Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

January 2nd 2009
Alma booze party leads to "huge amount of prosecutions"

Alma Bay the following day after a big council clean-up Magnetic Island Police Senior Sergeant Kerry Kraut will be approaching Townsville City Council to seek a lot more lighting at Alma Bay following the unofficial teenage party which occurred there on new years eve. According to Sergeant Kraut between 400 and 500, 14 to 17 year olds, many from Townsville, arrived at the beach for a party which resulted in what he described as a "huge amount of prosecutions".

One witness, Libby Illidge from Nelly Bay, who drove a friend to retrieve an intoxicated son from the party, was, "just amazed," by the scene.

"You know how when you see, in the movies, a mass evacuation of refugees. It was like that. There were people all over the road four or five abreast, walking along. You had to slow right down to get through.

"They were young, 15 to 17 perhaps and obviously very happy and cheery but intoxicated," said Libby who added, "if there had been violence," it could have got out of control quite easily.

There were 12 police on Magnetic Island on new years eve and Sergeant Kerry Kraut was at Alma Bay. He told Magnetic Times, "There were a huge amount of prosecutions. 18 juveniles received liquor infringement notices - a $220 fine for underage possession of alcohol."

Sergeant Kraut said he "lost count" of the number of bottles containing alcohol that police upended and that there were, "a lot more young people who were cautioned but not prosecuted due to the large numbers involved".

But while booze was clearly a big problem, according to Kerry Kraut, "There were no reports of serious assaults," but added, "There were a few incidents of agro in front of the Surf Club and a few alleged minor assaults"

Sergeant Kraut said, "I heard (from a reliable source) that kids were offering $100 for a carton of beer to people who had just been to the Arcadia Hotel bottleshop.

"Many (of the underage drinkers) tried to give a dodgey name and the majority were not carrying ID."

Supplying liquor to underage people, attracts a $600 fine.

Sergeant Kraut also commented on the darkness of Alma Bay at night. ""It is extremely dark at night and that can shroud bad behaviour. I will be recommending that council light it up like a Christmas tree."

By daylight the beach was, according to witnesses, pretty well empty of revellers but, in their place, was a huge mess with the beach literally covered with garbage. One local, Marie de Monchaux, told Magnetic Times, "The revellers had taken the red flag (warning swimmers that the beach had been closed due to Irukandji jellyfish being present in the water). The Council workers told us to wear shoes as there was so much broken glass left behind." Large amounts of garbage were also reported to have been strewn along Hayles Aveneue.

Story & photo: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Alma booze party leads to "huge amount of prosecutions"
Wendy Tubman
January 2nd 2009
While I empathize with the police officers in their difficult work of controlling a 'happy new year' occasion, and commend their approach and diligence, I query whether or not lighting up Alma Bay 'like a Christmas tree' is the optimal solution. At a time when (appropriately) we are all being asked to limit our use of electricity for environmental but also financial reasons, and when we live in an area of nesting turtles (disturbed by light pollution), and when we are striving to retain an ecologically sensitive ambience on the island, is floodlighting the only - or the best - solution? Could we not introduce (temporary) 'alcohol-free' zones - or ban the use of glass bottles in public places, for example. Both solutions seem to work elsewhere - and I'm sure there are other ideas that could be considered.

It may also be time for the island as a whole to have a debate on whether or not for some reason the island is developing (has developed?) a reputation as the place to come to get 'wasted'. I would not be the first to suggest that the full moon parties have now got out of hand - and deliver greater costs to the island (in terms of noise, litter, vandalism etc) than benefits.

Let's have a re-think before we implement solutions. But, once again, thanks to 'the coppers' for the grand job that they do on the island.
Chris C
January 2nd 2009
As one who witnessed the arrival of a couple of boat loads of revellers from the mainland, I'd suggest that next NYE police checking all arrivals especially for underage kids with alcohol would be a good preventative use of those resources.

On a separate but related matter I'm getting sick and tired of witnessing the trashing of the nelly bay foreshore and Sooning Street every full moon party. From what I've seen, X-base makes a fortune on those evenings (the profits from which are all expatriated off-shore with the net result of the employment of no more than a couple of locals). In return for that "biggest profit of the month" the company appears to take no responsibility for the impact on the adjoining beach, foreshore and residents.

So next full-moon party the kids & I are going to do a bit of before & after photo journalism on the trashing of Nelly Bay which we'll then send to the EPA, Liquor Licensing, GBRMPA, Council and local members (as well as to MT of course).

Mind you - prehaps this threat of local action might in itself spur the owners to take greater responsibility for how they make and take profits from the island - but then they'd have to be participating in Island Life to even notice the threat wouldn't they !!!!
January 4th 2009
Umm...forgive me for asking but, where were the parents of all these kids? If they are underage then surely the parents should know where they are and what exactly they are doing? Or maybe I am just old-fashioned?

Simple solution to the problem of underage parties on the island - seeing as its nearly always the Townsville yobs that come over and trash the island, then why not have a system whereby in order to travel on the ferry ID must be shown if you are under 18...then a record is kept of who is coming and going, under-18's must prove that they are not carrying alcohol - its not that hard to spot, surely!!!

On certain nights such as New Years Eve then maybe it should be the case that under-18's who are not residents of Magnetic Island should only be allowed to visit if they have a guarantor who IS an island and can verify that the child is visiting for legitimate purposes (i.e not wreckless partying and underage drinking).
Chris C
January 4th 2009
Further to my earlier comments - by my estimate Xbase would have taken a minimum of $100,000 on NYE.

