The chaotic scene near Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head yesterday as fighting broke out amongst the crowd. Police estimate up to 500 people were involved in the fighting.
The chaotic scene near Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head yesterday as fighting broke out amongst the crowd. Police estimate up to 500 people were involved in the fighting. Gareth Cody

The drunken brawl that 'ruined' Australia Day: FLASHBACK

ALCOHOL-fuelled violence marred Australia Day celebrations at Lennox Head when tensions reached boiling point and exploded into a drunken brawl of up to 500 people.

Today marks nine years since the horrific fights erupted at the Lake Ainsworth foreshore with 30 separate calls made to police complaining of heavy drinking by a large group of teens.

Heavy drinking coupled with escalating hostility between young revellers from Lennox Head and Evans Head triggered the violence, witnesses to the boozy brawl told The Northern Star at the time.

Of the hundreds involved, only two people were arrested by early evening after police arrived on scene just after 5pm.

It was understood that the brawls, which involved many young people suspected to be under 18, was reignited by a pre-Christmas fight.

Lennox Head Surf Life Saving Club volunteers watched on from across the road as the afternoon descended into violence.

"It was a huge gathering of very young people with a lot of alcohol," surf life saver Tree Beckerleg said. "Very, very young girls - at least 13 years old. Where are their parents?"

Ballina resident Mark Miller told The Northern Star on January 27, 2009 that non-locals had gone to Lennox "and harassed the locals for space".

"They wanted to use the barbecues. It ruined Australia Day," he said.

Fast forward nine years, locals and visitors alike hope history doesn't repeat itself.



Photos, lies and fears: Dead teacher mystery deepens

premium_icon Photos, lies and fears: Dead teacher mystery deepens

Man charged over kidnapping of Anthony Stott denied bail

Chance of severe thunderstorm tonight on Northern Rivers

premium_icon Chance of severe thunderstorm tonight on Northern Rivers

THE storm could bring hail to parts of the Northern Rivers.

Collapsed bridge and $2M road damage after storms

premium_icon Collapsed bridge and $2M road damage after storms

COUNCILS budget to repair damaged road infrastructure.