Emotional images. No soundtrack. One type of firework.
And Sydney still knows how to capture our hearts.
An image of Australian solidarity.
There was no fireworks off the Sydney Opera House or Overseas Passenger Terminal this year. Nor was there a C-130 Hercules flyover & flare dispense (which would not have happened anyway due to that aircraft type being involved in a fatal crash whilst fighting fires in the Snowy Mountains/Australian Alps earlier this week).
But what we saw instead was still Sydney Spectacular: the 1st use of Sydney Opera House western sail projections during the event for the 1st time ever. It was also the 2nd usage of them during a Sydney Harbour fireworks display ever (the 1st being the International Fleet Review Spectacular in 2013).
Of particular note, was the 1st ever projection of the Aboriginal Flag on the Sydney Opera House.
The Australian Flag has been projected onto the Sydney Opera House once already. Again, during the International Fleet Review Spectacular in 2013.
Unlike the International Fleet Review Spectacular in 2013, as you might have realised by now, the eastern sails of the Sydney Opera House were not used for projections during ‘Australia Day Live 2020’. The eastern sails have only been ever used once (at the International Fleet Review Spectacular) so their non-usage is not a surprise given how rare there usage is.
Also, as a complete surprise, was the 1st usage of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for pyrotechnics on Australia Day since 1988, which was until today the only other time it used on Australia Day.
It briefly featured during a minute’s silence for the victims of the 2019/2020 bushfire season in Australia. Accompanied by the projection of the Australian flag on the Sydney Opera House’s western sails (despite 3 Americans also being killed fighting fires in the past week), only 1 firing of white stationary flares were used along the upper arch for the 1 sole minute of silence. A similar pyrotechnic effect was done during the 1988 show, though not in silence but the tunes of Banjo Paterson’s Waltzing Matilda:
The minute silence was also accompanied by the same pyrotechnic on jet-skis, the yachts (handheld on those vessels) as well as handheld on the Sydney Opera House’s Northern Forecourt. Handheld flares were held by State Emergency Service volunteers & crew members of the vessels on the Harbour.
The pyrotechnics were done by Foti Fireworks.
A separate Sydney Opera House western sails projection show was done as a tribute to all the firefighters, helpers & victims. It was set to True Blue by John Williamson, who also was there performing his iconic song. A moving and emotional tribute it was.
If you missed ‘Australia Day Live’, the full 2 hour event can be seen below. The minute silence featuring the Sydney Harbour Bridge pyrotechnics is at 01:07:18, barge fireworks begin from 0:31:57 and appear occasionally until the finale at 01:50:27 while the Sydney Opera House western sail projections begin with the Aboriginal Flag at 00:53:15 and run with varying projections till the show’s conclusion. The True Blue tribute projection show is at 01:38:51:
‘Australia Day Live’, which is completely focused on Circular Quay, is the concluding event of ‘Australia Day In Sydney’.
We designated ‘Australia Day Live’ a ‘flagship’ Sydney Spectacular last year and it carried that status onto this year’s edition. This status means it is just as spectacular as Sydney New Year’s Eve & Vivid Sydney.
It is still a ‘made-for-television’ event though, which is it’s major flaw in terms of events. However, as a TV production, it is really well done. You can read more on our opinion on that in our article about last year’s edition.
Lastly for your information, here are some known milestones to look forward to this year:
- Mid-March – Vivid Sydney 2020 media launch
- 8:30pm 28 March – Earth Hour (Lights of landmarks are turned off for 1 hour)
- 7:30pm, 27 March to 26 April – Handa Opera On Sydney Harbour: La Traviata (A nightly performance on Sydney Harbour complete with fireworks. Tickets on sale now)
- 4 to 10 May – United Nations Global Road Safety Week (Yellow Sydney Harbour Bridge illumination)
- 22 May to 13 June – Vivid Sydney
- 28 September to 4 October – NRL Grand Final Week (Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections)
- 11 November – Remembrance Day (Projections of poppies on the Sydney Opera House)
- 12 or 14 November – Diwali (Yellow-gold Sydney Opera House illumination)
- 21 November to 26 December – Sydney Christmas (Christmas-themed projection & light shows with a few fireworks displays)
- Early December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 Media Launch
- Mid December – Australia Day In Sydney 2021 Program Announced
- Late December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 White Bay Media Call
- 31st December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020
The above may change as whilst most are annual events, some have not yet been formally announced as occurring this year.
And remember, nearly every night this year, you can see Badu Gili (a projection show on the Bennelong sail of the Sydney Opera House), occasional projection shows on the Australian National Maritime Museum & a light show on Luna Park Sydney’s Ferris Wheel. There are also occasional simple fireworks displays on Sydney Harbour including the regular Saturday night fireworks in Darling Harbour.
So until next time, goodbye!