MAKEA SPLASH

Vic­to­ri­ans cel­e­brated a sunny start to 2017 on the beach, by the bar­be­cue and pack­ing the city for a spec­tac­u­lar fire­works dis­play

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - BRI­ANNA TRAVERS AND JOHN POWER bri­anna.travers@news.com.au

MELBURNIANS rang in the new year in style as hun­dreds of thou­sands flocked to the CBD to wit­ness the big­gest show of fire­works the city has ever seen.

More than 500,000 rev­ellers de­fied the fear of ter­ror in the wake of the re­cently foiled Christ­mas threats as beefed-up po­lice num­bers and scores of CCTV cam­eras mon­i­tored New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tions to en­sure pub­lic safety.

Po­lice, in­clud­ing the mounted, wa­ter, air and pub­lic or­der units, were out in force dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions. Tonnes of fire­works were shot from 22 city build­ings in a 10-minute dis­play, syn­chro­nised to a sound­track.

Howard & Sons Py­rotech­nics’ Rusty John­son said no other city had at­tempted the scale of Mel­bourne’s fire­works this year, which cov­ered al­most the en­tire 8sq km CBD area.

While ev­ery­body was hav­ing fun in Mel­bourne, a 46-year-old man was killed 260km away in Hol­lands Land­ing, Gipp­s­land, af­ter a fire­cracker ex­ploded in his face.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice spokes­woman Natalie Web­ster said: “The cir­cum­stances of the in­ci­dent are yet to be de­ter­mined.” An Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria spokesman said the man had sus­tained se­ri­ous head and fa­cial in­juries.

Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy se­nior fore­caster Chris God­fred said yes­ter­day’s late Mel­bourne max­i­mum of 24C at 5.40pm was a “bit of a re­lief” from the past week’s heat and hu­mid­ity.

Staff from South­bank foodie haven Fatto said it was the busiest and lat­est night of the year for the busi­ness, which over­looks the Yarra River and Mel­bourne’s city sky­line.

Restau­rant man­ager Nathan Schif­ferle said Mel­bourne was the “best city in the world”.

“We’ve got an amaz­ing spot here and peo­ple love com­fort­ably watch­ing the fire­works.”

Staff from nearby Span­ish restau­rant Teatro were also pre­par­ing for a busy night. Man­ager Dy­lan Cos­ford said the restau­rant, which over­looks the Yarra on South­bank, was fully booked weeks in ad­vance and the drink of choice last night was the espresso mar­tini. “What else could you want, it’s the per­fect Mel­bourne mix: caf­feine to wake you up, al­co­hol to keep you happy!”

Andrew Wight, of South Mel­bourne, was soak­ing up the fine weather at South­bank with his wife, Tamah. The pair planned to see a movie be­fore tak­ing in the fire­works.

“It is a great show. It has got­ten bet­ter over the years,” Mr Wight said.

Karen Bar­clay from Ivan­hoe was watch­ing the en­ter­tain­ment at Fed­er­a­tion Square with her fam­ily.

“We’ve had a fan­tas­tic time in the city tonight, it’s a fan­tas­tic at­mos­phere, Fed­er­a­tion Square is the place to be tonight!” she said.

Mar­cello Mly from Spring­vale was also at Fed Square, with his wife and daugh­ter. “I’ve been to watch the fire­works many times be­fore, the re­cent foiled ter­ror threats don’t have any im­pact on me com­ing here tonight,” he said.

Ta­ma­rah de Vries had come down from the Sun­shine Coast in Queens­land and was de­ter­mined to see the night in style. With her fam­ily, she had re­served a prime spot along the Yarra to see the fire­works for a pic­nic with nib­bles.

“It’s amaz­ing, Mel­bourne’s got a great vibe about it tonight,” Ms de Vries said. “Mel­bourne’s way more ac­ces­si­ble than Bris­bane, ex­cept for the hook turns, of course.”

Char­maine Ashe from Perth hopped on a 7.30pm river cruise be­fore watch­ing the fire­work. “It’s di­vine here, there’s a won­der­ful at­mos­phere here,” she said.

Barry McPhillips had come from Mos­man in Syd­ney with his fam­ily. “My son re­ceived a flower from a stranger, you can see every­one is com­ing to­gether to en­joy the night.”

French tourist Oliver Cadre saw in the New Year while en­joy­ing the stun­ning city vista of­fered by his friend’s apart­ment near Spring St.

Wem Etuknwa and Sarah Win­ter en­joy a glass of bub­bly at Al­bert Park Lake while, be­low, Har­riet, Rosie, Finn, Ben and Ed­die splash out at Port Mel­bourne beach. Pic­tures: CHRISTO­PHER CHAN, SARAH MATRAY

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