A New ‘Flagship Sydney Spectacular’ Is Born…

This photograph from Instagram user ‘GLANZPUNKT’ says it all.

A new ‘flagship Sydney Spectacular’ is born…

In a time when the other 2 ‘flagship Sydney Spectaculars’, Sydney New Year’s Eve and Vivid Sydney, are in decline, ‘Australia Day Live’ has grown since 2015 to reach this new level of ‘Sydney Spectacular’.

So we now have each year, in terms of ‘flagship Sydney Spectaculars’:

  • Vivid Sydney (Late May to mid-June)
  • Sydney New Year’s Eve (The 31st of December to the 1st of January)
  • Australia Day Live (The 26th of January)

That photograph above does sum up the event’s new scale but it is missing 1 new event element in the photograph – the Hercules aircraft flare dispense – which started the 1st fireworks display of the night:

Other major new event elements included:

  • Boats on Sydney Harbour, most likely from the Sydney New Year’s Eve 2018 – The Pulse Of Sydney: Harbour Of Light Parade, had a synchronised light show.
  • Overseas Passenger Terminal was used for fireworks
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge had an synchronised light show
  • Sydney Opera House was used for fireworks

If you missed ‘Australia Day Live’, the full 2 hour event can be seen below:

‘Australia Day Live’ is the concluding event of  ‘Australia Day In Sydney’, which is also getting larger. But notably, the overall event will have to for ‘Australia Day Live’ to get any larger.

‘Australia Day Live’ is completely focused on Circular Quay except briefly for the Hercules aircraft flare dispense. For it to break the boundaries of Circular Quay, significant crowds would need to appear at Mrs Macquaries Point, Bradfield Park & Mary Booth Lookout. Just as importantly, more boats would need to be anchored in Farm Cove, near Fort Denision & in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

To allow for larger crowds, crowds need a reason to go there. All these locations are very far from Circular Quay – Mrs Macquaries Point is separated from Circular Quay by the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is closed at night & the other 2 foreshore vantage points are on the other side of the Harbour. People do watch ‘Australia Day Live’ from these locations already but they are not in significant numbers yet. All 3 are, after all, very far away to see anything but fireworks, which mostly happen for 15 minutes at 9:15pm (All times in this article are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

Unlike Sydney New Year’s Eve, despite the Sydney Opera House now featuring fireworks for ‘Australia Day Live’, there is no need yet to get there early to get a good spot. Last year’s ‘Australia Day Live’ did reach capacity in Circular Quay but that happened half-way through the concert. As far as we are aware, capacity was not reached this year.

This should signal a drop in attendance. And it is easy to see why. If there is 1 flaw with ‘Australia Day Live’, is that it is a ‘made-for-television’ event. The only good place to see ‘Australia Day Live’ is on television or at the Concert itself (so that means you need a ticket & not just be in the vicinity).

If you are around Circular Quay, most of the 2 hours is spent watching a big screen. You might as well watch it on television. The Circular Quay entertainment is split up into 6 distinct shows:

  1. Welcome/Good Times (7:30pm to 7:39pm)
  2. Tug & Yacht Ballet (7:55pm to 8pm)
  3. Sunset Ceremony (8:20pm to 8:30pm)
  4. Tribute To Opera (8:47pm to 8:50pm)
  5. Circular Quay Party (9:08pm to (9:11pm)
  6. Spectacular (9:15pm to 9:30pm)

That’s about 45 minutes of a 2 hour event spent with actual entertainment in front of you and that is not on a big screen.

You might say ‘What about Sydney New Year’s Eve? There is hours between entertainment for that event’.

The difference is that New Year’s Eve is focused around Midnight. Midnight is the whole point of New Year’s Eve. And since Sydney’s Midnight Fireworks are iconic and world famous, people are willing to wait for not just hours but days to see the 12 minute record-breaking fireworks display.

Australia Day is focused around a day – a whole 24 hours. Since ‘Australia Day Live’, as a Circular Quay event rather than the Concert, is promoted as ‘1 event’ rather than ‘5 separate events followed by 1 major fireworks display at 9:15pm)’, you can’t blame the crowd if they leave because they think it’s either over, repetitive or lengthy & thus, boring. The approximately 20 minute breaks between the entertainment is rather disruptive and given most of the earlier entertainment features fireworks, you can’t blame the crowd if they thought they saw the main fireworks display, thought ‘That’s it???’ and left. The lower attendance might also be because the crowd did the same thing last year but waited until the end of the event that time and thought it wasn’t worth the wait this time (Well, they didn’t know how spectacular it would be).

If you got a ticket and were at the actual Concert, it was fine because you get to watch about 8 live performances over the 2 hours taking place on a stage – not a big screen.

The television/Internet broadcast is the same but also had frequent interviews with Australians & feature pieces on Australians and Australia Day.

Essentially, ‘Australia Day Live’ is made up of 4 parts:

  1. Live musical performances
  2. Interviews
  3. Feature pieces
  4. Circular Quay entertainment

The 1st problem needing to be fixed is the inconsistent Circular Quay entertainment. Either by properly advertising it as 6 events at different times over 2 hours instead of 1 2-hour long event or by shifting all the Circular Quay entertainment into 1 bundle, where possible, near 8:45pm or by adding more Circular Quay entertainment so spectators don’t spend 60% of their time staring at a big screen.

