Pre-Event Checklist: 5 Displays Removed Including Stunt Flying From Wings Over Illawarra 2022 But Opening Skydiving Display Added As Event Map Released Plus Weather & Transport Details

UPDATE (11:56PM, FRIDAY 11/11/2022): This article has been updated to include details on the industrial action on the Sydney Trains network & South Coast Line this weekend.

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Flying Program Changes

Wings Over Illawarra last week confirmed via Facebook that. due to pilot availability and aircraft maintenance, the PT-17 Stearman, CA-27 Sabre and the Learjet 35’s (minimum & usually 2) would not be flying to this weekend’s air show.

Sydney Spectaculars was also informed by Wings Over Illawarra this week that the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ helicopter would not be flying to this weekend’s air show due to similar reasons.

The CAC Wirraway has since been announced to fly on both days at 12:26pm at the expense of Paul Bennet flying a Super Cub onto a vehicle, the first foray into stunt flying by Wings Over Illawarra.

It has also resulted in a very differently timed flying program with the F-35 Lightning now flying only the last 8 minutes of the air show (previously 17) at 3:52pm both days. Also, both days is the Warbird Balbo, which is now at 3:34pm but running for an extra 3 minutes. The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes also runs an extra 7 minutes now.

On Thursday, Wings Over Illawarra announced both days will open with a skydiving display by Skydiving Australia with multiple (do not know how many but more than 1) of their instructors skydiving into Shellharbour Airport.

You can find the latest flying program here with any future updates to the flying program, if any, to be posted there directly rather than through an article.

Event Map

There, you can find the event map, which was revealed last week:

WIngs Over Illawarra 2022 Event Map
Map: Wings Over Illawarra

Notably, from the event map, we can see the classic cars are no longer part of the show. Organisers did have registrations open for them this year so we assume they did not get many registrations this year and thus, removed it from the event entirely (though it is still on their website). A larger amusement ride Carnival – The Captain’s Carnival – takes its place. Vintage military vehicles will still make an appearance.

There will also be a new World War II German Exhibit near the runway intersection on the south-eastern side. It will contain motorbikes, reenactors, vehicles and information boards. The Focke Wulf Fw-190 is not part of this exhibit. There is also a new food and wine tasting area near the main entrance. A drone racing area will replace the Drone Expo this year.

Also new but not shown on the map is Wings Winery, which will also have craft beer, cider, gin, vodka, liqueurs, sauces, chilli-based products & relishes!


This year’s event is once again held in November – the 2nd time ever to be – but it is also the first event to be held on this particular November weekend (last year’s was held in late November) so previous events’ weather cannot be compared.

Weather has plagued the event before – mainly in 2014 & 2015, when high crosswinds cancelled the flying program (except 3 morning displays) and when an East Coast Low cancelled the whole event respectively. There is no sign of similar weather this year.


The below paragraph is for the Wollongong area.

Except for wind, Saturday is looking better than Sunday at this stage with less rain and no chance of a thunderstorm in the Wollongong area. Sunday has a possibility of a severe thunderstorm. Saturday has a medium (50%) chance of showers while Sunday has a very high (95%) chance of showers. Saturday will be partly cloudy while Sunday will be cloudy. Both days begin with light winds. However, in the morning, on Sunday, the winds will become north to north-easterly 15-25km/h while on Saturday, the winds will become south to south-westerly 15-20km/h. In the middle of Saturday, the winds will tend south to south-easterly 20-30km/h.

The amount of rain forecast is not enough to cancel the entire event or most of the flying program. However, the possibility of a thunderstorm on Sunday particularly at or after 2pm may ground the flying program for the duration of the storm, if any. Previous editions have seen the flying program run overtime until 5pm if conditions necessitate it. Safety is paramount so if there is a delay in the flying program, please be calm and patient, particularly as the event is organised by a small but dedicated team. They will try their best to ensure a great safe air show. If a severe thunderstorm does appear, a warning will be issued by the Bureau Of Meteorology, which can be found here.

The below details are for Albion Park:

  • General Forecast: Shower Or Two (Saturday) & Showers (Sunday)
  • Minimum Temperature: 15 (Saturday) & 17 (Sunday)
  • Maximum Temperature: 24 (Saturday) & 26 (Sunday)
  • Possible Rainfall: Up to 2mm (Saturday) & 5-10mm (Sunday)
  • Rain Chance: 60% (Saturday) & 95% (Sunday)
  • Sun Protection: Recommended 8:40am (both days) to 4:40pm (Saturday) & 4:30pm (Sunday)
  • Maximum UV Index: 10 (Very High) (both days)

The Bureau Of Meteorology’s MetEye service predicts the following for Shellharbour Airport:

  • 11am Saturday – Rain, 10-25% chance of any rain, 10-20km/h winds heading north-northwest, feels like 24-27 degrees Celsius, 60-70% relative humidity, 9-10 (clear sky) UV Index
  • 2pm Saturday – Rain, 10-25% chance of any rain, 20-30km/h winds heading north-northwest, feels like 24-27 degrees Celsius, 60-70% relative humidity, 9-10 (clear sky) UV Index
  • 5pm Saturday – Rain, 10-25% chance of any rain, 10-20km/h winds heading northwest, feels like 21-24 degrees Celsius, 70-80% relative humidity, 1-2 (clear sky) UV Index
  • 11am Sunday – Thunderstorm chance, 25-50% chance of any rain, 10-20km/h winds heading southwest, feels like 21-24 degrees Celsius, 70-80% relative humidity, 9-10 (clear sky) UV Index
  • 2pm Sunday – Thunderstorm chance, 50-75% chance of any rain, 10-20km/h winds heading southwest, feels like 24-27 degrees Celsius, 60-70% relative humidity, 9-10 (clear sky) UV Index
  • 5pm Sunday – Thunderstorm chance, 50-75% chance of any rain, 10-20km/h winds heading south-southwest, feels like 24-27 degrees Celsius, 60-70% relative humidity, 1-2 (clear sky) UV Index

Sun protection is recommended when the UV Index is 3 or higher.


Ticketholders to the 2 main public event days are recommended to arrive by train.


The air show is on the South Coast Line (Bondi Junction to Bomaderry via Central). This form of transport is ideal for locals, Sydneysiders and visitors & people from the Shoalhaven. The station the air show is at is Albion Park, which is right across the road from Shellharbour Airport. Due to industrial action, trains are running to a reduced frequency and changed timetable. Allow extra travel time. This advice should be particularly followed in regard to leaving the event. For details on other Sydney Trains lines, click here.

These are the last train times before gates open at 9am (arrival station in italics):

  • Bondi Junction – 6:13am
  • Town Hall – 6:24am
  • Bomaderry – 6:26am
  • Central – 6:29am
  • Redfern – 6:31am
  • Wolli Creek – 6:41am
  • Sutherland – 7:03am
  • Kiama – 7:49am
  • Albion Park – 8:09am (from Kiama, 51 minutes before gates open & 2 hours, 51 minutes before flying program begins)
  • Wollongong – 8:16am
  • Albion Park – 8:36am (from Bondi Junction, 24 minutes before gates open & 2 hours, 24 minutes before flying program begins)

These are the last train times before the flying program begins (arrival station in italics):

  • Bondi Junction – 8:13am
  • Town Hall – 8:24am
  • Central – 8:29am
  • Redfern – 8:31am
  • Bomaderry – 8:32am (Saturday)
  • Wolli Creek – 8:41am
  • Bomaderry – 8:54am (Sunday)
  • Sutherland – 9:03am
  • Kiama – 9:56am
  • Wollongong – 10:08am (Saturday)
  • Wollongong – 10:10am (Sunday)
  • Albion Park – 10:16am (from Kiama, 44 minutes before flying program begins)
  • Albion Park – 10:31am (from Bondi Junction, 29 minutes before flying program begins)


The NSW Trainslink Southern NSW Coach Service 749 operates (Bundanoon to Wollongong via Albion Park). This form of transport is ideal for people travelling from the Southern Highlands. You cannot catch a coach from Wollongong to Albion Park. Bookings are required to be made on event day. The stop the air show is at is Albion Park Railway Station, which is right across the road from the air show. Below are the last available coach times to the air show (as of writing) (arrival stops in italics):

  • Bundanoon – 6:15am
  • Exeter – 6:20am
  • Moss Vale – 6:30am
  • Bowral – 6:45am
  • Burrawang – 7:03am
  • Robertson – 7:13am
  • Albion Park – 7:50am (from Bundanoon, 1 hour and 10 minutes until gates open & 3 hours and 10 minutes until the flying program begins)


Premier Illawarra operates 4 bus routes to the air show:

  • 37 (Lake Illawarra Loop: Wollongong to Shellharbour anti-clockwise via Dapto & Albion Park Rail)
  • 57 (Lake Illawarra Loop: Wollongong to Shellharbour clockwise via Warrawong & Albion Park Rail)
  • 76 (Shellharbour Village to Albion Park via Albion Park Rail (Loop Service))
  • 77 (Shellharbour to Albion Park via Albion Park Rail (Loop Service))

This form of transport is ideal for people travelling locally. However, they mainly operate on the Saturday. The stops the air show is at is Albion Park Railway Station, which is right across the road from the air show and the Princes Highway. There are 6 bus stops in the vicinity (1 at the Railway Station and 4 on the Princes Highway, three southbound, two northbound). All bus times below are for Saturday except where stated.

