The Grave Shaker, the Bad Neighbour, and the Kim Jong-Un — as over 300 tonnes of fireworks arrive in Darwin to mark the 40th anniversary of self-government, Territorians are preparing to celebrate with a bang.
But following a record year for injuries in 2017, authorities are warning there will be harsher penalties for people who break the rules.
July 1 marks the 40th year since the Northern Territory attained self-government — although statehood does not seem to yet be on the horizon.
The NT is the only jurisdiction in Australia where it is legal to buy fireworks.
This Sunday, retailers will only be able to sell crackers between 9:00am and 9:00pm, and residents can only set them off between 6:00pm and 11:00pm.
Fireworks stores have popped up in the NT ahead of Territory Day on July 1. (ABC News: Dijana Damjanovic)
Before then, NT Worksafe staff will be inspecting the tonnes of fireworks for sale to ensure they meet Australian standards.
Last year, 38 people were hospitalised with fireworks-related injuries, many with head and eye wounds.
A 12-year-old boy suffered a serious eye injury and had to be airlifted from the remote Lajamanu community to Darwin for treatment, and a one-year-old baby received a burn to its leg.
More than 300 tonnes of fireworks have been imported into Darwin ahead of Territory Day. (ABC News: Dijana Damjanovic)
Around 400 fires were also caused by crackers.
Health authorities said the most common injuries were burns, lacerations, and eye and ear injuries.
“Almost half of the injuries we saw last year were in bystanders, so it’s very important if you are watching fireworks to stand well clear,” said Dr Peter Markey from the Royal Darwin Hospital.
This year, fined have increased to $1,540 for throwing and setting off fireworks that could damage property or injure a person or animal.
“It’s important also not to give fireworks to anyone under the age of 12 and make sure the ground you are launching your fireworks from is firm and you’ve got some decent sand to put them in,” said Dr Markey.
Get in early to buy your fireworks: retailers
But for all the safety measures in place and the strong and persistent community calls for the night to be banned, pyrotechnic enthusiasts are gearing up for a big anniversary celebration.
“I’m expecting a Territory Day celebration that marks 40 years, it’s going to be big and I’m looking forward to it,” said Fusion Fireworks owner Luke Caridi.
Suppliers spend 12 months travelling to and from China to import hundreds of tonnes of fireworks that are developed specifically with Territorians in mind.
This year, the Kakadu Kaos, the Mindil Mayhem, Arnhem Awakens and the TNT will all be lighting up the NT’s skies.
“We see people spend upwards of $500 and every year we spruik them [the fireworks] up, change the effects,” said Mr Caridi.
“The pro class container load [is 20 kilograms], it’s definitely a Territory favourite and usually sells out.”
Retailers are advising buyers to get in early this Sunday morning to ensure they get the type of fireworks they want.
The Territory is unique “and that’s as it always should be”, one woman said of the day. (Supplied: Sophie Nelson)