The 2nd problem is only if they want to grow the event. To do this, like we said earlier, they need crowds at vantage points further away from Circular Quay. ‘Australia Day Live’ does not have enough prestige yet to have people wait hours at these locations when a better vantage point still has room right up until the event starts. The only way to get a crowd in these locations to expand the overall ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ event.

‘Australia Day In Sydney’ has several events which have a long & significant history but the day can be broken up into 3 distinct event phases:

  1. WulgulOra Morning Ceremony (7:45am to 8:30am)
  2. Salute To Australia (10:45am to 12:15pm) – This includes the Ferrython, Salute To Australia & Tug & Yacht Ballet
  3. Australia Day Live (6:30pm to 9:30pm)

There is a clear 6 hour gap in notable entertainment. There is entertainment but nothing worth the crowd waiting around for. First is In The Sky, a near 2-hour air show but actually features just 3 flyovers: A half-hour helicopter flag display at around 12:20pm; a Qantas A380 flyover at 1:15pm and the Red Berets parachute display at 2pm.

At 12:45pm, the near-hour long Australia Day Harbour Parade begins.  Similar to Sydney New Year’s Eve’s Harbour Of Light Parade, the only difference is that it doesn’t feature lights – just decorations. A big problem is the lack of exclusion zone (for obvious reasons) which cause the Parade to blend in with other Harbour traffic. Also, as it is a Parade, despite lasting nearly an hour, a spectator only sees it for a few minutes.

At 1pm, there is the Tall Ships Race.This is probably something worthy of waiting around for but unlike the Ferrython, it doesn’t start & finish in the same place so unless you are on a boat, you would see either the start or finish but not both. With the finish being the better option to see and the race concluding at around 1:30pm, the near 75 minute wait after the Salute To Australia phase isn’t seen worth it by spectators particularly if they can see the race from another vantage point. They can be on the go.

Essentially, everything between 12:15pm and 2pm, is just watching boats and (very few) aerial displays.

Between 1:30pm and 2pm, the races of the Australia Day Regatta begin near Shark Island. This is a 3 hour event and takes up most of the time before Australia Day Live, finishing no later than 5pm at Shark Island. The fact the race course heads east of Shark Island means it is very far away from the rest of the ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ events and crowds aren’t willing to travel kilometres from Circular Quay to an event that can’t watch (and back) because the Regatta takes up tens of square kilometres stretching from Shark Island to Manly meaning there is no other land vantage point worthy of watching the event from than Shark Island, the start & finish line of the Regatta (so there is limited capacity). The fact the event has several races and intersecting courses means watching from the land can be confusing unless you are at Shark Island too.

So naturally, this means between 2pm and 6:30pm can be rather empty on Sydney Harbour on Australia Day.

But the International Fleet Review Spectactular had just ‘boats and planes’ in the afternoon and lots of people watched that? Yes but it had an ‘anchor’ event – the Spectacular at 7:40pm, which was the biggest multi-medium event on Sydney Harbour at the time. People were waiting all day for that. It provided momentum to the fireworks. Australia Day Live, as we detailed before, isn’t that prestigious yet that people will wait hours for it particularly if the entertainment in the meantime is far away or ‘just passing’.

In the morning between the WulgulOra Morning Ceremony & the Salute To Australia phases, the 10 Kilometre Wheelchair Race in The Rocks, held at 9am, provides suitable entertainment between those 2 phases as it gives a worthy reason for crowds to travel from Barangaroo Reserve, where the Ceremony is held, to Circular Quay, where the Salute To Australia phase is roughly based, so whilst they wait for that next phase to begin, there is at least some ‘half-time’ entertainment that they can watch for a while as it is held on a circuit.

So ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ between 12:15pm & 2pm is entertainment that can be done whilst ‘roaming’ whilst after 2pm, it is rather easily ignored and after 5pm, well there is definitely no entertainment until 6:30pm.

What ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ needs to do, along with our earlier suggestion, is to reorganise the day’s events to the best of their ability so that it provides momentum to the fireworks. These events, ideally held in the late afternoon (but preferably held consistently &/or where relevant all day. After all, it is Australia DAY) and located near Bradfield Park, Mary Booth Lookout & Mrs Macquaries Point, would give crowds a reason to wait there for the fireworks for hours and if the fireworks are just as spectacular as this year and the Concert is fixed up so that people aren’t staring at screens for an hour, it may become prestigious enough that people will wait there for the fireworks, watching that newly placed entertainment and thus allowing the fireworks display to get bigger since more vantage points are now being utilised.

It will take time. There is nothing wrong with the ideas of the existing events – the overall program just needs reconfiguring to allow future growth and again, this will take time. At least 2 years. But if it is delayed & thus affects ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ 2020, it may temporarily halt the overall growth or worse, reverse the trend of growth in ‘Australia Day In Sydney’. That would be disappointing and just when things were getting Spectacular! At least it gave us hope that the annual ‘Sydney Spectaculars’ aren’t declining like we recently thought.

And do not forget the other 2 major challenges for the event – the domestic target audience & the date. But we detailed that in our last article

Anyway, in other news…

Sydney Lunar Festival

Tonight, the Sydney Lunar Festival starts. Formally called the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, the Sydney Harbour Bridge will be lit in festive red & pink every night during the Festival from 8:15pm until 1am in celebration of the Lunar New Year & The Year Of The Pig. The Festival’s final night is on February the 10th.

It is expected the Sydney Opera House will be illuminated red again for the Festival as per tradition.

