Thousands of revellers flocked to Federation Square to see in 2018 with a spectacular fireworks show.
A heavy police presence watched over a largely well-behaved crowd with the balmy weather ensuring a summer-party atmosphere
Melbourne kicks off 2018 with a bang
Watch the film here: Melbourne kicks off 2018 with a bang – The Sydney Morning Herald
Thousands of revellers flocked to Federation Square to see in 2018 with a spectacular fireworks show. Vision courtesy of Seven Network.
Melbourne sees in 2018 with an impressive fireworks display. Photo: Joe Armao, Fairfax Media.
In the middle of Fed Square, a brightly-lit dance floor had middle-aged revellers demonstrating dance moves from their youths, while their children looked on aghast.
Melbourne New Year’s Eve fireworks Photo: AAP
Sydneysiders Anthea Blanas and John Magas said they had come to Fed Square to “be where the action was”. They enjoyed it, but admitted Sydney’s fireworks shows would take some beating.
“Melbourne’s more cultural, more hip,” Ms Blanas, a customer experience designer, said. “But last year, Sydney had a fireworks curtain from the bridge – it was just magic.”
For others, the crowds were simply too much.
“Next year, I’ll just watch it from home,” Geryln Broadway, 32, from Glen Iris, said.
The fireworks seen from Yarra Park, Melbourne Photo: Chris Hopkins
Then midnight hit and so did the party atmosphere. Impromptu dance parties broke out, and couples embraced to mark the new year.
As fireworks shot from the top of buildings on all sides of the square, a sea of smartphones emerged to capture the magic as the band sang Auld Lang Syne.
The 10-minute spectacular involved 68 pyrotechnicians,14 tonnes of fireworks and 22 rooftops – a show which cost about $2.8 million.
Three men injured by exploding fireworks
A man was seriously injured when a firework exploded in his hand in Caroline Springs. The man, 34, was holding the firework when it exploded about 10.35pm on New Year’s Eve.
He was taken to hospital with a serious hand injury.
In Melton, another man in his 30s sustained burns after a firework exploded in his face at a property in Scott Street before 12.30am. He was airlifted to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
On the Bellarine Peninsula near St Leonards beach a 42-year-old Brunswick man lit an illegal firework and subsequently sustained a hand injury.
Police are investigating the three incidents.
Tim and Nadine Mier celebrate New Years Eve 2017 with daughters Chelsea, Holly and Indiana at the family night in Yarra Park. Photo: Chris Hopkins
Fun for the kids
Earlier, the night sky sizzled and sparkled as families watched the sky light up from the grass at Yarra Park for Melbourne’s child-friendly fireworks.
Nadine and Tim Mier took their children – Holly, 8, Indiana, 5, and Chelsea, 3 – to the park for the early fireworks display, and it didn’t disappoint.
“It’s been an eventful year, life with kids always is,” Ms Mier said. “This is the first time we have taken the kids to the city.”
“I hope the next year my girls will continue to be healthy, happy and enjoy life. I want to see them appreciate the simple things, the real things, to get outdoors, not just with screens and iPhones – that’s part of the reason we brought them here.”
Festivities kicked off early at Yarra Park, Edinburgh Gardens and Footscray Park, which all hosted family-friendly events.
Under sunny skies, families poured into Yarra Park early with picnic baskets, fold-up chairs, eskies and blankets to secure prime position for the early fireworks display.
31/12/17 Ola and Fadi Sarawan with their son Adam (3) celebrate New Years Eve 2017 at the family night in Yarra Park, Melbourne. Photograph by Chris Hopkins Photo: Chris Hopkins
Among them was Noble Park woman Ola Sarawan, who said the new year marked her first as an Australian citizen.
“It’s been such a big year for us with all the ups and downs,” Ms Sarawan said.”The good news is that I am an Australian citizen now. I feel more complete, I belong here now.”
Ms Sarawan, who came from Lebanon six years ago, was making the most of the balmy weather and festivities at the park with her husband, Fadi, and son, Adam.
There will be more new beginnings for the family in 2018 with another baby on the way.
”It was a stressful year,” Mr Sarawan laughed. “As you can see, my wife is pregnant. It’s been a long year, but it’s gone quick. It was the start of the year, and now we are already here.”
The last night of the year is typically also one of the most violent and busiest for emergency services.
For police, a huge operation was underway to keep revellers safe.
Major CBD thoroughfares were shut down as record numbers of police patroll the city.
St Kilda Road, Spring Street, Flinders Street, Harbour Esplanade and Brunton Avenue were all closed from 6pm on New Year’s Eve, and were due to be re-opened at 1am.
Revellers were earlier advised to stay out of the CBD and instead watch Melbourne’s fireworks show from afar.