Canberra pharmacy balloon lifts off for 2024

The Canberra skyline turned into a sea of colour this weekend with the first days of the Enlighten Canberra Balloon Spectacular kicking off. Capital Chemist balloon was among those gracing the skies taking pride of place amongst roughly 50 balloons taking part in the annual event.

But why does a pharmacy group have a hot air balloon? CEO Andrew Topp explains “we don’t actually own the balloon; for that you need to be a licensed pilot with skills, training and insurance. A local Canberra pharmacist, Amanda Galbraith has the required skill set and her family owns the balloon; we have partnered with her for nearly 20 years, effectively sponsoring the ballon envelope (the inflated portion)”.

The balloons gather on the Patrick White lawns in front of Old Parliament House at around 6am each morning in early March; if weather conditions are suitable they launch en masse by 7am and provide a spectacular sky show for territory residents on their way to work.

Reports from 2024 balloon pilots suggest that crowds for the first few days this year have been well above previous years. Even if weather conditions preclude flying, the balloons often still inflate while tethered, which allows the public to see them up close but on the ground.

The Capital Chemist balloon has a bit of a reputation for being cheeky, often being the centre of attention with its lake antics; thanks to the skill of the Galbraith family pilots they will often bounce into the lake, and at times town dozens of kayakers and paddleboarders which adds an extra thrill to the event for onlookers.



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