A fireworks display will accompany the illuminations turning on for the 1st time during the 2019 festival. To occur between 8pm & 9pm, mostly likely at 8:15pm, the fireworks display occurs somewhere on Sydney Harbour, most likely in Farm Cove & will feature most likely just a single barge. It will feature aerial shell fireworks up to 150 millimetres in size.

Conclusion

Again, this concludes our posts. We may return in December to post if Australia Day Live 2020 is announced to be similar to this year’s (that is, Sydney Opera House fireworks &/or Sydney Harbour Bridge light show)

In the meantime, we will just be adding future event information as it arrives on our site, which we will be refreshing over time.

Also in the meantime, we will continue to work to turn this site into a ‘museum’ of the ‘Sydney Spectaculars’. A new chapter may have just begun with Australia Day Live

Lastly for your information, here are some known milestones to look forward to this year:

  • Until 10th February – Sydney Lunar Festival (Sydney Harbour Bridge & Opera House red &/or pink illuminations)
  • Mid-March – Vivid Sydney 2019 media launch
  • 8:30pm 30 March – Earth Hour (Lights of landmarks are turned off for 1 hour)
  • 7:30pm, 22 March to 21 April – Handa Opera On Sydney Harbour: West Side Story (A nightly performance on Sydney Harbour complete with fireworks. Tickets on sale now) ***FIRST TIME THEY ARE DOING A MUSICAL***
  • 6 to 12 May – United Nations Global Road Safety Week – Leadership In Road Safety (Yellow Sydney Harbour Bridge illumination)
  • 24 May to 15 June – Vivid Sydney
  • 27 October – Diwali (Yellow-gold Sydney Opera House illumination)
  • 11 November – Remembrance Day (Projections of poppies on the Sydney Opera House)
  • 23 780ikj to 26 December – Sydney Christmas (Christmas-themed projection & light shows with a few fireworks displays)
  • Early December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 Media Launch
  • Mid December – Australia Day In Sydney 2020 Program Announced
  • Late December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 White Bay Media Call
  • 31st December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019

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), a projection show 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 (Yes, they have returned!).

So until next time, goodbye!

Is ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ On The Verge Of Becoming A ‘Flagship’ ‘Sydney Spectacular’?

That’s right – we are back!

We did not think we will be back so soon to writing full posts.

But alas, this will be temporary as this particular event we are going to discuss in this post only gets attention between December & January…mainly January.

That’s right – it’s the event that will be held tomorrow – Australia Day In Sydney.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, particularly in our previous post, the ‘Sydney Spectaculars’ (as we like to call them) are in decline. There have been only 2 annual ‘flagship’ Sydney Spectaculars ever:

  • Sydney New Year’s Eve (1976 to 1986 & 1989 to the present) and
  • Vivid Sydney (2009 to the present)

The latter is in decline due to attendance beginning to lower due to well the event looking the same and very large crowds (though the latter will likely reduce as the attendance reduces) whilst the former is in decline due to a sudden increase in commercialisation which will, in the future, threat the financing of the event. The commercialisation of Sydney New Year’s Eve will possibly increase even more in this year’s edition.

Coincidentally, Australia Day In Sydney has been the opposite. It has been growing. Here’s the history of, not the date, but the ‘Sydney Spectacular’ side of the day…

On New Year’s Eve (NYE) 1986, a mass murder occurred in The Rocks. This resulted in the cancellation of Sydney NYE as the violence had been growing over the previous 7 years but until then, no murders had occurred.

The cancellation caught Sydneysiders off guard. Seats on NYE cruises were still being sold despite the cancellation being already announced. Suddenly, Sydney had no massive fireworks display & the City pretty much couldn’t cope (figure of speech).

The cancellation was expected to last a few years. Luckily, the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the 1st Fleet was just over a year away so Stephen Hall, the 1986 Sydney NYE director thought ‘Instead of waiting 2 years, why not have 1 giant display on the 26th January 1988 to celebrate the anniversary?’. And that’s what happened:

This was Sydney’s & Australia’s largest fireworks display at the time. It saw the 1st use of the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s upper arch & whilst, in retrospect, you can the technical standards of the Bridge sequence wasn’t as precise and perfect as today, for the time, it was state of the art & left a memorable imprint of the display in the minds of Sydneysiders to this day. Such a imprint that many Sydneysiders consider that display to be bigger than any current Sydney NYE display (I know, right?).

Australia Day In Sydney wasn’t as big after then. Sydney NYE returned the next year & the Bridge returned in 1990 but as part of the NYE display only. I don’t need to tell you all how the history of Sydney NYE evolved from then onwards.

Australia Day In Sydney‘s fireworks displays spread out across Sydney in 1989 to 3 locations: Parramatta, The Domain & Darling Harbour. The latter one grew into the Australia Day Spectacular which lasted until 2017 & became a ‘Sydney Spectacular’ after The Games Of The XXVIIth Olympiad: Sydney 2000. The former two either became a separate event to Australia Day In Sydney or eventually didn’t exist.

In 2014, Australia Day In Sydney re-introduced fireworks on Sydney Harbour for the 1st time since 1988 as part of the P&O cruise ships appearance. This continued until 2016.

Also in 2016, a new nationally-televised concert titled Australia Day – Live At Sydney Opera House was introduced which featured a fireworks display in Circular Quay at it’s conclusion. This was the 1st nationally-televised Australia Day In Sydney fireworks display since 1988 & the most fireworks displays held as part of Australia Day In Sydney (3 – Darling Harbour, Athol Bay (P&O Cruise Ships) & Circular Quay) since 1989.