Below are the last available bus times at major bus interchanges before the gates open (arrival stops in italics) (bus route in brackets):

  • Warrawong Plaza, King Street – 7:29am (57)
  • St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Crown Street, Wollongong – 7:42am (37)
  • Warilla Grove Shops, Shellharbour Road – 7:44am (57)
  • Wollongong Central, Stand C – 7:45am (37)
  • Lake Entrance Road before Leewarra Avenue, Warilla – 7:47am (57)
  • Stockland Shellharbour, Shellharbour City Centre – 7:52am (57)
  • Central Avenue after Fisher Street, Oak Flats – 8:02am (57)
  • All Saints Anglican Church, Tongarra Road, Albion Park – 8:08am (76)
  • Dapto Mall – 8:09am (37)
  • Princes Highway opposite Albion Park Railway Station/Princes Highway opposite Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail – 8:10am (57, 50 minutes until gates open & 1 hour and 50 minutes until the flying program begins)
  • St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Crown Street, Wollongong – 8:17am (37, Sunday)
  • Wollongong Central, Stand C – 8:20am (37, Sunday)
  • 145 Princes Highway, Albion Park Rail/Princes Highway before Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail – 8:22am (37, 38 minutes until gates open & 1 hour and 38 minutes until the flying program begins)
  • Albion Park Railway Station, Princes Highway – 8:23am (37, 37 minutes until gates open & 1 hour and 37 minutes until the flying program begins)
  • Tongarra Road after Terry Street, Albion Park – 8:24am (76)
  • Princes Highway opposite Albion Park Railway Station – 8:32am (76, 28 minutes until gates open & 1 hour and 28 minutes until the flying program begins)
  • Albion Park Railway Station/Albion Park Railway Station, Princes Highway – 8:33am (76, 27 minutes until gates open & 1 hour and 27 minutes until the flying program begins)
  • Dapto Mall – 8:47am (37, Sunday)
  • 145 Princes Highway, Albion Park Rail/Princes Highway before Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail – 8:59am (37, Sunday, 1 minute until flying program begins)

Route 76 also stops in Woollybutt Drive at 7:58am but will travel, as shown in the list above, around Albion Park for 1 hour and 34 minutes before arriving at the air show at 8:32am/8:33am. Alternatively, you can walk the 15 minutes from that bus stop to the air show main gates or drive the 2 minutes to the official car park at the corner of Croome & Tongarra Road and catch the 1-minute shuttle bus to the air show main gates.

Below are the last available bus times before the flying program (arrival stops in italics):

  • Warrawong Plaza, King Street – 9:33am (57, Sunday)
  • Warrawong Plaza, King Street – 9:34am (57)
  • All Saints Anglican Church, Tongarra Road, Albion Park – 9:38am (77)
  • St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Crown Street, Wollongong – 9:41am (37)
  • Wollongong Central, Stand C – 9:44am (37)
  • Warilla Grove Shops, Shellharbour Road – 9:48am (57, Sunday)
  • Warilla Grove Shops, Shellharbour Road – 9:50am (57)
  • Lake Entrance Road before Leewarra Avenue, Warilla – 9:51am (57, Sunday)
  • Lake Entrance Road before Leewarra Avenue, Warilla – 9:53am (57)
  • Tongarra Road after Terry Street, Albion Park – 9:54am (77)
  • Stockland Shellharbour, Shellharbour City Centre – 9:56am (57, Sunday)
  • Stockland Shellharbour, Shellharbour City Centre – 9:58am (57)
  • Princes Highway opposite Albion Park Station – 10:01am (77, 59 minutes until flying program begins)
  • Central Avenue after Fisher Street, Oak Flats – 10:06am (57, Sunday)
  • Central Avenue after Fisher Street, Oak Flats – 10:08am (57)
  • Dapto Mall – 10:09am (37)
  • Princes Highway opposite Albion Park Station/Princes Highway opposite Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail – 10:14am (57, Sunday, 46 minutes until flying program begins)
  • Princes Highway opposite Albion Park Station/Princes Highway opposite Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail – 10:16am (57, 44 minutes until flying program begins)
  • St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Crown Street, Wollongong – 10:17am (37, Sunday)
  • Wollongong Central, Stand C – 10:20am (37, Sunday)
  • 145 Princes Highway, Albion Park Rail/Princes Highway before Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail – 10:22am (37, 38 minutes until flying program begins)
  • Albion Park Railway Station, Princes Highway – 10:23am (37, 37 minutes until flying program begins)
  • Dapto Mall – 10:47am (37, Sunday)
  • 145 Princes Highway, Albion Park Rail/Princes Highway before Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail – 10:59am (37, Sunday, 1 minute until flying program begins)

Route 77 also stops in Deakin Street, Bridge Avenue, Wentworth Street & Industrial Drive (Oak Flats), Wooroo Street, Karoo Street, Koona Street & Windang Street (Albion Park Rail) for local residents to travel to the air show between 9:16am & 9:26am on Saturday, arriving at Albion Park Railway Station, Princes Highway at 9:28am, 1 hour and 32 minutes before the flying program begins.


Link Airways is the only airline servicing Shellharbour Airport. All flights immediately before the air show are already sold out. These flights are only now ideal for people travelling from Queensland or Victoria.

Live Streaming

As like last year’s air show, the event will not be live streamed.

Applications Closing Soon For Vivid Sydney 2023 Local Business Program!

Applications close at 5pm on the 17th of November for the Vivid Sydney 2023 Local Business Program!

With applications opening back on the 18th of October, the Vivid Sydney Local Business Program sees interested local businesses apply for 1 of 4 tiers:

  • Tier 1 (retail/dining/entertainment/tourism)- digitally marketed special experience with Vivid Sydney window dressing & LED screen
  • Tier 2 (retail/dining/entertainment/tourism) – business-as-usual but with Vivid Sydney window dressing
  • Tier 3 (accommodation/tourism/experiences) – digitally marketed special experience
  • Tier 4 (businesses/cruise vessels) – your building/cruise synchronised to lights

The Vivid Sydney Local Business Program was first run this year with 172 retailers, 19 cruises and 24 hotels & according to Tourism Accommodation Australia, Vivid Sydney 2022 saw bookings jump to above 80% for the 1st time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Also, according to the NSW Government, more than 650,000 Vivid Sydney 2022 attendees dined out in a CBD restaurant or hotel while 2.1 million enjoyed a sit-down or takeaway meal.

Vivid Sydney 2023, one of the 4 ‘flagship’ Sydney Spectaculars, will be held from Friday the 26th of May to Saturday the 17th of June. 

Sydney is well and truly open for business, and we’re calling on our retailers, hoteliers, hospitality groups, entertainment, travel and tourism operators in the Sydney CBD and surrounding suburbs to join the Local Business Program and truly immerse themselves in Vivid Sydney

Each year, Vivid Sydney brings something bigger and brighter to wow the hundreds of thousands of people who visit each year. This program is a fantastic opportunity for business owners to expose themselves to a large audience of potential new customers.

Nominations opened on 18 October and interested parties are invited to present ideas, special offers and experiences for inclusion in the 2023 Vivid Sydney Local Business Program.

Minister for Tourism, Ben Franklin

Wings Over Illawarra 2022 Flying Program Released, Confirms Finales & Reveals Stunt Flying Addition

The 2022 Flying Program of Wings Over Illawarra has been released!

You can read the flying programs for both public event days by clicking here and currently, they are the same for both public event days so you will not miss anything at this stage if you only attend 1 day.

A couple of days before the flying program was released, Wings Over Illawarra had confirmed to Sydney Spectaculars that the Warbird Balbo announced as part of the 2022 flying program last week would not form part of each public event day’s finale.

The finale for both public event days is the F-35 Lightning II with the Wall Of Fire, beginning at 3:43pm and lasting the final 17 minutes of each public day’s flying program. The Warbird Balbo will be the penultimate display of each public event day with the largest formation display ever held at Wings Over Illawarra – 8 warbirds in the sky at once, beginning at 3:28pm and lasting 15 minutes.

The Warbird Balbo will feature the Lockheed Hudson, Grumman Avenger, Vought F4U Corsair, Supermarine Spitfire MK VIII, CAC CA-18 Mustang, Focke Wulf Fw-190, CAC Boomerang and the Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk.

