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16 August 2005
Cracker Night
In Darwin, Territory Day is celebrated every year with everyone letting off their own fireworks, or crackers as they're known.

CLAIRE MACKAY: It's the one day of the year for fireworks, and wherever you are in the Territory, there's no missing it.

In Darwin, crowds gather at Mindil Beach to indulge in cracker chaos, and whether the thrill's in setting off the fireworks, or marvelling at the display, the colourful explosions never cease to delight.

MAN: The ones from Mindil Beach were fantastic. I mean the final ones that just lit up the sky. It was like July 4 I suppose in America. It was amazing.

MAN: Good night for the kids. Good to bring the family out, it's a good show. Territory Day, you should enjoy it.

WOMAN: I think it's great. It's a good night, people are enjoying their self, and kids love it, absolutely.

CLAIRE MACKAY: This self-confessed fireworks fan even knows his favourite cracker.

YOUNG BOY: The bee one, because it goes bzzzz and goes up and my dad got hit by one.

CLAIRE MACKAY: Did he really?

How'd that happen?

YOUNG BOY: Well somebody was silly and they put it near him and he got hit.

CLAIRE MACKAY: Have you been pretty careful with your fireworks, then?

YOUNG BOY: Yep. I wouldn't be silly with fire.

CLAIRE MACKAY: The fuses had barely been lit when the first grassfires were reported.

For Territory firefighters it's a long and busy night.

At Cullen Bay, the crews are faced with a very large bonfire on a vacant block.

There's not much high grass in the area but the blaze needs to be contained.

Most of the emergency callouts are for grassfires caused by wayward fireworks.

And where there are crackers out of control there's canine chaos too.

The noise on a night like this drives dozens of frightened dogs to do the dash.

It was a long night for these dogs.

With no identification on them, they've ended up at the RSPCA.

And the drama isn't over yet.

The RSPCA vet says disoriented dogs will continue turning up for the next few days.

story notes

 fantastic / amazing
Words we use to say that something is very good or wonderful are fantastic, amazing, great, fabulous, or brilliant.

The past tense of the irregular verb light.
more information: light

 Territory Day
That's the day in 1978 when the Northern Territory got its own government.

The fuses are the wicks, or the part of a cracker that you light.

only just

The past participle of the irregular verb light.
more information: light

 out of control
Out of control is an adjective. It means not being controlled by anything. If a situation is out of control, it is disordered, confused, messy or even chaotic.

 canine chaos
Chaos is a noun. It describes a situation that is out of control. It means disorder, confusion or mess.
Canine means dog. Canine chaos means that the dogs can't be controlled by anyone.

 do the dash
To do the dash means to run away or to run off.