2017 saw 2 fireworks displays (Darling Harbour & Circular Quay) & the un-eventuated rumour of green & gold projections on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons & the Sydney Opera House.

2018 saw just Circular Quay fireworks held across 2 simultaneous events, the Australia Day – Live At The Sydney Opera House concert & the new Live At The Quay!. The latter has been combined with the former for tomorrow’s edition (though this was the case pretty much in 2018) with it now called simply Australia Day Live.

No doubt the trend showed fireworks in Sydney Harbour on Australia Day were going to become a more regular and more major occurrence and now we are here, 2019, and is it about to become the 3rd ‘flagship’ ‘Sydney Spectacular’?

As you all know, there have been 2 major changes already announced. Firstly, a change in television broadcaster. The past 3 years have been Network 10, now it is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. And, secondly, the ‘WugulOra Morning Ceremony’ will be broadcast for the 1st time ever. But here are the newest changes this year that could see it make the ‘flagship’ criteria in the next few years:

Radio Broadcasts Return

That’s right. If you are down by the Harbour, 89.3 FM will broadcast the audio soundtracks of both Australia Day Live (from 6:30pm, concert begins at 7:32pm) and Salute To Australia (from 11:30am). However, there is a chance this will include an audio description and thus, is designed for people with impaired vision. The Australia Day In Sydney website does not make this clear. However, it could signal that the event may be about to get large in the future as radio is accessible from many locations. The event is currently restricted to Circular Quay, which isn’t a large enough space deserving of a radio broadcast (except for people with impaired vision). The audio description service may be there to test the waters for future & more larger non-audio description radio broadcasts. You can listen to the soundtracks & audio description online by clicking here.

Lights Seen On The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Vivid-like lights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge appeared 2 nights ago. They were not there the previous nights nor last night & they are not the Sydney NYE lights. They stayed the same purple colour all night. Why? We can only guess. Australia Day Live will feature a light show but we didn’t expect one on the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

We can confirm clearly there will be no fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Hercules Flare Dispense

The Royal Australian Air Force has confirmed a flare dispense from a Hercules aircraft will occur above the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 8pm tomorrow night.

Could this be an unofficial ‘reenactment’ of sorts of the iconic F-111 flyover that occurred during The Games Of The XXVIIth Olympiad: Sydney 2000 – Closing Night Harbour Spectacular? The only difference being no fireworks – just a light show?

The last time a flare dispense occurred on Sydney Harbour was in 2013 for the International Fleet Review Spectacular and that was just from Squirrel helicopters!

Don’t know what a Hercules aircraft looks like nor what a flare dispense is?

Well here it is (Flare dispenses are usually done to ensure no heat-seeking weaponry is active and/or will strike the aircraft):

Let’s hope it is just as spectacular!

The Future…

Without a doubt if a light show on the Sydney Harbour Bridge appears tomorrow, Australia Day In Sydney could become a new ‘flagship’ ‘Sydney Spectacular’ in the next few years. The Australia Day Live part of the event will definitely be a ‘flagship’ ‘Sydney Spectacular’ tomorrow if the Sydney Harbour Bridge light show occurs.

TIP: The best vantage point most likely would be the south-western corner of the Sydney Opera House. Thus, allowing you a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay big screen, performances and fireworks & the Concert (located directly behind at the Sydney Opera House’s Southern Forecourt).

The televisual broadcast of the event will need to be improved as the current version of the event does not rate well due to many factors – most notably the fact that Australians are already at their own local Australia Day event. The concert’s line-up is very repetitive due to the fact that most are former singing contest-reality television winners – they have been seen on television too much. They used the same formula during the XXIst Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast 2018 – Closing Ceremony & look how that turned out. It is no wonder that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s NYE concerts have been successful –  it features artists you rarely see on television. The crowds around Circular Quay during the Australia Day Live concert though are large enough for that portion of the event to be rated as a ‘flagship’ ‘Sydney Spectacular’ if the Sydney Harbour Bridge light show occurs during it but not the overall Australia Day In Sydney event …yet.

The overall event still has a low & inconsistent attendance with crowds coming and going throughout the day due to a focus on just the Circular Quay part of Sydney Harbour, events held in many parts of the city and an inconsistent event schedule. You need to always travel when celebrating Australia Day in Sydney. There is no ‘sit down & relax until the fireworks’ like with Sydney NYE which is odd as “sitting down by the Harbour” is quintessentially Australian. Isn’t that what you do on Australia Day then?

Assuming tomorrow’s event is as big as we think it could be, future years could be even bigger. And, if the daytime entertainment is organised in a way that provides momentum to the fireworks, celebrating Australia Day In Sydney may become a ‘must-do’ event.

But there is a problem.

Well, two problems.

Domestic Audience

If the event gets large, it will only be of interest to Australians unless international audiences still just want to see a large fireworks display or light/projection show on Sydney Harbour once in their lives. Sydney NYE is very universal, which is why we at ‘Sydney Spectaculars’ call it ‘The World’s Party’ whilst Australia Day In Sydney is not. It is a very nationalistic event and that is understandable. Australians are likely to be the only ones wanting to attend. However, 1 strength of Australia is that we are the most successful multicultural country on Earth. If the event focuses on Australia’s growing multiculturalism, it may become a more universal event & be more encouraging for international audiences to visit. It is probably a universal truth that Australians produce the best parties (excluding the XXIst Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast 2018 – Closing Ceremony) so we are very confident Australia Day In Sydney could be as successful as Sydney NYE if done correctly.