The previous record of largest formation display at Wings Over Illawarra was held by The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes & The Russian Roolettes with their 6 aircraft each.

The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes will be the opening flying display each day at 11am for 20 minutes. The Russian Roolettes (now named The Red Star Roolettes) has not been announced as coming to this edition’s air show as of writing.

But new for 2022 is stunt flying! Beginning at 1:27pm, Paul Bennet will pilot a Super Cub and will land on a vehicle in a jaw-dropping 10-minute display.

Other flying aircraft confirmed but with no confirmed flying times yet are the PT-17 Stearman, CAC Wirraway, the Learjet 35 (x2), the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ & the CA-27 Sabre.

There are less than 2 weeks to go until the air show. Not long to go now! Buy your tickets now!

The Sydney Opera House Shines Gold For Diwali

Between 8pm & 11pm on October 24, the Sydney Opera House was lit up gold for Diwali.

The projection was done by The Electric Canvas, who have done them annually since 2015.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure welcomed the lighting of the sails to officially mark the start of Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.

By lighting up the sails of the Opera House, we are sharing in the rich colour, vibrancy and values of Diwali. Tonight also symbolises our unity as a multicultural state, that no matter our cultural background, our faith or the language we speak, Diwali can be enjoyed and experienced by everyone in NSW.

NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet

Falling between October & November annually, Diwali, which means ‘row of lights’ and is predominately called a festival of lights globally, is held on the last day of the month of Kartika in the Hindu, Nepali, Bengali & Indian National calendars. It is celebrated by lighting diyas (small oil lamps) which symbolise spiritual darkness’s lifting and life’s renewal. It is also considered a time to pray for health, knowledge and peace.

Mr Coure said celebrating events like Diwali is about celebrating NSW’s greatest assets, its people. 

Thanks to our rich diversity, we have the opportunity to join in celebrations right here at home that you would otherwise have to travel overseas to experience. For generations, the contributions of our Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and South East Asian communities have been woven into the social fabric of our state, and by celebrating their culture tonight we are also celebrating their contributions to making NSW a multicultural and multifaith success story.

Minister for Multiculturalism, Mark Coure

Multicultural NSW Advisory Board chair Nick Kaldas encouraged all residents to enjoy the festivities during Diwali.

Cultural festivals like Diwali give us all a window into the contributions that diverse communities make to the rich cultural mosaic of NSW

Multicultural NSW Advisory Board chair, Nick Kaldas

As part of the Spectacular, a private function hosted by the Minister for Multiculturalism and co-organised by Multicultural NSW & SBS was held on the rooftop of the Museum of Contemporary Art, accompanied by speeches. The sails were lit up by the Minister for Multiculturalism. The BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir distributed packets of sweets for all guests during the function and did a performance of Shantipath prior to the lighting of the sails.

The performance of ‘Shantipath’ at the private function before the lighting of the sails.
Photograph: Multicultural NSW
Volunteers from BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir pose with the sweet packages. 
Photograph & Caption: Special Broadcasting Service

Attended include the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Damien Tudehope MLC), Minister for Digital/Customer Service (Victor Dominello MP), the Consul-General of India in Sydney (Manish Gupta), the Chief Executive of Multicultural NSW (Joseph La Posta), members of Multicultural NSW Advisory Board, the New South Wales Chapter President of the Australia-India Business Council (Irfan Mali) and members of the Indian community in Australia among others. Other people who attended are quoted below:

As an Indian, this a proud moment for me to witness this lighting up. I am overwhelmed

Prakash Belawadi, actor

The lighting up of the Sydney Opera House brings together the Indian diaspora in Australia

Convener of Hindi Schools in Sydney, Mala Mehta OAM

The government has realized the strength of the Indian community. This Diwali, we celebrate this strength too.

International Chair of the Australia-India Business Council, Jodi McKay

This lighting up of the Opera House is the symbol of the true message of Diwali and Bandi Chhor Diwas – the message of light and hope

Harman Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Harinder Kaur

Premier Dominic Perrottet did not attend the event due to floods in New South Wales.

The Sydney Opera House Diwali Spectacular is held annually, meaning the next edition should be held on 12th November 2023.


Media Releases | Multicultural NSW

‘Opera Sails are lit up for Diwali to convey that all communities are welcome in NSW’ | SBS Hindi (Contains a 11-minute podcast episode in Hindi)

‘Diwali 2022’ Photo Album – Multicultural NSW – Facebook

F-35 Lightning II Confirmed For Wings Over Illawarra 2022 As New Warbird Balbo Finale Hinted?

Wings Over Illawarra has confirmed the F-35 Lightning II for the 2022 edition of the air show’s flying program alongside a list of other aircraft confirmed this week to fly at the event. One special listing was of a ‘Warbird Balbo‘. Could this be a new finale for the growing air show?

Warbird Balbo image from Wings Over Illawarra flying program webpage
Image: Wings Over Illawarra

A ‘Balbo’ is a large aircraft formation that appears at the end of an air show. It is named after Italo Balbo, the Marshal of the Royal Italian Air Force during the first 2 years of the WWII.

It is named after him after his participation in the Decennial Air Cruise, a mass transatlantic flight from Italy to Chicago, the United States of America in 1933 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Royal Italian Air Force. He wanted to show the world Italy is the most advanced in aviation in 1933 so he led 24 military aircraft in formation across the Atlantic. As they arrived and left Chicago, they were escorted by up to 42 aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces, bringing a total of up to 66 planes in the sky at once in formation.

They then headed back to Italy but not before the name ‘Balbo’ referred to any mass aircraft formation. This lasted until the end of World War II. The Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom also named one of their flying tactics after him during World War II. Nowadays, the name ‘Balbo’ is still referred to as a mass aircraft formation but only at the end of an air show.

Wings Over Illawarra has promoted a Warbird Balbo for both public events days in their current flying program. A warbird is any military aircraft still flying but not used for military purposes. Wings Over Illawarra usually has a great line-up of these planes in their flying program.

In 2018 & 2019, the flying programs for the event did have a segment called WWII Fighters. This consisted of 4 warbirds in both years (hardly a ‘mass’ aircraft formation), and they only briefly flew in formation instead mostly doing individual flybys of the airport. Most importantly, the name ‘Balbo’ was never used in the flying program.

So is this Warbird Balbo that is going to appear at Wings Over Illawarra the old WWII Fighters segment returning (just under a new exciting name) or are we going to see a new finale featuring a flyover of 7+ (the biggest formation the event has had) warbirds in formation? Wings Over Illawarra did not respond to our query in time for the article’s publication. We’ll just have to wait & see.

Other aircraft that were confirmed onto the flying program this week included:

  • Paul Bennet Airshows‘ North American T-28 Trojan (warbird trainer/counter-insurgency aircraft)
  • MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ (military helicopter)
  • CAC-13 Boomerang (fighter warbird)

This brings the number of warbirds up to 16! What a finale that should turn out to be!

The previous finale was a jet flying over the airport before the Wall of Fire exploded alongside the runway to conclude the air show. This was usually but not always with the F/A-18 Hornet military jets but since they made their final appearance at last year’s air show, it might mean a new finale is needed.

As stated earlier, since we announced Wings Over Illawarra as the newest flagship Sydney Spectacular, the F35 Lightning II, which is the replacement for the F/A-18 Hornets in the Royal Australian Air Force, has been announced as making its 2nd appearance at the event after making its debut flying display in Australia in last year’s air show.

Last year, the new jet made lunchtime/midday appearances, showing off its new features with the first use of military aircraft flares at the air show. If a Warbird Balbo is to be the new finale, it must mean the F35 Lightning is not available to conclude the show but only appear briefly earlier in the day (like at last year’s air show) and thus, no need for a Wall of Fire as a mass formation flyover of warbirds is likely to be slow in aerobatic terms. It is not a fast flyby of a modern military jet simulating an air attack but more of a salute to the audience thanking the public for their support of their aircraft during wartime or other military operations.

The F35 Lightning’s confirmation means a great air show line-up is assured but is more exciting news about the flying program yet to be confirmed, as we’ve speculated above? Wings Over Illawarra has hinted through social media of more “exciting announcements” to come. Could a Warbird Balbo finale of 16+ aircraft be confirmed? There are less than 3 weeks to go until the air show and roughly less than 2 weeks until the flying program’s timings are announced. Not long to go now!

Sydney Opera House Marks Beginning Of 50th Anniversary With Major Projection Show & Documentary

A major projection show and a 3-part television documentary launched the year-long celebration for the Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary, which is on Friday the 20th October 2023.

The Sydney Opera House celebrated it’s 49th anniversary on Thursday the 20th October 2022.

