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.