The Date

As the date of 'Australia Day' is a sensitive issue, if there are any inaccuracies in the section below, just kindly contact us and we will consider your message and rectify anything that we believe makes the below section more historically accurate.

Since 2017, there has been a growing debate on when should Australia Day be held. It is the day when we celebrate Australia. However, there are people who feel the date should be redesignated as it is also the anniversary of when the Indigenous people of the land began to lose their sovereignty due to the arrival of permanent European settlement. We at Sydney Spectaculars pride on historical accuracy so here is the history of the date of Australia Day as far as we are aware.

Since 1901, public holidays in Australia have not been under the control of Australia but the individual Australian states & territories so any change in date must come from each individual state and territory. Australia could place control of public holidays under the Australian Parliament if a constitutional referendum was held to alter the constitution to give the Australian Parliament that power though.

Australia was formed on January 1st 1901 but it was not until the early 1930’s that the States & territories of the Commonwealth Of Australia, one by one, decided to celebrate ‘Australia Day’, a day that celebrates Australia, on the Monday during a long weekend near the 26th January. This meant a previous public holiday of only the state of New South Wales (NSW), called ‘First Landing Day’ or ‘Anniversary Day’ and which was held on exactly the 26th January would be cancelled. That former public holiday celebrated the landing of the 1st Fleet at what is now called Sydney so a clear linkage to the anniversary of the 1st Fleet’s Arrival remained in regards to ‘Australia Day’. ‘First Landing Day’ or ‘Anniversary Day’ was first celebrated in 1818 but it became an annual celebration in 1838.

The date was chosen with that previous public holiday in mind even though the new public holiday was meant to celebrate solely Australia, whose anniversary of it’s creation is January 1st, over 4 weeks prior.

On the 26th January in 1788, the United Kingdom (UK) via Captain Arthur Phillip of the 1st Fleet took possession of the land, which was already home to many Indigenous peoples. The colony of NSW, which was part of the United Kingdom (UK), was not created by Captain Arthur Phillip for nearly another 2 weeks. Nevertheless, the landing of the 1st Fleet at Sydney marked the beginning of a dramatic change in the environment the Indigenous peoples lived in. A change that is still occurring to this day though improvements have been made to rectify certain things (For example, now there are native title claims).

The UK considered the Indigenous population as already ‘British subjects’ (even though the Indigenous population obviously did not know that nor probably did not want to be considered as such anyway at the time) & wanted to establish friendly relations with them but Captain Arthur Phillip did kidnap a few Indigenous people, most notably Bennalong, to ‘establish relations with the overall Indigenous population’ and conflict between the 2 cultures began in the months after the 1st Fleet’s arrival. The arrival of disease dramatically decreased the Indigenous population too though this was accidental. More conflicts & what was later termed, The Stolen Generations, deepened the rift since then though and have prevented the reconciliation between the Indigenous peoples & Australia and the United Kingdom though an apology to The Stolen Generations on behalf of Australia to the Indigenous peoples was issued in 2008.

In 1938, the Indigenous population of Australia called the 26th January a ‘Day Of Mourning’ (because it was the 150th anniversary of the 1st Fleet’s arrival) and from 1988, ‘Invasion Day’. It should be noted that whilst the United Kingdom and later, Australia, always considered the Indigenous population as one of them (that is, British subjects or Australian citizens, despite the Indigenous population not having full citizen/subject rights until the late 1960’s), the Indigenous peoples were & are still ‘separate’ despite living in the same locations or sharing multiple ‘citizenships’ & cultures. Formal recognition of the Indigenous culture & reconciliation between the Indigenous peoples & Australia and the United Kingdom still has to be realised to this day. The United Kingdom formally separated from Australia in 1986. However, they still share the same Monarch, who holds the title of Queen in each country separately.

If there was any doubt about what the date of ‘Australia Day’ symbolised or what the public holiday was celebrating, it was removed in 1988, when all States and territories decided for just that year that ‘Australia Day’ would be celebrated on exactly the 26th January as 1988 was the Bicentenary of the 1st Fleet’s arrival. So this means that evidence shows that as late as 1988 ‘Australia Day’  was celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of the 1st Fleet’s arrival to Sydney rather than Australia.

In 1994, ‘Australia Day’ was moved to exactly the 26th January permanently, most likely for the same reason as the 1988 date change. The only difference being that it wasn’t the 200th anniversary anymore.

In 2016, debate began about what is the right date to celebrate ‘Australia Day’, a day that celebrates Australia. Local governments & Triple J rescheduled their celebrations to days not on the 26th January. The Federal Government threatened local governments that they will remove the right to host citizenship ceremonies as part of their ‘Australia Day’ celebrations if those celebrations are not held exactly on the 26th January. This is a hypocritical view since ‘Australia Day’, for most of it’s history, has not been held on the 26th January exactly. In 2019, this escalated with the Federal Government announcing new rules for citizenship ceremonies which will be implemented in 2020. This probably signals that as late as mid-2016,  most Australians celebrate ‘Australia Day’ for the 1st Fleet arrival anniversary rather than for Australia.

Nevertheless, the trend of the past 2 and a half years shows that a shift in when ‘Australia Day’ should be held is occurring. However, for now, it is only occurring in certain places and particularly in the youth population.