The major projection show, called Light Years, was created by Sam Doust and Art Processors & tells the story of the Sydney Opera House with the prologue designed by Jake Duczynski, Jason Poley & Studio Gilay.

The projection show, which is on the Sydney Opera House’s western sails, began on Wednesday October 19 2022 at 7:15pm and concludes on Monday October 31 2022, running on a 20 minute loop between sunset (7:30pm for all but the premiere night & the House’s birthday) and 11pm. However, on Monday the 24th October 2022, Light Years will run until 8pm, at which point, the annual Diwali Spectacular lighting will shine on the western sails for the rest of the night.

Both shows are best viewed from the Overseas Passenger Terminal/Hickson Road Reserve. The Sydney Opera House says young people under the age of 15 must be accompanied at all times for Light Years. However, they also say Light Years is suitable for all ages.

The soundtrack, which can be listened live here (particularly if you are watching it in person), is designed by Andrew Stevenson and composed by Hylton Mowday. The latter being the composer of the infamous Advance Australia Fair/Waltzing Matilda remix from the Sydney New Year’s Eve 2004: Reflections On Australiana Midnight Fireworks.

There are quick response codes around Circular Quay so you can access the soundtrack via your smartphone. The soundtrack’s website uses new audio-visual synchronisation technology so there is no delay when listening to Sydney Spectacular event soundtracks in person via the Internet! This technology debuted at Vivid Sydney 2022.

You can watch Light Years live by signing up or logging into the Sydney Opera House’s Stream platform here but you can also watch the 20 October (49th birthday) 7:30pm live broadcast here and on Sydney Opera House’s social media platforms on demand (Duration: 53 minutes – contains the 7:40pm & 8pm shows):

On Sunday October 23rd 2022 at 7:30pm, a 3-part documentary premieres on Australian Broadcasting Corporation Television & iView called Inside The Sydney Opera House. For the first time ever you can see the behind-the-scenes operation of the Sydney Opera House, including the venue’s management of the 3 flagship Sydney Spectaculars Sydney New Year’s Eve, Vivid Sydney & Australia Day In Sydney.

It is narrated by Marta Düsseldorp and showcases the venue’s operation over the past year. It is the 3rd major documentary on the Sydney Spectaculars, following 2008’s Revealed: New Year’s Eve (which did briefly show what happens at the Sydney Opera House) and Sydney Harbour Force, which debuted earlier this year on Discovery Channel. Each new episode of Inside The Sydney Opera House will air weekly.

The Opera House is a gift, an immense source of pride to our community, and one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world. Now, after 50 years of creativity and a decade of renewal, we’re throwing the doors open and inviting everyone to be part of a year-long festival celebrating the building, its history and all forms of contemporary culture. I hope people everywhere come to experience what’s on offer and reflect on the Opera House’s past, present and future

Louise Herron AM – Sydney Opera House Chief Executive Officer

The Sydney Opera House’s 50th Anniversary is supported by the New South Wales’s Blockbuster Funding initiative.

The Opera House is a global beacon of creativity. I’m thrilled the NSW Government is supporting the 50th anniversary celebrations through a world-class program for the entire community. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Opera House’s immense contribution to the cultural fabric of our nation, and to attract more people from across NSW and around the world to experience this extraordinary building and all it has to offer

Ben FranklinMinister for the Arts & Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council

How will the Sydney Opera House celebrate it’s precise 50th anniversary in just under a year’s time? We’ll have to wait and see!

‘Wings Over Illawarra’ Takes Off As Newest Flagship ‘Sydney Spectacular’

The 2nd biggest air show in Australia – Wings Over Illawarra – has been designated as the 4th and newest flagship Sydney Spectacular.

This means the flagship Sydney Spectaculars are as follows:

  • Sydney New Year’s Eve (31 December/1 January)
  • Australia Day In Sydney (26 January)
  • Vivid Sydney (Late May to Mid-June)
  • Wings Over Illawarra (November)

The 2-day event, held in November annually, features flyovers of heritage aircraft from numerous sources, aerobatic displays from well-known stunt pilots as well as handling displays from the Royal Australian Air Force’s aircraft.

It also has static aircraft displays, an amusement ride carnival called The Captain’s Carnival and a classic car exhibition.

The day prior to the air show, the event holds a careers open day for schools for the 1st time ever.

The event is held at Shellharbour Airport in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, which is 90 kilometres (or about a 1.5 hour drive) south of Sydney.

The Airport is home to the main base of the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Museum, which is the permanent home of The City Of Canberra – a world-record holding Boeing 747-438 which did the longest non-stop un-refuelled delivery flight for an airliner in 1989. The Museum also has a smaller base in Parkes, which is about 300 kilometres (or an hour’s flight) west of Sydney.

The Museum’s aircraft sometimes appears in the flying program of Wings Over Illawarra but they all remain on the ground at the minimum as exhibits during the event. The City Of Canberra does not feature in the flying program as the runway is not designed for a Boeing 747-438 to take off on.

A future addition to the Museum is to be John Travolta’s Boeing 707-138B – the Jett Clipper Ella but the COVID-19 pandemic has held up the plane’s delivery to the Museum, which the actor described in his 2019 visit as the “only air museum I know in the world” that keeps old planes flying.

Wings Over Illawarra & the HARS Museum can be accessed by plane, private and commercial (the latter only from Brisbane & Melbourne), but for those not flying into the Airport (which will be most), it is recommended to come by train. Albion Park railway station is about 100 metres away from the event gates and is on the South Coast Line, which runs between eastern Sydney and the Shoalhaven. There is also a coach connection to the railway station from the Southern Highlands.

Sydney Spectaculars will be providing coverage of the 2022 edition of the event including the publication of the timed flying program which should happen around the 5th of November. Gates open at 9am each day with the air show beginning at 11am following an opening ceremony. The air show concludes at 4pm each day with gates closing at 5pm.

Confirmed 2022 Flying Aircraft/Aerobatic Displays (As of 14th of October 2022)

  • P-17 Stearman
  • Douglas DC-3
  • P40 Kittyhawk
  • Lockheed Hudson
  • Focke Wulf 190
  • Vought F4U Corsair
  • Lockheed C-121C Super “Connie” Constellation
  • English Electric Canberra TT-18
  • Grumman S-2G Tracker
  • CA-27 Sabre
  • DHC-4 Caribou
  • AP-3C Orion
  • The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes
  • Paul Bennet Air Shows including CAC Wirraway, Grumman Avenger, Edge 540 (Glenn Graham) & The Sky Aces

The 2022 edition will be held on the weekend of the 12th and 13th of November. Buy your tickets today!

The Rationale

Why this event you ask?

Back in 2020, it was the centenary of Qantas, Australia’s main airline and one of the oldest in the world & they put on a show over Sydney Harbour. The main feature of the event was a 100-minute scenic flight over Sydney and the Illawarra. The reason it travelled out of Sydney and south to the Illawarra was to acknowledge The City Of Canberra at Shellharbour Airport.

Qantas Centenary Scenic Flight Path Over Illawarra (Aircraft Over Shellharbour Airport)
Image: Qantas/FlightRadar24

Shellharbour Airport was also the only airport along the flight’s route that had an annual air show as it’s main event. Sydney Harbour has aerobatic displays too – notably at Australia Day In Sydney but those displays are nothing compared to the length of the Wings Over Illawarra daily flying programs. They are also not the main event on the Harbour on event days – that it usually taken up by fireworks displays and/or concerts.

Aerobatic displays over Sydney Harbour in recent years have featured aircraft from the HARS Museum – most notably during the International Fleet Review in 2013 when a significant portion of the air display program came from the HARS Museum. That air display program also was very similar to a Wings Over Illawarra flying program (just a few hours shorter) but the flight path of the program was only along/around Sydney Harbour. It did not go to other locations.

Wings Over Illawarra began in 2007. It was run by the HARS Museum in co-ordination with the Airport’s owner – Shellharbour City Council and it grew year on year. By 2013, the event got so large that the HARS Museum gave the event management to a private company called Bright Events, who have run the event ever since, expanding it to an annual weekend air show. As of 2022, it is still growing.

It may not hold the record as the largest air show in Australia – that belongs to the bi-annual Australian International Air Show at Avalon Airport (near Melbourne, Victoria), which has been held since 1992 – but it is the 2nd largest and fastest growing with 19,000 visitors per public day in 2018 (compared to the 44,000 per public day at the Australian International Air Show in 2019).

To acknowledge it’s growth, proximity to Sydney, it’s association with other Sydney Harbour events, particularly the Qantas Centenary, and the fact it is the most major air show near Sydney, we have decided to designate Wings Over Illawarra as a flagship Sydney Spectacular.

Had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred, this would have been announced a year ago.

What if I cannot attend the event?

