Brisbane Riverfire

September 30, 2009 at 03:20PM     Personal Australia Brisbane Queensland


Earlier this month I attended Brisbane Riverfire, the fireworks that are part of the Brisbane Festival going on here in Brisbane.

The fireworks take place along the stretch of the Brisbane River that winds around downtown Brisbane (which is basically where I live). We went down to the riverfront in the afternoon to grab a spot along the river, and to see the air show. The Royal Australian Air Force "Roulettes" put on a precision flying show while it was still light, with some very impressive flying. (These and all the pictures in this blog entry either come from my friend Sui-Guan at QUT or from Creative Commons-licensed material on Flickr.)

Being from Windsor, the home of the International Freedom Festival Fireworks, I have very high standards for fireworks shows. It's not a real fireworks show unless it goes on for a good half an hour, has multiple launch sites, and—most importantly—you can really feel the boom.

You must understand, then, how significant it is when I say that these were the best fireworks I have ever seen.

The show started with a countdown to a pair of F-111 fighter jets flying overhead signalling the launch of the first fireworks. The trail of the jets can be seen in the image below.

First, there were the fireworks on and above the river. They had 6 barges along the winding stretch of the river; from the area in which we were standing, 4 barges were visible (the most possible due to the curve of the river).

Since that wasn't enough, the decided to launch fireworks from the tops of buildings in downtown Brisbane.

Again, that wasn't still enough, so they decided to launch fireworks from three of the bridges across the Brisbane river. The curtains of fireworks falling from the bridges were especially beautiful.

But still, setting the river, buildings, and bridges on fire was apparently not enough. The F-111 jets that started the show came back and did what's called a "dump and burn", in which fuel is released behind the jet and set alight using the plane's afterburner. The F-111 jet is the only aircraft the routinely performs this procedure. The RAAF is the last air force in the world operating F-111 jets, and they are set to retire this year. This was the last dump and burn ever to be seen in Brisbane and it was incredible! If you look closely in the bottom left of the last picture, you can see the outline of the jet.