All profits of course would be taken by the owners, the French based Accor Group - the lagest hotel chain in the world.

Is anyone aware of any contribution, financial or otherwise they have made to the Island
Steven Moore
January 4th 2009
Where are there parents when this happens.Who lets there 14-17 year old kids go across to the island with out suppervision. Once again the parents need a kick in the pants.Like a full moon party 400-500 kids coming across on the ferry should set alarm bell off dont you think.
AL Goater
January 5th 2009
Driving a Taxi on New Years Eve, Well first of all, being spat at, bottles and cans being thrown at the cab, and having bottles and drinking glasses being smashed on the road to drive through, then next, 4 youths on each side of the cab fighting to get into he cab. banging on the sides with fists. Youths walking all over the roads jumping in front of the car, On Marine Parade towards Nelly Bay, trying to avoid rubish bins emptied on the road. along with Guide post from the sides of the road placed thrown in my path,Also on the bends on the hill, kids from 14 years old to 17 all across the road. .Some came across from the mainland with large bags full of cans of drink. That was the Arcadia side. Nelly bay side was full of 17 years to 40 year olds most of them getting off the boat already absoloutly drunk, hardly able to stand. How some of them got on the boat beats me,here from 8.30pm they drank till 5am or 6am in the morning doing exactly what the kids were doing on the Nelly Bay roads. Who would want to live in town with that lot.
January 5th 2009
Chris C, I can understand your point of view in regards to the full moon parties but as a resident of Sooning St. I have witnessed much more vandalism, littering and anti social behaviour as a direct result of these underage parties (which seem to be occuring on an ever more frequent basis) as opposed to the full moon parties. I've even had one obviously intoxicated youth who was the son of a well known local wander into my yard and up to a group of adults who were sitting down enjoying a nice meal and a few vinos and ask for cigarrettes. After the shock wore off one of the guests recognised him and strongly advised that he high tail it home or we could ring his father for him and organise him to collect him. Naturally the now white faced youth chose the first option and promplty legged it.
My point is though that there is unfortuneately litter all around the island and by your reasoning it is the operators responsibility to be accountable for the untidy and irresponsible habits of its customers even after they have left the premises. It must be kept in mind that for these people to attend a full moon party they have travelled over on a ferry, have paid for accomodation and probably shopped at local stores for food, alcohol and other items. Would it not be fair that all of these businesses take some responsibility as well as these same people are also customers of theirs and much of the rubbish I've picked up (bottles, cans, food wrapping etc.) are not available at Base and hence have been supplied by other business operators weather local or Townsville based. If you are truly serious about cleaning up the island and not just the strip of Nelly that you walk along then shouldn't all businesses that contribute be held accountable and perhaps pay a monthly littering fee for the cost of employing someone to manage the waste? I see your comments as being specifcally targeted at Base as your personal opposition to Full Moon parties and not as a genuine solution to the littering or anti social behaviour problems as mentioned in this article.
January 5th 2009
FAIR GO, its seems for some, any opportunity to have a go at "Base Maghnetic" too good to miss.

Back to the article published where I note Base was not mentioned...

I had a roadside stall selling my "glowies & flashies" on NYE opposite Alma for about an hour and witnessed bus loads of youths attending the party down in the dark of Alma Park. The light at the BBQ closest to the bus stop wasn't working & with nearly no moon its was very dark and the suggestion of lighting up Alma on such occasions a great idea, I would imagine a lot safer solution for those involved in controlling the underage teens having a bit of fun. Teens I might add, not just from Townsville, there were loads of local teens there too.

Was there any event organised for the NYE celebrations for under 18's in Town or the Island? Perhaps if an attractive option on offer for those not yet of age could be a solution rather than an unorganised event like the one on offer on Wednesday night. An organised event could control flow of rubbish, booze and keep teens safer without the hysteria and stress. Alma has after all been the meeting place on Magnetic for teens for as far back as I can remember (I attended a few meets in Alma in my teens many moons ago). I just feel that preventing fun on the island or otherwise is not a workable option, mischief will always find its way, we need to compromise to keep it clean & safe.

January 8th 2009
There really needs to be a supervised event organised for the in Betweens, who want to celebrate the Ending of the Old and the Beginning of the New Year,: 'MAYBE" a
Blue Light Disco at Alma , there are some wonderfully Talented Young Musicians on the Island,One only has to go to the monthly Muso`s
Club held at the R.S.L.Club to see and hear the Great music they perform,
We all say the young ones should be home at that age, the New Year is a one-off once a year,and young people, no younger than 14 and up to 17
would love to have an "Orgenised Event"with adult Supervision for them to Welcome in the New Year,being entertained by their own Local Stars of the Island,
I dont think they intentionally want to become Boozed-Up trouble making louts,but because they put themselfs into situations that they shoudnt be in,the temptation to drink and pop pills or whatever happens to be where they shouldnt be at in the first place and they think they are COOL so they join in,I think there is a huge need to provide our Youth with a Venue where they too can celebrate and enjoy this Out with the Old in with the New time of the year,
My children are all well past this exciting in Between age,but I would gladly put my hand up to help Volunteer for such an Event for these young people if Something could be Organised for them in the Future.

January 12th 2009
Patricia we should put our heads together, never too early to organize an event for next year with anyone else who is willing to chip in.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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