The event, in recent years, has been live streamed but it should be noted that the previous edition was not live streamed so do not expect a live stream to appear on the ‘Watch LIVE’ page this year. However, if prior to the event, they announce or on the event weekend, publish a live stream, we will promote it.

There is another back-up though!

The HARS Museum has Tarmac Days on the weekend of the month’s 2nd Friday. On these days, you can board and sit in selected aircraft and they move their historic aircraft around the Airport, regularly conducting engine runs. If you are lucky, they may even fly the planes! As the program of Tarmac Days changes each month, check with the Museum prior to arrival to see if they are planning to fly a plane.

The HARS Museum also does flyovers around the Illawarra and Sydney basin on Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day, which for our international readers, is on the 25th of April and is Australia & New Zealand’s national day of remembrance. These flyovers usually occur between 7:30am & 1:30pm at the region’s main services (though the services’ flying program may vary).

In recent years, the HARS Museum has also done local flyovers on Australia Day but this may be just due to the COVID-19 pandemic halting the regular entertainment (A flyover can be seen by everyone without the need to crowd).

Wings Over Illawarra you are cleared to take off!

Sydney Spectaculars Returns October 15!

After an absence of 1 year and 9 months, Sydney Spectaculars have decided to return to post major event news. We got exciting news to reveal before Sydney NYE2022 including the unveiling of 2 new flagship ‘Sydney Spectaculars’!

Coverage of Sydney NYE2022 will begin on November 20 2022.

The first new flagship ‘Sydney Spectacular’ will be unveiled on October 15. Can you guess what event it is?


Operating from March 13th 2020 to January 2nd 2021, this was a live blog of everything Sydney Spectaculars relating to COVID-19. This provides a valuable  historical resource on how Sydney managed major events in the first 8.5 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a summary of the major announcements:

  • Vivid Sydney 2020 has been cancelled.
  • Handa Opera On The Harbour 2020 – ‘La Traviata’ has been cancelled.
  • Australian Government has banned non-essential outdoors events of 500 people or more in attendance in a stationary position.
  • Australian Government has banned indoor events of 100 people or more in attendance in a stationary position.
  • Darling Harbour’s Saturday Night Fireworks have been cancelled until further notice.
  • The Australian Government has announced an 1 person per 4 square metres arrangement for non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people until further notice.
  • (UPDATED 24 MARCH 11PM AEDT) The Australian Government has announced new restrictions that affect events.
  • The Australian Government has released 2 ‘Coronavirus Australia’ apps & a WhatsApp channel for COVID-19
  • Richard Wilkins, (co-)host of ‘Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE)’ 1996 to 2005 television broadcasts tested negative for COVID-19 on the 1st of April after being tested positive at least 3 times since the 15th of March.
  • Earth Hour recommends going digital instead of to ‘on-ground events’.
  • Venue closures & restrictions for Australian Earth Hour events
  • Sydney Town Hall lit red for ANZAC Day 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions
  • DIY Vivid Australia unofficially replaces Vivid Sydney from May 22 to June 5.
  • On the 13th & 14th of August, the New South Wales Tourism Minister responded to media queries about whether Sydney NYE2020 should go ahead due to COVID-19. He responded that he wants it to go ahead in some form but it will not be “traditional”.
  • On the 16th of August, Lord Mayor Clover Moore tells The Sydney Morning Herald that cancellation of Sydney NYE2020 is “a real possibility”.
  • In the 18th of August, Vivid Sydney was announced to be held in August 2021 “in a COVID-safe manner”.
  • On the 19th of August, the Sydney NYE website was updated to include a ‘COVID-19 update’.
  • At the 24th of August City Of Sydney Council Meeting, Councillor Christine Forster put forward 3 questions on notice regarding Sydney NYE2020. The response from the City Of Sydney’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to all 3 questions was “City staff have been meeting with the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Events Coordination Group. The matter has not been resolved to date”
  • On the 2nd of September, debate about the holding of Sydney NYE2020 brew within the NSW Government, who are not the event’s official organisers. However, it has lead to the City Of Sydney (the event’s official organiser)’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, sought and urgent meeting with the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.
  • On the 17th of September, the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, asks the public to assume the ‘maximum 20 people’ order will be still in place for house New Year’s Eve parties.
  • On the 18th of September, the City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore says she is “opposed” to fireworks for Sydney NYE2020 but the NSW Treasurer says the  NSW Government is “very, very keen” for fireworks
  • On the 24th of September, the City Of Sydney handed over the Sydney NYE2020 edition to the NSW Government.
  • On the 13th of October, the NSW Government announced that from October 16 up to 500 people can attend outdoor seated music performances & rehearsals for venues complying with the 4 square metre rule, making a Sydney NYE concert more likely to be held.
  • On the 14th of October, it was announced Vivid Sydney will be held between the 6th & 28th of August 2021 & that Vivid Light expressions of interest are now open. The Vivid Light expressions of interest close on Monday 23rd of November 2020.
  • On the 21st of October, Technical Direction Company told InAVate that “As yet, we haven’t been informed if that (Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon NYE Projections) is going ahead”
  • On the 9th of November, the 9pm Family Fireworks were officially cancelled for the 2nd time ever, the Midnight Fireworks were announced to be 2 minutes long & special NYE COVID-19 restrictions were announced.
  • On the 19th of November, Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 was officially announced by the New South Wales Government.
  • On the 18th of December, Sydney Spectaculars went on ‘alert’ for a potential Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 cancellation.
  • On the 24th of December, the New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian confirmed Sydney NYE2020 will be going ahead “not matter what” and encouraged the public to watch from home.
  • On the 28th of December, the New South Wales Government outlined arrangements for a COVID-Safe Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 & updated it’s advice on COVID-Safe restrictions for the Northern Beaches and Greater Sydney. 
  • On the 30th of December, given the current situation on the Northern Beaches and increasing concern about transmission of COVID-19 in other parts of Greater Sydney (which includes Wollongong), new restrictions were announced to be put in place on New Year’s Eve.
  • On the 1st of January 2021,  the NSW Police Force said behaviour at Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 was “very good”.
  • On the 2nd of January 2021, Sydney Spectaculars decided to stop posting event news until the COVID-19 pandemic has eased enough to guarantee public health in New South Wales.

You can find medical/interstate travel information below. For international travel advice, contact your national government. However, Australian travel restrictions are linked below.

Medical Information: World Health Organization

Travel Into Australia: Australian Department Of Home Affairs



Sydney Spectaculars prides itself on providing information on Sydney’s major pyrotechnic, light & projection events that allow visitors from all around the world to see Sydney in it’s most spectacular form in a safe way.

Since, at the heart of what we do is promote major events, we believe it is in the best interest of the public health of New South Wales if we stop providing news on Sydney’s events until the COVID-19 pandemic has eased enough to guarantee New South Wales’s public health.

For information on any COVID-19 cases arising from attendances at Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 and future Sydney Spectacular news, please refer to the mainstream media.

Sydney Spectaculars, in the meantime, will focus on researching the history of these events and we will still update the site, when the events are held, to provide the ever popular event videos and information & for Sydney New Year’s Eve, the fireworks soundtrack listings.

We will just not provide news updates.

We have some exciting plans for the future including the unveiling of a new ‘Sydney Spectacular‘ but these will not be revealed until the COVID-19 pandemic has eased enough so the public health of New South Wales is guaranteed.

To stress, we are not waiting until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide event news updates. We are waiting until we believe the public health of New South Wales is protected enough from COVID-19. Then we will provide event news updates again.

Until next time…

This live blog will now end.



At the NSW Government’s daily COVID-19 press conference, the New South Wales Police Force (NSW Police Force) said behaviour at Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 was “very good by and large across the board” with people adhering to their request to restrict travel and not come into the Central Business District (CBD). The NSW Police Force Marine Area Command said there was only 20% of the normal amount of vessels on Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve this edition. NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian & the NSW Police Force said the Sydney CBD was ‘as empty as we’ve ever seen it’. Here’s a picture from yesterday:

Overseas Passenger Terminal on NYE2020
Photo: Australian Broadcasting Corporation News



Given the current situation on the Northern Beaches and increasing concern about transmission of COVID-19 in other parts of Greater Sydney (which includes Wollongong), new restrictions will be in place on New Year’s Eve. The New South Wales (NSW) Government also now recommends everyone to download the Service NSW smartphone application. You can read more here.



The New South Wales (NSW) Government has today outlined arrangements for a COVID-Safe Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 & updated it’s advice on COVID-Safe restrictions for the Northern Beaches and Greater Sydney. They also recommend people who have made a restaurant etc. booking to download the Service NSW smartphone application. You can read more here.