The date is currently the greatest threat to ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ becoming a ‘flagship’ ‘Sydney Spectacular’ as public opinion is shifting rapidly. It’s hard to organise an event without knowing which date it is on & if anyone will attend anyway.

It’s probably fate that 26th January (or any date between the 20th January & 7th February, the date the colony of NSW was formally created) will not be the date ‘Australia Day’ will be celebrated on some time in the future. Some people may feel that 26th January is significant, some don’t. Dates mean different things to different people. To be united as 1 country on 1 day, we need to all come together. If the day we are meant to be united as 1 country is the day we are disunited as 1 country, then something is clearly out of place. Understanding, recognition, reconciliation and unity will help Australia decide an alternative date between the 2nd February & 19th January. We all just have to try.

This, along with the multiculturalism focus we spoke of earlier, will allow ‘Australia Day In Sydney’ to become a ‘flagship’ ‘Sydney Spectacular’ without any issues. It will take time but it is on the verge.

As the date of 'Australia Day' is a sensitive issue, if there are any inaccuracies in the section above, just kindly contact us and we will consider your message and rectify anything that we believe makes the above section more historically accurate.

 

‘Australia Day In Sydney’ Program Launched For 2018

A music, light & fireworks display in Sydney’s Circular Quay, 3 new entertainment precincts & concerts featuring top Australian talent will lead the official Australia Day In Sydney events program launched today by the Minister For Multiculturalism, Ray Williams.

Mister (Mr) Williams said the day focuses on inclusive events that will enable people to reflect on the meaning of Australia Day & celebrate in their own way.

Our Australia Day In Sydney 2018 events program celebrates the vibrant, diverse culture of New South Wales (NSW)” Mr Williams said.

“Australia Day means different things to everyone but above all, it represents an occasion to come together & reflect on what our country means to us”

Minister Williams was joined by entertainers Christine Anu & John Paul Young, Network 10 host Grant Denyer & Australia Day In Sydney Creative Director, John Foreman, to kick off the official countdown to Australia Day In Sydney 2018.

John Foreman said record crowd attendance was anticipated at 3 new precincts, capped off with an all-star concert at the Sydney Opera House & a fireworks finale in Circular Quay.

“It is going to be an incredible show!” Mr Foreman said.

“For the 1st time, people at home will be able to watch the concert together with the Australia Day Spectacular fireworks, following their move from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay”

Australia Day In Sydney begins with the Indigenous WulgulOra Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo, accompanied by the raising of the Aboriginal & Australian flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

At Darling Harbour’s Summer Playground, children’s entertainers, The Wiggles, will perform a morning & afternoon concert before the precinct transforms into a hub of live entertainment with ‘true blue’ bush games, party cover bands & disc jockey sessions.

Circular Quay will come to life with daytime shows on the sea, land & in the air, the Sydney Street Party at The Rocks & new evening event, Live at the Quay!, which will wow observers with live musical performances from top Australian talent choreographed to fireworks & jet-ski shows.

The Sydney Opera House Forecourt will host the concert, Australia Day 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House, with renowned entertainers, Christine Anu, Anthony Callea, Casey Donovan, Marcia Hines, Dami Im, Guy Sebastian & John Paul Young.

Australia Day In Sydney Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb (Australian Police Medal), said that with big crowds expected, enhanced security measures would be in place throughout the day, along with road closures.

“Large crowds are expected to attend events in the Sydney Central Business District & Harbour foreshore areas so please be patient as you make your way around & take advantage of the additional public transport services” said Miss Webb.

Register for the chance to win tickets to The Wiggles & Australia Day 2018 – Live at Sydney Opera House concerts via ticket ballot: www.australiaday.com.au.

The Wiggles concerts at Darling Harbour & the Australia Day 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House concert are supported by the NSW Government via its tourism & major events agency, Destination NSW.

Australia Day 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House will air Friday the 26th of January at 7:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time on 10 & WIN Networks.

To view the full Australia Day In Sydney 2018 program, visit www.australiaday.com.au & join the conversation at www.facebook.com.au/australiaday26www.twitter.com.au/australiaday and www.instagram.com.au/australiaday26.

Media Release: Australia Day In Sydney

Darling Harbour’s ‘Australia Day Spectacular’ Relocated To Circular Quay In Surprise Move

It began in 1989 and in 1990, became the centrepiece fireworks display of Australia Day In Sydney & 27 years later in 2017 moved locations with confirmation coming in a 9th of October 2017 media release ironically titled ‘Darling Harbour To Benefit From Bigger, Brighter Australia Day 2018’  that the ‘Australia Day Spectacular’ will be relocated:

Sydney’s annual fireworks display, ‘The Australia Day Spectacular’, has a new home this coming year in Circular Quay with ‘Live At The Quay!’ becoming part of the live broadcast of the ‘Australia Day In Sydney 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House’ concert on Channel 10.

The “bigger, brighter” positive changes to Darling Harbour’s Australia Day In Sydney celebrations are the addition of an extra The Wiggles concert & an “enhanced entertainment program” as part of the Children’s Festival.

Since 2014…

In 2014, Australia Day In Sydney re-introduced fireworks on Sydney Harbour for the 1st time since 1988 as part of the P&O cruise ships appearance. This continued until 2016.

Also in 2016, a new nationally-televised concert titled Australia Day – Live At Sydney Opera House was introduced which featured a fireworks display in Circular Quay at it’s conclusion. This was the 1st nationally-televised Australia Day In Sydney fireworks display since 1988 & the most fireworks displays held as part of Australia Day In Sydney (3 – Darling Harbour, Athol Bay & Circular Quay) since 1989.

