The skyshows were held in the late 80’s, originally run by 3XY then later Fox FM on the Australia Day weekend (1985 or 1986 through 1989). The events were a coordination of light (fireworks) and sound (from the radio station), and blasted around the lake.
This was a major recruiting event for the Australian Army, so there were static displays of vehicles (including Leopard Tanks), engineers with pontoon bridges, Commando’s parachuting in or doing hot insertions from helicopters. 2/15 Field Regiment was invited to provide both a static display of guns and blank firing in support of the music score.
RHQ was based at Batman Ave and that’s where we assembled for the trip to Albert Park Lake. It was the only time I recall getting a police escort with police bikes racing along and closing off the intersections so we could drive on through with the Mogs and M2A2s.
The council had cordoned off an area beside the lake for us to park, dismount and get the guns in. One year there was an unattended car parked in the middle of the cordoned off area. We called the police and there was a huge commotion, until the owner sheepishly appeared to move his car.
The guns were to be parked in line facing into the lake. But there was a huge concrete edge (gutter) that you couldn’t back the guns over. One year we had to put the guns behind a Land Rover and drive them down to a gate and along the foreshore, one by one. It was very slow. The following year, someone had built some ramps. Getting the guns out was easy, manhandle them up to the edge of the road, hook them in then bounce them over the gutter.
One of the highlights of the evening was the 1812th Overture synchronised with fireworks and our guns supporting it. I was the Firing Officer (GPO) and had a white glove on. The numbers one would watch my point to them with the gloved hand to indicate when they should fire. There’s one point when all the guns are firing very quickly together and I suspect we missed one round. But it was inspiring and a highlight of the GPO role.