On the 24th of December, the New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian confirmed Sydney NYE2020 will be going ahead “not matter what” and encouraged the public to watch from home, saying:

We have, at this stage, provided some access for frontline workers & others but again, uh, everything is reassessed based on the most recent cluster of cases so we will provide information to the community in a timely way but we will also wait until the end of the couple of days now over Christmas before we make an assessment based on the health advice, ahm, and we have to appreciate it’s an outdoor setting & there’s certain things that can be done safely but other things that the health experts might tell us they are concerned about but the actual display – the 7 minutes of fireworks at midnight – will be happening no matter what.
I’ll certainly be watching it from home and we encourage everybody else to do that as well.

18TH Of DECEMBER 2020:


Due to today’s announcement of a COVID-19 alert for the Greater Sydney region and given there is less than 14 days until New Year’s Eve, we like to inform our audience that we are now on ‘alert’ for a potential Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 cancellation.



The New South Wales Government today officially announced Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020.

It will feature a 7 minute long Midnight Fireworks done by Foti International Fireworks – 5 minutes shorter than the usual 12 minutes, which has been the case since NYE 2006.

A new logo, which was designed by the NSW Government this year & dedicated webpage were also unveiled.

The Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres, confirmed a televised concert will occur as well. On 2GB, he also said the individual New South Wales Government agencies who control the individual vantage points will choose the frontline workers who will be offered a reservation to view the fireworks from their land.

A special Sydney NYE pass was confirmed as well as new public health orders.

You can apply for a Sydney NYE pass from December 7 assuming you meet certain criteria to attend the event.

The new public health orders come into effect on the 23rd of November.

You can read the full media release (which contains no details on the televised ABC concert) here.

With this year’s edition containing what could be considered the most eagerly anticipated countdown since the Millennium (After all, who is not wanting 2020 to end?), we wondered about how the countdown would be done. After all, today’s announcement had no confirmation of a pylon projection countdown as usually seen in the event particularly after the official projectionists said only a month ago that they had not been contacted by the New South Wales Government. Inside sources gave us a cryptic response regarding the possibility of a pylon projection countdown:

Maybe! Don’t want to give the game away…

Pyrotechnic countdowns have been done off the lower arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in recent years. Whether this is included is unknown.

Maybe the Sydney Opera House will have a projected countdown? Maybe a drone countdown? We’ll have to wait & see.



A Daily Telegraph article on Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 had some of it’s details confirmed by the Premier Of New South Wales (NSW) today.

The prime harbourside viewing areas that would normally be packed with people will instead by set aside for front-line workers who will be able to watch the shortened show as a socially-distanced thank you from the NSW Government.

Ms Gladys Berejiklian, the Premier Of NSW, said:

We do have to put strict rules in place but if some people choose not to respect the rules police will need to act.
Unless you have have a booking in a restaurant or cafe, please do not expect to go to the CBD for New Year’s Eve.
So long as you have a dedicated ticket and somewhere to go, you will be allowed into the CBD but in terms of the public spaces where thousands and thousands of people congregate — that won’t be happening this year
It will be a big shorter display this year than previous years.
We won’t be having the 9pm o’clock fireworks.
It will just be, you know, a couple of minutes at Midnight but I think it is important to mark that celebration.

She added that office spaces could also be used for viewing if the venue had a COVID-Safe plan.

The Premier said she would be watching Sydney New Year’s Eve from home this year.

She said she hoped this would be the only year that she encourages people to do the same.

Ms Berejiklian also revealed the 9pm Family Fireworks had been cancelled for the 2nd time in it’s history & that the Midnight Fireworks would last only “a couple of minutes”.

Source: 7 News, 9 NewsAustralian Broadcasting Corporation



Speaking to InAVate, Geraldine Shine, Brand Manager, Technical Direction Company said:

Sydney NYE celebrations will go ahead.

It has not been made public as to what form this will take in comparison with previous years.

Technical Direction Company won a tender to provide projections on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons for the next 4 years for Sydney NYE.

As yet, we haven’t been informed if that is going ahead.

We are always ready to come up with new ways to approach entertainment but everything seems to be last minute due to the uncertainty around COVID-19.

Sydney Spectaculars sought comment from the NSW Government but they declined to comment.

Sydney Spectaculars believe Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections should not be used on the night to prevent crowds gathering at the sight of the colourful all-night long (8pm to 2am) Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections.



The largest celebration of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere –Vivid Sydney – will return from 6 to 28 August 2021.

Kicking off planning for next year’s event, expressions of interest for the Vivid Light program are now open with artists and creatives invited to take part.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the event would support the recovery of the visitor economy and creative arts sector in a COVID-safe way.

“It’s exciting to get planning underway for Vivid Sydney 2021 so we can deliver another world-class showcase of creativity and innovation here in the Harbour City,” Minister Ayres said.

“We hope that Sydneysiders, residents of NSW and visitors from around the country will start planning now and book accommodation, tours and attractions to make the most of their Vivid Sydney 2021 experience”

“Vivid Sydney also supports the NSW Government’s new 24-Hour Economy Strategy which will help Sydney realise its potential as a thriving global city, and create more employment opportunities in the arts, entertainment, cultural and hospitality sectors.”

Vivid Sydney was established in 2009 and is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW.

The Vivid Sydney Light Walk features dozens of light installations and large-scale projections to create a magical, interactive gallery around Sydney Harbour.

Artists, designers, creatives, architects and engineers can submit their ideas, designs and concepts to be involved in the 2021 Light Walk by Monday 23 November.

“I can’t wait to see the creativity that comes forth – we are all hungry for inspiration, whimsy, innovation and fun, which is exactly what Vivid Sydney is all about,” Minister Ayres said.

Further details about Vivid Sydney 2021 will be shared in due course. To complete an expression of interest go to

Media Release: Vivid Sydney



The new restrictions will allow hospitality venues with outdoor areas and outdoor seated music performances to increase capacity in a COVID Safe way.

The eased restrictions will start from Friday 16 October 2020. Under the new rules:

  • hospitality venues can allow one person for every two square metres for outdoor areas. This previously was one person per four square metres
  • up to 500 people can attend outdoor seated music performances and rehearsals for venues complying with the four square metre rule. This previously was a total of 20 people.

All businesses and venues must use electronic methods such as QR codes to record and keep contact details.

Restaurants, cafes and bars that have outdoor seating sections will be able to increase capacity in a COVID Safe way with the relaxed 2 square metre rule.

Venues and organisers of outdoor music performances and rehearsals must have a COVID Safety Plan in place.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state is focused on keeping COVID-19 under control & ensuring our economy keeps going.

“Our aim is to provide as many opportunities as we can for businesses and organisations to succeed. For that strategy to be successful, we need everyone to follow their COVID-19 Safety Plan,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Learn more and get ready for a COVID Safe summer.

Media Release: NSW Government


With this news, a Sydney NYE concert held by the ABC, as in recent years, is more likely to be held, though with more limited capacity.

Adding to our speculation, the Sydney Opera House announced a day later that they will re-open on the 29th of October. Their restaurants reopened on 10 September.



According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a smaller version of Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) will still go ahead after the City Of Sydney struck an agreement handing responsibility for the event to the New South Wales (NSW) Government.

City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, agreed to the government’s proposal for it to take “temporary custodianship” of this year’s edition during a meeting with NSW Government Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres, this afternoon. The Lord Mayor said in a statement:

He has assured me that the Government will take full responsibility for the preparation and funding for the fireworks & crowd management, safety, traffic and transport & is prepared to cancel the event if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases. There will be restrictions on travel & public gathering which will necessitate police presence on transport routes, around the city & on foreshore areas with fines for non-social distancing compliance.We encourage people to watch this year’s display from the COVID-safety of their homes

The NSW Government Tourism Minister said to The Sydney Morning Herald that he was confident some in-person events could accompany the fireworks display. He said Transport For NSW & NSW Police were willing to run their regular NYE operations and it would be likely that events could occur in restaurants & venues in the central business district with restrictions on people in public places, saying to the newspaper:

We know we will be actively discouraging people from coming to the city who are not planning to be here for ticketed or specialised events but we will work with Health & we will work with the Council to make sure we manage that & provide it as a COVID-safe event

City Of Sydney Councillor, Linda Scott, also wrote an opinion piece for the newspaper titled ‘Don’t turn NYE fireworks into a private event, Premier’ earlier that day at 3:45pm.



According to News Corporation Australia Newswire, City Of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she was concerned 1 million people around Sydney Harbour would pose a major health risk given the unpredictability of COVID-19.

The Lord Mayor said Sydneysiders should be watching the display in the comfort of their own home or at their local pub or club, where it is easier to maintain COVID-19 safe practices.

Ms Moore said the City had considered the difficulties of inviting 1 million people into the city because they’d “likely have to travel on public transport to get here”.

She said she has suggested creating a compilation of the previous 16 years’ (since she has been Lord Mayor) fireworks displays & bringing them to the comfort of people’s homes.

The historic vision would then be coupled with a presentation from Australian artists & performers.

