworks display, the businesses put their own money into a display and mini four-day festival, and were buoyed by the result.
When the Chook bumped into The Beach House co-owner Nick Unmack he was already buzzing, coraling people away from Bathers Beach where they’d have got a view of the sunset and not much more.
But he was still bitter about the council’s dumping of its own festivities, saying it would have been a disaster for businesses. “You know, they didn’t do a thing to help us,” he said.
Mr Unmack claimed the local businesses also had to turn to the Barnett government to help get a shark net installed at Bather’s Beach and were looking likely to get $500,000 despite Freo council being lukewarm.
Earlier in the day, a small crowd of about 120 Reclaim Australia members and their supporters held a quiet protest on the Esplanade, with only the odd heckler giving them a bit of stick.
Opponents decided against taking on the alt-right group, instead taking their protest to Perth for an “Invasion Day” rally that one cop in Freo says involed a flag burning.
Freo’s crowd was no doubt bolstered by the cancelling of Perth’s Skyshow following the crash of a sea plane into the Swan River which killed the pilot and his passenger.
Down in Cockburn, mayor Logan Howlett said he was thrilled with a strong turn-out at Coogee Beach.
Mr Howlett said he’d also been to the council’s citizenship ceremony and said no one had mentioned Freo’s decision to cancel its festivities because the day is seen as offensive to some indigenous Australians.
It was like Anzac Day at Coogee with the stinky weather forcing hordes of Aussies and Kiwis to storm its white sands.
Nicole Flintoft was celebrating with ex-Kiwi mate Bridget Bauskis and says she supports keeping Australia day on January 26, but says it’s a vexed issue because she’s sympathetic to the concerns of Aborigines.
BY STEVE GRANT