2017 saw 2 fireworks displays (Darling Harbour & Circular Quay) & the un-eventuated rumour of green & gold projections on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons & the Sydney Opera House.

No doubt the trend showed fireworks in Sydney Harbour on Australia Day were going to become a regular and more major occurrence but removing Darling Harbour’s fireworks altogether was far off the horizon in our eyes until that October media release.

This leaves New Year’s Eve & Vivid Sydney as the only events where you can watch fireworks in Darling Harbour. With Vivid‘s future currently looking possibly bleak, it could mean fireworks in Darling Harbour could be reduced to 1 day a year soon compared to 2016 when fireworks were a weekly occurrence.

This sudden reduction may be due to the Harbourside Shopping Centre (they had put on the weekly Saturday night fireworks) putting their revenue into something with more return on investment or maybe with a lot of development occurring around Darling Harbour (Hotels, apartments etc.) the New South Wales (NSW) Government has put restrictions on fireworks usage in Darling Harbour?

A cynical person could say the reduced fireworks frequency is to increase prices of apartments, hotels etc. around Darling Harbour by providing a more quieter night-time experience for residents/guests despite Darling Harbour originally being designed as a tourism area.

Back to the event though, Darling Harbour has a capacity of 40,000 people while the combined vantage points for Circular Quay is around 100,000 people. However, with the fireworks in Circular Quay rather than in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge some views might be obscured due to the ferry wharves & the Australia Day 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House concert (which would also act as a mental barrier to the north-western areas of the Sydney Opera House).

The hosts of the Australia Day 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House concert are Grant Denyer and Sandra Sully & they will introduce musical artists, Anthony Callea, Marcia Hines, Christine Anu, Guy Sebastian, John Paul Young, Casey Donovan & Dami Im to the stage.

The Australia Day 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House concert is also ticketed by ballot with the ballot closing back on the 18th of January.

The theme for Australia Day In Sydney 2018 is Everyone, Every Story. Organisers are expecting record attendance.

‘Live At The Quay!’

2018 sees Circular Quay being the main home of the Australia Day In Sydney fireworks with the new Live At The Quay event which features the well-known Australia Day Spectacular.

Pre-fireworks entertainment includes:

  • 6:30pm: The Australian Army Band
  • 7pm: Heritage & Working Boat Parade: Features ‘Australians Of The Year’ Interviews
  • 7:30pm: Welcome To Country & Sydney Cove Cup

The fireworks are likely fired from 5 barges & will feature ground display and 100mm aerial shell fireworks all produced by Foti International Fireworks. To compare, Sydney New Year’s Eve (Sydney NYE), since 2007, has featured 300mm aerial shell fireworks.

We are also trialling a new Fireworks Spectacular rating system this year & based on what we know, for these fireworks displays, from the Sydney Opera House vantage point, we are giving it a rating of 300 while on a boat on Sydney Harbour, a maximum rating of 555. For comparison, an average fireworks display would receive a rating of 125 whilst Sydney NYE’s rating would be in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

The fireworks entertainment includes:

  • 8pm: Djapana –  This would be similar to Sydney New Year’s Eve’s ‘Welcome To Country’. Featuring Koomurri Dancers, KARI singers, Sydney’s new ferry fleet & fireworks, it includes a tribute to Dr G Yunupingu & a performance of Djapana, a Yothu Yindi song.
  • 8:30pm: Journey To Become Australian – Accompanied by a yacht ballet, jet skis, a lighting display & fireworks, opera musical pieces are sung by Lorenzo Rositano & choir in a tribute to opera as we explore the journeys that our newest citizens have taken to become Australians.
  • 9pm: ‘Legendary Australian Musician’ Performance: Anthony Callea? Marcia Hines? Christine Anu? Guy Sebastian? John Paul Young? Casey Donovan? Dami Im? Who will it be? Accompanied by drag artists from the Broken Heel Festival, it is a musical performance, most likely by Christine Anu, set to fireworks.
  • 9:15pm: Australia Day Spectacular – Set to an Australian soundtrack sung live, a massive fireworks display with a jet ski & fly board performance.

With the Australia Day Spectacular now in Circular Quay, this means for the 1st time ever, Australians can watch it in full on television (TV) due to it being held in conjunction with the Australia Day 2018 – Live At Sydney Opera House concert.

It is on Channel 10/WIN between 7:30pm & 9:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Check your local guides for broadcast times outside of NSW.

Simply, like the Australia Day In Sydney website says:

If you’re mad about fireworks, Circular Quay is the place to be this Australia Day.

Note: This post updates as more information becomes available.

‘Australia Day In Sydney’: 2017 Wrap-Up & Race Results

Free entertainment, cultural performances & Harbour races enticed crowds today as Sydney put on a variety of activities.

The Australia Day In Sydney 2017 program paid tribute across Sydney to the country’s traditional land owners & the many cultures that make up the nation, beginning the day with the WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo & the raising of the Aboriginal and Australian flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The annual Ferrython again made a splash with Sydney’s First Fleet ferries decorated & raced towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Close by, audiences were treated to the Tall Ships Race, a Tug & Yacht Ballet, a RegattaHarbour Parade as well as an aerial program including a parachute display by the Australian Army’s Red Berets.