Ms Moore argued that if there were fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge people would still turn up despite being told to stay home. She may be right – as we think it could happen too – read our opinion piece on this issue for more information.

She also said:

It would be very difficult to stop (the spread). We hope that we have outdoor dining & even indoor dining, slightly more liberal than what we have now, by New Year’s Eve.  I’m opposed to doing it (fireworks) because we couldn’t handle another lockdown in Sydney. If we have an event (like this) it could cause a super spread since everyone has come together. We cannot manage huge crowds. I don’t want that on New Year’s Eve.

However, New South Wales (NSW) Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, argued while it might be a difficult task, the NSW Government “does difficult well” and he accepted the Lord Mayor’s views & said the NSW Government faces a balancing act between acknowledging the COVID-19 concerns and opening the Sydney CBD economy.

He also said:

This pandemic is difficult and we’re beating the virus. I want to continue to work with the Lord Mayor. We believe we should have the fireworks not just for the economic benefit, but for the hope that it gives our citizens. Our city is open for business and that’s not just a beacon of hope for people in our city, but globally. I can tell you the government is very, very keen to have the fireworks. We want to demonstrate to the world that we are open.

9 News also reported that the Lord Mayor also wanted a dance performance at Midnight and that the NSW Government, if it were to hold it themselves would cancel the 9pm Family Fireworks and hold a shortened Midnight Fireworks. However, all vantage points would have to be controlled, free and ticketed.



According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian said the public should prepare for New Year’s Eve celebrations to be held under the existing social distancing restrictions. She said:

My expectation is that everybody plan ahead based on the existing health orders. We can’t give any commitment of guarantee beyond that. I would ask everybody to assume the current health orders will be in place. That’s the worst-case scenario.



Just after Midnight (how ironic), according to The Sydney Morning Herald, New South Wales (NSW) Deputy Premier John Barilaro believes the cancellation of Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve celebrations is inevitable saying:

If the regions have to lose big tourism events like this (Tamworth Country Music Festival), then there is no option but to cancel the big drawcard events in Sydney and the most obvious is the New Year’s Eve fireworks

The Deputy Premier is from The Nationals, a political party representing regional and rural areas. It seems the Tamworth Country Music Festival, held in January each year, was cancelled recently sparking his comments today.

Though, a senior government source close to the New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott also told The Sydney Morning Herald that he was concerned about managing crowds in Sydney on New Year’s Eve, given it would be “impossible” to keep people away.

While the City Of Sydney is responsible for the fireworks, the source said NSW Police had already indicated that it would not be feasible to have thousands of people converging on the harbour.

While the Tamworth Country Music Festival has 40,000 annual visitors, according to the NSW Deputy Premier, Sydney Spectaculars believes Sydney NYE2020 would receive about or less than 250,000 visitors, which is 75% down the current attendance rate of 1 million. The decrease is due to the international travel ban (except for international students) as well as NSW & Federal COVID-19 restrictions.

The senior government source also said to The Herald:

I think what we will be told this year is to have small gatherings at home for Christmas and New Year
NSW Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres, then went on radio station 2GB’s Drive With Jim Wilson at 3:12pm:
Later that day at around 6pm, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has sought an urgent meeting with the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian to discuss Sydney NYE2020’s fate.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, when asked about the celebration, Ms Berejiklian said it would have to be approached differently, but she would like to see the event go ahead in a COVID-safe way. Big crowds were out of the question, and most people might be watching the fireworks from home, she said.

The Herald also reported sources with knowledge of a briefing on the fireworks event earlier this week said police, paramedics, transport agencies and council’s staff were of the view that the festivities could not safely go ahead.

The newspaper/website also reported that City Of Sydney Councillor Craig Chung said a decision should be made this week as preparations, including manufacturing fireworks and creating traffic management plans, took months. He said to The Herald:

My view is that Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks belong not just to the City of Sydney but to Sydney and Australia as a whole. It needs to be a joint decision we all make together

Councillor Chung also told The Herald decisions about Sydney Christmas & New Year’s Eve would likely inform what happened for Australia Day In Sydney in late January.

24TH OF AUGUST 2020:

Sydney NYE2020 Event Holding “Has Not Been Resolved To Date” Says City Of Sydney CEO

Today, a City Of Sydney Council Meeting was held where Councillor Christine Forster put forward 3 questions on notice regarding Sydney NYE2020. These questions were:

  1. What discussions have City staff had with the NSW Government regarding the 2020 New Year’s Eve celebrations in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic?

  2. What was the outcome of any discussions that have taken place?

  3. When will the City of Sydney make a final call as to whether celebrations, including any firework displays, will go ahead on New Year’s Eve?

The response received from the Chief Executive Officer was:

City staff have been meeting with the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Events Coordination Group. The matter has not been resolved to date.

19TH OF AUGUST 2020:

Sydney NYE Website Updated To Include A ‘COVID-19 Update’

The Sydney NYE website has been updated to include a ‘COVID-19 Update’. It does not reveal any new information:

Image: City Of Sydney

However, despite this website update in regards to the 2020 edition, the top of the website still contains the annual message after each edition (but, in this case, the 2019 edition):

You’re viewing the 2019 website. Sign up for our updates and be the first to know when we’re ready for 2020.

This could be implying they are not ready for the 2020 edition. Usually this message disappears in September in recent years. However, it could have been reworded as they are now, technically, showing a 2020 edition website.

18TH OF AUGUST 2020:

Vivid Sydney To Return In August 2021

Vivid Sydney will (hopefully) return in August 2021:

It will be held in a COVID-safe manner.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said Vivid Sydney was an important cultural, social and economic beacon for NSW.  He also said:

Major events will play a critical role in stimulating the visitor economy and NSW’s broader COVID-19 recovery strategy. We’re cautiously optimistic that with a slight delay to regular scheduling, Vivid Sydney will be able to proceed as the bright, dynamic event we all know and love in August next year. There’s no doubt that all future events will need to make adjustments to be COVID-safe in line with NSW Health advice and reflect the changes we are experiencing in
day-to-day life. Vivid Sydney has always celebrated and explored innovation and creativity, but more importantly brought joy to people who visit in person or who follow the media and social media coverage. We look forward to reigniting that excitement and passion within the artistic community and our supporters, and creating tangible opportunities for the tourism industry by driving visitors to Sydney and NSW in a safe way.

Further details about Vivid Sydney 2021 will be shared later in 2020.

Sydney Spectaculars have contacted Destination New South Wales as to how it will be held “in a COVID-safe manner”.

16TH OF AUGUST 2020:

Lord Mayor Clover Moore Says Sydney NYE2020 Cancellation “A Real Possibility”

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City Of Sydney was working with the New South Wales (NSW) State Government to assess the impact of COVID-19 on major events, including Sydney Christmas & Sydney NYE, both current Sydney Spectaculars. She also said:

These events are subject to the NSW Government’s public health orders, which are continuously amended to address the local impact of the pandemic. Ultimately, if NSW Health and police can’t be certain that the event can be held safely, it won’t go ahead. It would be incredibly sad if Sydney New Year’s Eve cannot go ahead, but that is a real possibility we’re facing. The community’s health and safety is paramount and it may not be responsible to encourage large crowds to our foreshore

The biggest risk to crowds would after the Midnight Fireworks when everyone is leaving at the same time (unlike arriving, when it is spread throughout the day). The event itself, between 7pm & Midnight, would be a risk with large crowds.

If cancelled, this would be the 1st time since 1988 that Sydney NYE has been cancelled. In 1988, the event was cancelled after a mass murder in The Rocks on NYE1986 after growing incidents of violence since the event’s inception on NYE1976. The event returned on NYE1989 with the introduction of the 9pm Family Fireworks. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was not used for NYE until NYE1990 & the Opera House has only been used for NYE fireworks since NYE2013 as part of their Decade Of Renewal. It also featured in the NYE1999/Millennium edition. The Midnight Fireworks went on a 10-year hiatus since NYE1986 returning on NYE1996 as a brief fireworks show on Sydney Tower.

13TH/14TH Of AUGUST 2020:


It is now looking extremely likely Sydney NYE 2020 will look different to any edition since the iconic Sydney NYE1999 – ‘Sydney’s Millennium’ edition.

Extra-ordinary crowd restrictions seem very likely right now with Sydney Spectaculars predicting less than half of the current attendance (1 million) would turn up due to the other half being international tourists who, as far as we are aware, cannot enter Australia until Midnight on NYE. So a maximum attendance of 500,000 is expected, which is similar to the attendance rates of the early 2000’s, which was shortly after when the event became world famous due to the Millennium. Taking into account the COVID-19 extra-ordinary crowd restrictions, it is very likely attendance would be at a maximum that is definitely way lower than 500,000 people.

