For the past 34 years Perth has been the site of the country’s largest Australia Day celebrations: a fireworks spectacular known as ‘Skyworks’. The City of Perth hosts the event which covers sites on Perth’s Swan River foreshore at Matilda Bay, Langley Park, Kings Park and the South Perth Foreshore.The Challenge
Skyworks itself lasts from 8pm to 8.30 pm, during which the city enjoys a fireworks show similar to the Sydney New Year’s Eve display. However, the Skyworks festival operates all afternoon and features bands, Aboriginal dances groups, extreme motorcycling displays, markets and food stalls.
Around 300,000 people attend Skyworks, and they range from families with children and senior citizens, to young people and community groups. They all require safety and amenities in the public areas, so the City of Perth has to provide high-quality temporary infrastructure (toilets, electrical power, lighting, water stations) and facilities for police and ambulance. The City of Perth also operates a range of services such as lost children and City Rangers.The Solution
With so many people attending at the height of summer, the first challenge for Skyworks was the heat. While 2018 did not rise much above 30˚Celsius, Australia Day 2017 had been over 40˚Celsius, so Skyworks had to ensure there was cover for the people working at the event, as well as drink-refill stations. Also provided were air-conditioned spaces for police, ambulance and the City of Perth employees.
The event lasted into the night, so a lot of lighting was required. And to drive the lighting and other power requirements, Skyworks needed a fleet of generators that powered everything from the main stage to the refrigerators in the eight police compounds.
The main equipment supplier to Skyworks is Coates Hire, which in 2018 provided 92 lighting towers, 56 generators, 304 fresh water toilets, 10 toilet blocks, 13 office buildings and eight trailer-mounted message boards for traffic flow.
Dave Fry, Manager - Perth Customer Support Centre and Belmont Workshop, says the company had one week to deliver and install the Skyworks temporary infrastructure and two days to pack up and remove the equipment after the event. So the planning and plant-acquisition started six months before the installation.
“It’s a turnkey contract,” says Fry. “We install to the City of Perth’s map, and we manage and service the entire temporary infrastructure.”
Coates Hire plumbed-in the toilets and water stations and wired-up the generators and lights. The company then ran on-site teams to service the toilets and the generators and had an on-site management team and a senior mechanic and electrician to ensure hiccups were resolved quickly by crews in golf buggies and utes.
“With 300,000 people, you have a small city. The infrastructure might be temporary but it has to be robust and high-quality and you need proven people to keep it running. You can’t have the lights going out.”
Fry says Coates Hire has been the main equipment supplier to Skyworks for many years, and the company has earned a reputation for reliability and quality. And for all the hardware, the hardest work is done in the planning stages, with the City of Perth.
“We start the planning process in July,” says Fry. “That’s where success comes from - planning for the right number of toilets and lights, and ensuring you have sufficient generators to power everything.”
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