The Salute To Australia, conducted by the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy & the Royal Australian Air Force, stopped spectators in their tracks, culminating at noon with the singing of the national anthem by much-loved artist, Tina Arena.

The Rocks played host to crowds cheering for some of the best wheelchair competitors around the globe in the 28th #OzDay10K Wheelchair Race.

Thousands of Australia Day revellers & children enjoyed the entertainment on offer at the Children’s Festival at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour with a free public concert by music group, The Wiggles.

Australia Day 2017 plans finished with a bang, with an exhilarating symphony of fireworks in the Australia Day Spectacular at Darling Harbour while across the harbour at Circular Quay, more than 5000 revellers flocked to the free public concert Australia Day 2017 – Live At Sydney Opera House featuring Tina Arena, Guy Sebastian, Human Nature, Dami Im, The Wiggles & more. Jump onto TenPlay before the 26th of February 2017 to watch the concert & sing along to all the best moments.

AUSTRALIA DAY 2017 – EVENT RESULTS

OZ DAY 10 KILOMETRE WHEELCHAIR RACE

Men’s Open

  • 1st – Kurt Fearnley, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 19.36
  • 2nd – Sho Watanabe, Japan, 20.34
  • 3rd – Jake Lappin, Australia, 20.56

Women’s Open

  • 1st – Madison De Rozario, NSW, Australia, 23.03
  • 2nd – Jemima Moore, Australia, 23.11
  • 3rd – Christie Dawes, Australia, 23.12

Masters

  • 1st – Kota Hokinoue, Japan, 20.57
  • 2nd – Jun Hiromichi, Japan, 21.47
  • 3rd – Sukman Hong, South Korea, 22.50

Juniors

  • 1st – Sam Rizzo, Australia, 23.11
  • 2nd –Brad Temberton, Australia, 25.50
  • 3rd – Gregory Luff, Australia, 29.20

SYDNEY FESTIVAL FERRYTHON

  • The Fred Hollows Foundation

TALL SHIPS RACE

  • James Craig

HARBOUR PARADE – BEST DRESSED VESSEL

  • 1st Place – Buccaneer
  • 2nd Place – Norsman
  • 3rd Place – Polpete

Media Release: Australia Day In Sydney

Chinese New Year To Feature Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Projections For The 1st Time

This year’s Sydney Chinese New Year Festival will add pylon projections to the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the 1st time in the event’s history while there is also the possibility that Australia Day will have similar treatment but also with the Sydney Opera House!

For the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, the pylon projections will, other than the colour red, feature the Festival’s branding images such as an artist-inspired festival logo & an image of a rooster symbolising the Lunar New Year Of The Rooster.

In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolises good fortune & joy. Red is found everywhere during Chinese New Year & other holidays and family gatherings.

The Sydney Opera House in recent years has also been lit up red while last year, the Sydney Harbour Bridge featured red light-emitting diode lighting (similar to Vivid Sydney’s Dress Circle) for the 1st time along it’s catwalk & arches during the event.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections would form part of the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival’s Painting The Town Red.

Also, the City Of Sydney is in talks with the New South Wales Government’s Department Of Premier & Cabinet to light up the Sydney Opera House & the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylons in the national colours of green & gold for Australia Day. Their inclusion is not confirmed at this stage.

Australia Day is on the 26th of January 2017 while the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival runs from the 27th of January to the 12th of February 2017 with the Painting The Town Red part of the latter event running until the 29th of January 2017 inclusive.

Sydney Spectaculars will be publishing it’s Season 2017 guide in the next week.

Sources:

Australia Day In Sydney 2017 Program & Free Concert Announced

Australia Day In Sydney 2017 highlights will include the WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo followed by the raising of the Aboriginal & Australian Flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge & a Children’s Festival at Darling Harbour.

Sydney Harbour will host the Sydney Festival Ferrython, a ‘Tug & Yacht Ballet’, the Tall Ships Race, 2 cruising concerts & the Australia Day Regatta. Australia Day marks a new beginning for some, with citizenship ceremonies taking place throughout the day.

That night, the sky will come alive with fireworks & a sound and light show at the Darling Harbour Spectacular, while some of the biggest names in Australian entertainment unite for the concert Australia Day 2017 – Live At Sydney Opera House.

Australia Day creative director, John Foreman, said the free annual concert was a celebration of Australia’s unique musical & entertainment talent.

“We have brought together some of the biggest names in Australian music to celebrate what makes this country great. The concert promises to be a great spectacle in one of the country’s most impressive locations”

Among the stars performing this January are Tina Arena, Human Nature, Guy Sebastian, Dami Im, James Morrison & The Wiggles, who will swap their skivvies for civvies while performing classic rock. They will be joined by Tony Dee, whose voice inspired the world ahead of the 15th Paralympic Summer Games – Rio de Janeiro 2016, Australian musical legend Russell Morris & up-and-coming singing sensation Natalie Conway.

Tickets for the free event are available via australiaday.com.au/concert from 12pm AEDT today. Availability is on a strict 1st-come-1st-served basis.

Australia Day 2017 – Live At Sydney Opera House is brought to you by the NSW Government through its tourism & major events agency, Destination NSW.

Australia Day 2017 – Live At Sydney Opera House will air on Thursday the 26th of January at 7:30pm on the TEN & WIN Networks.

For more information on Australia Day & Australia Day 2017 – Live At Sydney Opera House, visit australiaday.com.au.

Media Release: Australia Day In Sydney