Mt. Isa

Mt. Isa

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day 2011

Summer sizzler helps make Aussies' big day
Greg Stolz From: The Courier-Mail January 27, 2011 12:01AM

THE Gold Coast was not the place to be for the Aussie yobbo yesterday. Whenever he reared his ugly head, he was pounced on by a swarm of lawmen. Police netted about 30 arrests in a Schoolies-style blitz to prevent a repeat of previous Australia Day mayhem on the Glitter Strip.

This marred an otherwise idyllic day of celebrations around Queensland, where the still-fresh trauma of devastating floods did not stop thousands of people enjoying themselves at beaches, parks and backyards.

Brisbane's de Beer family celebrated becoming citizens yesterday with a distinctly Australian barbecue of kangaroo steaks. "We've got lots of mates coming over for Australia Day," said Louis de Beer, 44, a recent immigrant from South Africa. "We are going to dress as ridiculous as possible, get some stubbies . . . and then we are going to eat kangaroo." He and wife Debi were two of about 13,000 people from 143 countries who took on national citizenship yesterday. Mr de Beer turned down an offer to work in the US to bring the family to Brisbane after a stint living in New Zealand. "It was the most brilliant city we had ever seen,'' he said. "We wouldn't live anywhere else.''

After Australia Day riots at Burleigh Heads a couple of years ago, Gold Coast police drew a line in the sand and adopted a zero tolerance approach to what they considered unAustralian behavior.

More than 300 police including mounted officers, the dog squad, and undercover teams converged on popular party spots including Burleigh and the Southport Spit to stamp out loutish antics. Those arrested included at least six on The Spit where violence between drunken youths erupted about 6.30pm. Gold Coast police superintendent Paul Ziebarth said police had adopted a "high-visibility, early intervention strategy''.

"We challenged bad behaviour early before it became criminal behaviour, and considering the large crowds on the beaches, the arrests have been low,'' he said.

Supt Ziebarth's comments were echoed by Burleigh Heads locals Carmel Clout and Wendy Eacott, who celebrated Australia Day with their families in the suburb's foreshore park. Both women said the large police presence had allowed families to "reclaim Burleigh". "It's been a fantastic day for the families,'' Mrs Clout said. "There's been no biffo or aggression.''

With beaches packed, busy lifesavers performed 17 rescues and 10 first-aid treatments.

- with agencies

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