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Summernats in Braddon?

By Alexandra Craig - 5 January 2015 28

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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. 

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?
Surprised 10:26 am 06 Jan 15

Sorry Alexandra, I’ve got to say, you seem to have made a judgement with very limited visibility, based on minimal fact, and then have become defensive when many people have offered opposing views based on significantly more time spent in the area.

Any large gathering has issues, there are always a few that spoil it for the many. It’s unacceptable that people destroyed property, but they were not the majority.

Did you also check with the ACT Government if they had arranged cleaners for the next morning like they do most mornings in Civic when party goers leave the place filthy? Or was that just an assumption? Based on the decades I have been in the ACT, they are generally very good at getting cleaning crews out after events such as these.

Alexandra Craig 8:18 am 06 Jan 15

Okay, so a lot of people (mainly on Facebook) are accusing me of lying about the police presence. I didn’t make the story up. I was there and in the time that I was there, I did not see one police vehicle. That is why I phoned them and asked for a patrol car to be sent around. They told me they didn’t have enough resources. Why would I call them if there was police onsite, and even if I did, why would they tell me they didn’t have enough resources?

dropped53 8:23 pm 05 Jan 15

I enjoy summernats and attend the event annually I have also been attending Braddon Summernats Friday night for many years.

The tactic of the Summernats organisers having entertainment on the Friday night has seemed to have worked and kept the crowd in the nats and decreased the crowds in Braddon on Friday night. The crowd numbers in Braddon have been down since the new owners took over. This year the place seemed pretty empty compared to previous years. (I was there from 5pm to 10pm).

I can understand the hassle others are describing about the rubbish around the place and can see the issue there. However the open cafes and restaurants made a killing we all bought dinner along the strip.

I saw a strong Police presence witnessing a few cars and cyclists pulled over as well as foot patrols through the area.

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.

dkNigs 6:43 pm 05 Jan 15

There was WAY more drinking than normal, because all but one street light was out. Plenty of dark places to keep your drink out of sight of the police. I do call bullplop on your zero police presence though, I live in the area, and nearly every time I heard someone hoon, it was followed by sirens. The police were definitely hiding around, and it looked like nearly all their undercover patrol vehicles were in the area.

johny 6:34 pm 05 Jan 15

I was in Braddon on Friday night from around 8 to 12. I walked up and down Braddon numerous times and not once did i see any dangerous driving or anti social behaviour. I did however see a very visible police presence both on foot and in vehicles, both marked and unmarked (the undercover cars are quite easy to spot). I didn’t see anyone drinking on the street and i know last year the police had a zero tolerance and issued many fines for drinking in a public place, i doubt it was any different this year.

I don’t doubt that there would have been a handful of trouble makers around but from what i saw it was a very different environment to what you have described.

Mysteryman 3:18 pm 05 Jan 15

Alexandra Craig said :

Mysteryman said :

I was there both evenings – Friday and Saturday – and didn’t see any of the things you witnessed. I did, however, see a LOT of police. On foot and in marked and unmarked cars. I also didn’t see anything out of the ordinary regarding speeding vehicles or pedestrians doing dangerous things.

I did see a lot of people out and a lot of businesses doing a roaring trade. As well as a lot of nice cars and people enjoying the warm weather. It was quieter than previous years, but there seemed to be less drunk people getting about and causing trouble. I enjoyed it.

What time were you there? There was definitely zero police when I was there, and the police definitely told us on the phone that they didn’t have enough resources to send a car. I’m not making it up.

I wasn’t implying that you made it up – sorry if it came across that way.

I was there until about 10:30 on Friday night. It was very busy at that stage but there were a lot of police around. On the Saturday I was there from about 7pm until 11:30pm. Just as busy, but a lot more police than on the Friday.

I have since heard from others that the car vandalism occurred sometime in the early morning – 3 or 4 am by the sounds of it.

Alexandra Craig 3:08 pm 05 Jan 15

Mysteryman said :

I was there both evenings – Friday and Saturday – and didn’t see any of the things you witnessed. I did, however, see a LOT of police. On foot and in marked and unmarked cars. I also didn’t see anything out of the ordinary regarding speeding vehicles or pedestrians doing dangerous things.

I did see a lot of people out and a lot of businesses doing a roaring trade. As well as a lot of nice cars and people enjoying the warm weather. It was quieter than previous years, but there seemed to be less drunk people getting about and causing trouble. I enjoyed it.

