Stabbings, brawls and drug overdoses marred New Year’s Eve celebrations in southeast Queensland last night.
Authorities have described the majority of revellers across the state as well-behaved, with the major entertainment precincts remaining ‘‘unusually quiet’’.
NYE fireworks billed as 'bigger' than ever
A colourful celebration on the Brisbane River to mark the new year. Photo: Reece Eberhard
A 26-year-old man was charged with grievous bodily harm after allegedly stomping on the head of a 34-year-old man during a fight outside a Gold Coast pub about 2.30am.
The victim was taken to hospital in a critical condition and his alleged attacker will front Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
The incident followed a stabbing in the nearby Gold Coast suburb of Ashmore about an hour earlier that left a 26-year-old man with wounds to his arm and upper abdomen.
Acting Chief Superintendent Mark Ainsworth said it was one of six stabbing incidents across the southeast.
In Brisbane’s CBD, a woman was mugged walking along Adelaide Street about 3am.
Her handbag was stolen after she was pushed to the ground, but police later arrested her attackers and retrieved her belongings.
And a boy is in hospital with serious head and abdominal injuries after he was robbed and bashed by a group of youths south of Brisbane.
Meanwhile, ambulance paramedics attended to dozens of injured and intoxicated party-goers, dealing with 14 drug overdoses and 38 assaults throughout the night.
There were 520 triple-0 calls for ambulances between midnight and 7am from across the city.
Despite the many calls for help, Queensland Ambulance Service regional operations manager Matt McGregor said New Year’s Eve was ‘‘unusually quiet’’, especially in the traditional entertainment precincts.
‘‘You could say it was just like any busy Saturday night,’’ he said.
‘‘Brisbane was unusually quiet until about 11.30pm, but then it became quite busy.’’
Despite free transport and the promise of a "surprising" fireworks spectacular, crowd numbers at Queensland’s main New Year’s Eve event at South Bank were reportedly down on last year.
About 65,000 revellers turned up to the riverbank at South Bank to watch laser light shows and fireworks, compared with the 80,000-strong crowd last year.
But small turnouts to the major celebration hot spots meant there was little trouble overall, Superintendent Ainsworth said.
While there were several arrests made for public nuisance-type offences, most people behaved themselves, he said.
Police arrested 62 people on 89 charges in Brisbane and 121 people on 131 charges throughout the Gold Coast.
‘‘It’s quite encouraging to see from a police point of view ... the high standards of behaviour from members of the public,’’ Superintendent Ainsworth said.
For those who did turn up, public transport was free of charge until 5.30am on New Year’s Day.
South Bank’s midnight fireworks display was delayed, owing to a helicopter needing the airspace above the Brisbane River to deliver a patient to nearby hospital.
But once the show was under way, the sky lit up over South Bank.
On the Gold Coast, cartoon superheroes shone on a high-rise wall as fireworks lit up the beachfront, before an estimated 50,000 people.
Organisers went with a superheroes theme for this year’s family party, hoping to encourage children to attend as their favourite superhero and several little Spidermen and Supermen could be seen among the crowd.
‘‘It’s going to be a big year, bring on 2013,’’ said Coomera resident Steve Hoffmann, who brought his wife and son to the display.
The event was one of several held up and down the Gold Coast.
Cairns, meantime, also also suffered a drop in numbers because of wet weather during the day.
While the heavy rain headed south leaving clear skies at midnight for revellers in Cairns and Townsville, other centres such as Mackay and Bowen faced a damp start to 2013.
- with AAP