Each major city around Australia holds New Year's Eve celebrations, usually accompanied by a fireworks display amongst other events. Gloucester Park, a racecourse in central Perth, is the largest and most recognised display in the Western Australian city. In Brisbane, 50,000 people annually gather at sites around the Brisbane River in the city to watch a fireworks display while events are held in the city and at Southbank.
The Brisbane River is the longest river in south east Queensland, Australia, and flows through the city of Brisbane, before emptying into Moreton Bay. John Oxley was the first European to explore the river who named it after the Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane in 1823. The penal colony of Moreton Bay later adopted the same name. Early travellers along the waterway admired the natural beauty, abundant fish and rich vegetation alongs its banks. From 1862 the Brisbane River has been dredged for navigation purposes. The river served as an important carriageway between Brisbane and Ipswich before a railway linking the towns was built in 1875. By the late 1920s, water quality in the river was significantly deteriorated. The river contains excess nutrients, hydrocarbons, pesticides, bacteria and is murky.
South Bank is a cultural, educational and recreational precinct in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The precinct is located in the suburb of South Brisbane, on the southern bank of the Brisbane River. The South Bank Parklands, which were established on the former site of World Expo 88, are one of Brisbane's most popular tourist attractions. The parklands are home to many restaurants and cafés as well as landmarks such as the Queensland Conservatorium, the Wheel of Brisbane, the Nepal Peace Pagoda, Streets Beach (a free man-made swimming area), and the Grand Arbour. Approximately 11,000,000 people visit the South Bank Parklands each year.