What time were you there? There was definitely zero police when I was there, and the police definitely told us on the phone that they didn’t have enough resources to send a car. I’m not making it up.

KB1971 said :

I wonder how much money the cafe and resturant owners made on this night of sin?

The bars and pubs probably made a lot. The cafes wouldn’t have made any more than usual considering some of them close at 5.30pm. Even the cafes that do dinner and close at 9-10pm, they’re usually pretty packed anyway, just because they made a lot of money at night doesn’t make it okay for them to have to return the next morning and clean up everyone’s filth.

KB1971 1:03 pm 05 Jan 15

I wonder how much money the cafe and resturant owners made on this night of sin?

All things considered, 1/2 a dozen cars damaged in a car stealership is pretty good really considering it was aparrently armageddon………..

Mysteryman 12:31 pm 05 Jan 15

I was there both evenings – Friday and Saturday – and didn’t see any of the things you witnessed. I did, however, see a LOT of police. On foot and in marked and unmarked cars. I also didn’t see anything out of the ordinary regarding speeding vehicles or pedestrians doing dangerous things.

I did see a lot of people out and a lot of businesses doing a roaring trade. As well as a lot of nice cars and people enjoying the warm weather. It was quieter than previous years, but there seemed to be less drunk people getting about and causing trouble. I enjoyed it.

Alexandra Craig 12:12 pm 05 Jan 15

Mess said :

Strange that the police said there were no cars available. We drove past the bottom of Lonsdale street around the same time as you, and just a bit further down near the Canberra Centre I saw two police cars cruising around.

Hmmm, that’s interesting. Maybe they were technically patrolling the city and had to stay in that area, or perhaps they were tied up at that end of Braddon and were unable to do a lap.

Solidarity said :

I drove through twice on Saturday as it was on way to and from Kingston as I wanted to see some of the cars (And wasn’t paying $90 to go to the event itself/walk around in the heat).

Police cars absolutely everywhere.

Seemed kind of dead compared to previous years, to be honest.

Yup. Saturday was much quieter than Friday night. I drove through again, and it seems that police learned their lesson from the night before. A lot less people and the ones that were out and about were pretty well behaved.

Bennop said :

Funny, we were watching it from one of apartments on lonsdale street, and most of my friends were mentioning that there were way too many police, and that it was overkill.

I cant see how any car could be hooning around at top speed during the period I was there, it was basically a parking lot.

Friday or Saturday night? What time etc.

When I was there, it was probably the only time you could get a park in Braddon if you wanted one. Heaps of cars there, yes, but they were all parked up on the sidewalk, on the grass in Haig Park and opposite in front of the Telstra exchange building.

chewy14 11:12 am 05 Jan 15

I agree.

Similarly, there was this other event on last Wednesday night (not sure what it was about), and there was thousands of people milling around the City, drinking alcohol in the streets and drunk children everywhere. There was even two large bursts of fireworks throughout the evening. I barely saw any police for the amount of revellers, surely they could have planned better?
On Thursday the whole area was trashed with empty beer bottles, food and general refuse everywhere.

The authorities should get on to this kind of behaviour and stop it from occurring, at least have a much more visible police presence so I can see them wherever I go.

neanderthalsis 10:32 am 05 Jan 15

If you saw people jumping on car rooves, the plod may want to speak with you:
Witnesses sought; Braddon property damage,
ttp://www.police.act.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/act/2015/january/Witnesses%20sought%20Braddon%20property%20damage.aspx

Bennop 10:14 am 05 Jan 15

Funny, we were watching it from one of apartments on lonsdale street, and most of my friends were mentioning that there were way too many police, and that it was overkill.

I cant see how any car could be hooning around at top speed during the period I was there, it was basically a parking lot.

Solidarity 9:51 am 05 Jan 15

I drove through twice on Saturday as it was on way to and from Kingston as I wanted to see some of the cars (And wasn’t paying $90 to go to the event itself/walk around in the heat).

Police cars absolutely everywhere.

Seemed kind of dead compared to previous years, to be honest.

Mess 9:16 am 05 Jan 15

Strange that the police said there were no cars available. We drove past the bottom of Lonsdale street around the same time as you, and just a bit further down near the Canberra Centre I saw two police cars cruising around.

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