The West

Australia Day celebrations on the Riverside Drive foreshore. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

UPDATE 11.20pm: A vibrant show across Perth's skies has proved a crowd winner with thousands turning out to watch the extravaganza in person.

With half an hour to go, the Perth City foreshore was inundated by latecomers arriving just in time to secure a spot for the Skyworks tonight.

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The biggest cheers and gasps of spectacle during the show were reserved for the various different-shaped fireworks including love hearts, doves and what many speculated were koala bear heads.

Did you see the Skyshow? Email us your pictures.

Cheers of "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" could be heard as the crowds made their way out of the entertainment area towards Esplanade Station and Perth City.

Police have reported a relatively well-behaved crowd. By 9pm there had been 40 arrests Statewide and 12 summonses, police told The West Australian.

Lower temperatures throughout the day appear to have attracted more people to Skyworks than last year, though official estimates are predicted to still be down on crowd highs experienced several years ago.

About 300,000 people were expected to attend Perth's Skyworks display on the Swan River tonight to celebrate Australia Day - an increase of 50,000 from last year thanks to milder weather.

The city enjoyed a 36C maximum today, compared to 2012's sweltering 41C.

The South Perth foreshore was a family paradise, awash with picnic rugs and screaming children.

A gentle breeze made for idyllic conditions, set against a backdrop of flat water, boats and the Perth skyline.

Planes flew impossibly close to each other overhead, but failed to drown out the classic Australian songs coming from riverfront apartments.

The length of the South Perth foreshore was packed by sunset; the pink sky reflected in a glassy Swan River.

A hush descended over the crowd as 8pm approached and the full moon began to dominate a cloudless sky.

Cheers went up when the first fireworks exploded against the city skyline, sending colours dancing across the river.

Giant red hearts, koala faces and golden birds were among the crowd favourites.

A glow of smartphones dotted the foreshore - the children too young for phones were more concerned about enjoying the moment than capturing it.

After more than 20 minutes, the display ended with the traditional golden finale and families began the slow procession out of South Perth.

The Australia Day Skyworks are undoubtedly expensive, but they bring Perth closer together than perhaps any other event.

The Avery family from Butler joined a group of friends for their annual Australia Day picnic; the children easily outnumbering the adults.

Miranda Avery said her four children enjoyed Australia Day as much as Christmas Day.

"I sort of see it more through the kids' eyes now, seeing how excited they are about it," she said.

"They go for a swim, then it's, 'Mum, I'm hungry', then they're back in the water.

"They get as excited about Australia Day as Christmas. They just know it's a fun-filled day and they're proud Australian kids."

Ms Avery said they made the trip south from the northern suburbs because it was a family-friendly setting.

"It's been a tradition for five years now," she said.

"It's not as busy here and you still get a really awesome view of the fireworks."

Another family, originally from Iraq, soaked up the atmosphere from a grass verge, offering baked delicacies to passers-by.

They left their home country because they did not feel safe, making their way to the "Lucky Country" three years ago.

One of the women had come straight from a City of Stirling citizenship ceremony, which she described as a "special day".

In a traditional Japanese outfit and a vibrant Australian flag headband, little Leana Leung was picture perfect with her mother Akane Maehara and father Aswin Leung.

Ms Maehara said she chose the patriotic outfit for her one-year-old daughter because it symbolised her rich cultural background.

"(Leana) was born here and she is Australian, she is also so cute in her (headband)," she said.

The Australian flag was also proudly on display in the form of a sequined dress worn by 12-year-old Parka Wilday, who made the journey to Langley Park from Westminster to be able to take in this year's fireworks extravaganza.

Parka said she headed down every year with her family and her favourite part of the festivities was the fireworks.

Police have had a strong visible presence in the area, with families making up most of the crowd at the foreshore.

Few examples of drinking, even in this year's designated areas could be spotted by The West Australian.

Crowds are continuing to flow into the city but several good vantage spots remain for people still contemplating heading into the city.

Necks craned towards the sky, the crowds on the South Perth foreshore watched on as a skydiver plummeted from the sky streaming coloured smoke and the Australian flag flying behind him earlier today.

It was the start of a ceremony welcoming about 90 new citizens to Australia this morning with a mass swearing-in at Sir James Mitchell Park, where many pledged their loyalty to the nation.

The flag was raised as WA Governor Malcolm McCusker and his predecessor Dr Ken Michael watched on.

As sausages gently sizzled in the background in preparation for the Lion’s Club fundraiser breakfast, an excited buzz of many languages reached crescendo after the new Australians recited their oaths.

In an address, Mr McCusker spoke of the freedoms Australian citizens enjoy.

“What Australians have celebrated since 1946, the year after World War II, is that we are fortunate enough to live in a democratic and free country governed by the rule of law,” the West Australian Governor said.

“Citizens are not subject to arbitrary imprisonment or arrest without trial, and a justice system free of corruption.

“People cherish human rights, and the right of free speech, no matter how unpopular, or politically incorrect some of the comments may be.

"As Voltaire said once, 'I disagree with everything you have to say, but I lay down my life for the right for you to say it'."

Many Aussies have flocked to the beach to cool down in rising temperatures, while others gathered in parks and reserves around the State to enjoy free activities.

Firefighters scrambled to Kings Park after the traditional midday 21-gun salute caused a passerby to call triple-zero fearing the gunsmoke was in fact a bushfire.

Crews spoke with a ranger who confirmed the billowing smoke was from the guns, causing other crews to be stood down.

In a separate incident, firefighters rushed to The Shed after an alarm was activated by a barbecue.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has warned people to be careful when barbecuing and camping during hot, dry and windy conditions this weekend.

The West Australian

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