In case you missed it in the star spangled haze of July 4 celebrations, last Wednesday was Territory Day. Ostensibly an event to mark self-governance, this unofficial public holiday is better known as Fireworks Day, or Day-of-Carnage, or Your-Baby-Is-Never-Going-To-Sleep-Day. The logo proudly shows children playing with fireworks, because that’s what the day is all about. Unsupervised fun! And Territorians sure love unsupervised fun, (see Why I Stuck a Cracker up my Clacker).
The day usually starts early. Firework stands pop-up in neglected shopfronts throughout the suburbs lining the Stuart Highway. It’s definitely a sellers market and the manufacturers get pretty creative with their names, like Anger Management, Hot Cougar, Bad Bitch and my personal favorite, Osama Boom-Laden.
Technically fireworks can only be detonated between 6pm and 11pm on July 1st, but it’s more Territorian to let your fireworks off as soon as you get them, so any time is fine. All unused fireworks must be handed in, it’s the law. But it always blows out into weeks, even months after July 1st, with folks regularly getting woken up by a whistling cracker in the middle of January.
Unfortunately every year some badass teenager blows their fingers off, so in an effort to tackle the obvious dangers of letting drunk angry bogans arm themselves, the Northern Territory Government website has this cautionary advice: Fireworks can be fun but they are dangerous. Take care when using them.
As fun as it is to stick a cracker up your clacker, pets and babies don’t like them. Darwin Mum, Tamie of Rosebery, says she changed after giving birth to baby Lexi, “we used to buy shitloads of crackers, drink loads of beer, even set the neighbors fence on fire accidentally… generally run amok (sic)”. But having a baby changed all that. Now the new mum sits inside with all the windows shut, nursing a Chardonnay for her nerves, hoping Lexi will get some sleep.
But this hiatus is only temporary, as soon as Lexi is old enough to get her mummy a rum and a lighter the madness of Territory Day will continue for the next generation. Because that’s what it means to be a Territorian!! Now, I’m off to stick a cracker up my clacker.