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New Year Fireworks at Semaphore Jetty.

New Year Fireworks at Semaphore Jetty.

January 2020 · 4 min read · South Australia

On New Year's Eve a variety of firework displays happen across Adelaide. Because it's summer here at that time of year and a high fire risk, they happen over water. The Adelaide city centre has its display over the river Torrens and Glenelg and Semaphore have ones one the pier, over the sea. I'm not a big lover of crowds and like my sleep, so I rarely bother with these displays. It's easier to watch the Sydney ones live one the tv at home, but my youngest, Izzy, is 16 and really wanted to do something special. Her sister was doing things she couldn't join in with, so I agreed to the Semaphore ones in the hope that this would be the least crowded.

Even the least crowded one was still going to be super busy, so we planned on heading in after lunch and making a day of it, to ensure we got parking. My mother arrived at around 1pm and helped us make a packed lunch to take, while Izzy was getting impatient, worried that we wouldn't get a parking space, despite the fact that the first round of fireworks wouldn't start until 9:30pm.

We arrived in plenty of time and parked up pretty easily. After some very hot days, New Year's Eve had dropped much cooler with a strong wind blowing. The wind wasn't too bad until you got past the dunes onto the beach and then it became a bit too much to bear.

On the foreshore the amusement park had expanded and added some extra fairground rides. I had to smile, when we first arrived, because there weren't many people using the rides at that point and the people running them were in the Dodgem cars making sure to entertain a couple of young boys who would otherwise have been riding around in their own. A few more hours and the rides were packed, though.


We wandered around Semaphore Road a little trying to kill some time.


I'd never notice this sculpture on the corner before.





Then we headed back to try the beach again. It was slightly less windy in the dunes, but the dry sand still constantly blew over us, getting into our bags and clothes. Izzy tried building a shelter.


We eventually moved deeper still into the dunes and finally got out of the wind, watching the sun go down as the time crept slowly by. The Kangaroo Island bushfires were sadly ongoing at this point and the smoke was drifting northwards to us, giving the sky an orange/brown hue.


My mum discussed us going to a cafe for a drink, but Izzy was concerned about getting a good vantage point for the first display. So we ended up at the Steam Train Kiosk, leaving her to join the long line for a coffee. I decided I didn't need anything after one look at that line.

We probably shouldn't have worried. The beach is plenty big enough and wasn't overcrowded. Izzy did go nearer to the sea as 9:30pm approached in order to get some clear shots on her camera, without people walking in front of her.

The smoke gave us the reddest sun I've ever seen as it slowly sank towards the horizon. Our cameras couldn't quite capture the same redness we were seeing with our eyes, but Izzy's got the closest to it.

Even the moon was pink. A sombre reminder of the devastation many had been experiencing across Australia since November.


After the first display many of the families left, but were replaced by older groups. Izzy had decided to just photograph the first display, so she could relax and enjoy the second, midnight one.

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The 9:30pm display was nice, but the midnight one outdid it. The finale got quite the cheer from the crowd. I actually had to admit that the wait and enduring the wind was worthwhile.

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The traffic out was crazy and at some point I realised we were being joined by the traffic from the city displays too. As we passed over another road heading northward along the coast I noticed it was gridlocked. It was a nice night, but I was glad to get home to bed.


Fireworks, sun and moon photos courtesy of @izzydawn who is a beneficiary of this post.

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