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Summernats in Braddon?

By Alexandra Craig 5 January 2015 28


Summernats. You either love it or you hate it. I’ve always been aware of it, but this is my first year living in the North when Summernats has been on. I definitely noticed it. In a big way.

Like most other people, I spotted the classic cars as well as the ‘done up’ cars a few days before the festival began, as well as hearing the occasional burnout. That’s fine, I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is extreme behaviour from revellers, putting other people’s lives at risk outside the confines of EPIC in locations without security and/or police presence.

On Friday night, at around 11pm or so, a friend and I drove down the road to the Lonsdale Street area (what, I really felt like a McDonalds Coke), and to my surprise found it PACKED with people. Literally, hundreds and hundreds of people. Lining the streets with their cars, some had deck chairs and were sitting around chatting which is obviously fine, however, the majority of people were behaving very badly. Cars were hooning around the block at top speed, people were stepping out in front of cars, walking all over the road, alcohol was being consumed in a public place, there was rubbish everywhere, firecrackers were being let off, and we even saw people jumping from car roof to car roof in a dealership. It was similar to the extreme Schoolies behaviour you see on the news at the end of each school year. 

There was zero police presence.

Out of pure concern for the general safety of people in the area (including ourselves) we called the police (131 444, not triple-0) and asked if they could send a car to the area in the hope that a police presence would settle some of the crowd down and you know, maybe discourage people from jumping on cars in a car yard and maybe not to drive around like maniacs. The police said to us that they were aware of the situation but didn’t have enough resources or people available to send a car around.

In my opinion that’s really not good enough. I was told that Summernats attendees hanging out at Braddon at night was not unusual and that they’ve been frequenting the area as long as Summernats has existed, over 20 years. So it’s not like the police wouldn’t have known this was going to happen. It could have been planned for and dealt with. 

A few people suggested to me that it’s just some kids having fun on the street and the police have bigger problems to deal with. Ordinarily, yes. I would agree. However this time a police presence could have prevented damage to the cars in the dealership (see police media release on the incident here). The way some people were driving around Braddon, I am genuinely surprised there were no injuries or fatalities, not to mention the firecrackers being let off at random. I did not feel safe driving around there in my own car, and I wasn’t even there for an extended period of time.

On another note; the place was trashed. There was rubbish everywhere; alcohol cans and bottles lining the streets. A few groups of people had also set up camp outside cafes, leaving their rubbish behind. It’s really disappointing that these cafe owners would have turned up for work the next morning to find crap all over their premises. Hugely unfair that they would have had to clean it up as well.

When an event like Summernats comes to town, the police can’t just confine themselves to the official Summernats area. There needs to be greater control over revellers. If people have been frequenting the same spot for 20-odd years and creating a ruckus, I think it’s reasonable to expect a patrol car or two to be sent down to keep a close eye on things.

What’s Your opinion?

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28 Responses to
Summernats in Braddon?
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sammo1 9:44 pm 07 Jan 15

Braddon has been a ‘thing’ on friday nights for years! With or without summernats. But It has dropped right off in the last 5 years or so.

And to say summernats attendees were the only people there, is foolish. Most of the people there are canberra locals, who can’t/won’t go to summernats.
In fact, i reckon you’d be scratching to find more then 2 or 3 actual summernats entrants at Braddon

wildturkeycanoe 5:21 am 07 Jan 15

carnardly said :

parking up on the sidewalk???

Blimey Charlie – it’s a footpath.

or the gutter. not a frigging sidewalk.

Not quite correct my friend, I think nowadays they are known as “shared zones” and cycle paths, LOL.

carnardly 1:27 am 07 Jan 15

parking up on the sidewalk???

Blimey Charlie – it’s a footpath. or the gutter. not a frigging sidewalk.

Sandman 9:52 pm 06 Jan 15

Oh, I also forgot to mention Canberra’s vast array of unmarked police vehicles. There’s a Black SS ute, some sneaky Aurions and Camry’s and the SRG guys get around in Dark coloured Landcruisers with roof racks. Those guys love working Summernats cause most of them are motor heads too.

Sandman 9:48 pm 06 Jan 15

Awwww, it’s so cute when the young ‘uns try to start a discussion with no knowledge of the history of the area. I guess you were probably getting told by Prime Possum to go to bed when cruise night was EVERY Friday night on Lonsdale st. That’s where the Friday Summernats tradition started and there hasn’t been a Friday night in the history of Summernats where Lonsdale st wasn’t reduced to a car park and populated by half of the Civic Local Area Command.
What the policeman on the phone meant was “we haven’t got any MORE resources to send down”. I’ve seen everything from a full Coaster bus of coppers, to Police on Quad bikes and even the mounted division in Braddon on Summernats Friday. I don’t recall any major accidents, injuries or incidents though. Good chances the car jumpers weren’t even revheads, just taking advantage of the hecticness to get in their weird brand of fun. It wouldn’t even surprise me if it came to light that it was an insurance job. The yard has recently been sold, good way to get rid of stock. I mean really, who goes to Braddon to buy used cars?

dkNigs 5:42 pm 06 Jan 15

Alexandra Craig said :

I guess that’s what happens when there’s a lack of police presence, hey?

Except between the two marked patrol cars outside each of the bottle shops, so four cars there, plus the bike cops, and the plethora of blacked out illegally tinted undercover police four wheel drives, and anyone hooning up Torrens Street being pulled over instantly.

But don’t let the truth get in the way of a casual observation and overall assumption!

Solidarity 4:37 pm 06 Jan 15

Braddon has been a hive of activity around Summernats time for 28 years now. To think that the government wouldn’t know about it is foolish.

The rant about people being grubs isn’t just related to Summernats though, just look at Garema place at 4am on any given Sunday.

Alexandra Craig 4:09 pm 06 Jan 15

dkNigs said :

dropped53 said :

One thing that didn’t work for the local government was turning the street lights off in the area. I not sure if that they thought it would deter people because it didn’t and I’m sure the lack of light was only detrimental to the police that were in the area.

This wasn’t a tactic, just poor services by ACT govt. They were out for over a week beforehand, and are still out. While Lonsdale street isn’t too bad usually, from Haig park and further street lights are constantly out in Braddon.

Just the ACT Govt working to make the area safe I guess…

Yeah, I didn’t notice the lights out myself but that is probably because they are always out and I’m used to it! I tweeted Rattenbury about it a few months ago, and he promised one particular street back by X date, which they were… but heaps of others are always out. Haig Park needs much brighter ones too.

KB1971 said :

Funnly enough, despite all of this angst, no Summernats related arrests were made…………….

I guess that’s what happens when there’s a lack of police presence, hey?

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