However, Sydney Harbour is mostly surrounded by suburbia so people who live around Sydney Harbour could still maybe be the only people legally allowed to watch the show from thir house or on the Harbour if in Harbour-side local government areas they are allowed to use their water vessels on the night. Depending on how the show is developed, it may be shown on television domestically and via the Internet for the event’s international fan base.

Daily Mail Australia was told by a spokesman of the official event organiser, the City Of Sydney:

City of Sydney Council is working with the government to assess the impact of COVID-19 on all major events, including New Year’s Eve.

These events are subject to the NSW Government’s public health orders, which are continuously amended to address the local impact of the pandemic

Where events are deemed safe enough to occur, we will prepare and enact COVID safe plans and physical distancing guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of our community, staff and contractors

The City Of Sydney has worked with the New South Wales (NSW) State Government with the event’s management since the inaugural edition in 1976. Currently, since 2001, a regularly renewed 5-year Memorandum Of Understanding connects the NSW State Government with the event so ‘talks with the NSW State Government’ are not unusual.

The City Of Sydney’s response to Daily Mail Australia’s enquiries subsequently prompted media queries to Stuart Ayres, the New South Wales Tourism Minister:

He then appeared on Radio 2GB’s Ben Fordham Show at 6:53am AEST on Friday the 14th of August 2020:

Sydney Spectaculars was planning to write an opinion piece in July about how the City Of Sydney should approach Sydney NYE2020. We will try to publish this as soon as possible (It is still a draft).

22ND OF MAY 2020:


Vivid Sydney was supposed to begin today for 18 nights but Sydneysiders dislike their events being cancelled. They could not cope in 1987 when Sydney NYE was cancelled for 2 years & still could not when Vivid Sydney was cancelled for the 1st time ever this year due to COVID-19. A Sydneysider has started up a ‘DIY (Do It Yourself) Vivid Australia’ event:

Sydney’s Vivid Festival has been COVID-19 cancelled… or has it?!

Get your own festive lights out on your balcony, switch over your lounge room bulbs to COLOUR. Get your self isolation pad LIT for our own makeshift DIY Vivid Australia starting on Friday 22 May 2020! #DIYvivid

Shine some light in these dark times! Connect together, but from a distance.

First night livestream with tunes from Tassone at 7pm!

It is being hosted by DIY Rainbow, who ‘chalk DIY rainbows for equality’ and begins at 7pm each night in your Australian time zone.

If you are the organiser of DIY Vivid Australia, can you contact us or use our feedback form as a means of communication? As we study Sydney’s major events from an historical perspective, your insight would be great in such a major milestone in human history.

Their version finishes on the night of June 5.

It is not an official Vivid Sydney event.

24TH & 25TH OF APRIL 2020:


1ST OF APRIL 2020:


Richard Wilkins, long-time television (co-)host of ‘Sydney NYE’ from the 1996 edition to the 2005 edition, has tested negative to COVID-19.

He was first tested positive on the 15th of March and had remained in home quarantine since – a total of 19 days – where he was tested positive at least 2 more times.

On his Instagram, he wrote, accompanied with a video of him symbolically throwing an empty box of Corona beer into the recycling bin:

…and Coronavirus you’re outta here! I’ve been cleared to return to work by the incredible team at NSW Health. #NEGATIVE!! Thanks all… KIA KAHA… much love. RW x

We wish Richard future good health & all the people still infected with COVID-19 to get well very soon.

29TH OF MARCH 2020:

The Australian Government has released 2 ‘Coronavirus Australia’ apps & a WhatsApp channel for COVID-19.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, today announced:

Today we have been able to put in place the WhatsApp feature, and if you search for “” you will get access to a new messaging service which enables us to talk to more Australians in terms of basic health advice, updates on the measures that are being put in place by State and Federal Governments, and that will assist you to get to be accurate and timely information about what is being done by governments around the country to support you and your family.
I can also say that on the Apple app store, you can download the coronavirus app.
I did that this morning and that is available and is doing the same thing, providing further information, more resources
“That is an official source of information and I would ask for the support of media in promoting those channels where people can get access to that information.
You can also download an Android version here.
These services would come in handy for potential international
visitors to Australia once the pandemic is over.

25TH OF MARCH 2020:


Richard Wilkins, long-time television (co-)host of ‘Sydney NYE’ from the 1996 edition to the 2005 edition, who tested positive for COVID-19 on the 15th of March, has given an update on his condition.
On his Instagram, he wrote:
So …. I’ve now returned a positive result THREE times… still can’t believe it as I still have ZERO symptoms. They tested me again today ,.. and hopefully will return a NEGATIVE result. Fingers crossed!!! The suggestion is …. that 3 days after the last symptom …people should ‘assume’ that they’re over this thing … and ‘proceed with caution’ ! I find this totally unacceptable and irresponsible! I completely understand the fact that the last thing the Health Dept wants to do is spend days retesting people like me… and God knows that I don’t want to soak up resources… but I don’t see how I can walk out my front door until I have a clean ‘bill of health’! I know the health system is fighting a huge battle … and resources are stretched …but in clear conscience … I can’t put others at risk … until I’m assured that I’m not POSITIVE anymore ! Love to all RW XX
We wish Richard & all people infected with COVID-19 to get well very soon.

24TH OF MARCH 2020:



The PM announces restrictions have been extended

The Government has completed the list of the types of activities they have determined are “appropriate” at this time.

As well as those that aren’t.

From midnight tomorrow night these activities will no longer be permitted

  • Cafes are limited to takeaway, as was announced on Sunday
  • Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gambling venues, adult entertainment venues, concert venues and stadiums, which were also announced on Sunday
  • Amusement parks and arcades
  • Indoor and outdoor play centres
  • Community and recreation centres, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre, spin facilities, saunas, wellness centres, boot camps
  • Personal training must move outdoors and is limited to a maximum of 10 people
  • Social, sporting-based activities and swimming pools
  • Weddings can go ahead but only with no more than five people and funerals can go ahead but only with no more than 10 people. Both are subject to social distancing rules
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, libraries, community centres, non-essential facilities, community facilities such as halls and Police Citizens Youth Clubs
  • Hairdressers and barber shops can continue services, but the Prime Minister says social distancing must be practised and the number of people on premises must be limited
  • Food courts in shopping centres will no longer be permitted, though takeaway can continue
  • Auction houses
  • Outdoor and indoor markets will be addressed specifically in individual states and territories
  • Personal services such as beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlours (but not physiotherapy) are banned

‘Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary you go out’

The PM says people should only go out for the “basics, going out for exercise, perhaps with your partner or family members provided it’s a small group, that’s fine”.
But people should not go out and “participate more broadly in the community unless you’re shopping for basics or there are medical needs or you’re providing care and support to an individual at another place”.
“Going to work [is permitted] … where you can, work from home. That is encouraged.”
The Prime Minister says that visits to your home should be kept to a minimum and with a very small number of guests.
“So that means barbecues with lots of friends, or even family, extended family, coming together to celebrate one-year-olds’ birthday parties and those sorts of things, we can’t do those things now.”

The states and territories will be looking at making house parties an offence

Mr Morrison says: “House parties where someone wants to now have social events at someone’s home, the states and territories will be particularly looking at that one and consider whether they’ll specifically put measures in place that could lead to that being and offence for those who have organised those types of events.”
The Prime Minister adds: “Now, the medical experts panel have made suggestions about how that can be managed.
“It’s very difficult to put a number on it. But the point about it is this: If you’re gathering together in a group, say, 10 people, together, outside in a group, that’s not OK. We’ve got to move people on. It’s not a hard and fast rule. I say it only for illustrative purposes.”

This means, in Australia, if you are still planning an ‘on-ground’ Earth Hour 2020 event, it must follow the new restrictions above as well as no longer be held in a venue mentioned above which is restricted from opening.

23RD OF MARCH 2020:


New South Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said this:

New South Wales, along with every other state, will be putting in additional enforcement measures from midday today, and as was said last night by the Prime Minister.

This includes venues such as pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and entertainment venues. Restaurants and cafes and the like will be restricted to home delivery and takeaway.

Today, this morning, the website will have specific details about which venues will no longer be allowed to operate in the normal way from noon today. This will provide certainty to businesses.

This means, in Australia, if you are still planning an ‘on-ground’ Earth Hour 2020 event, it can no longer be held in a venue mentioned above which is restricted from opening.

22ND OF MARCH 2020:



Licensed areas of pubs and other venues to be closed tomorrow

“When we all don’t do the right thing then it has real implications for others,” says Mr Morrison

He says in stage 1 of Government plan that gatherings in the following facilities will be closed as of midday tomorrow. Licensed areas in hotels and pubs.

Entertainment venues and casinos.Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to TAKE AWAY.

“This should highlight to all Australians how serious this is,” Mr Morrison said.


Scott Morrison says ‘no confidence’ that initial measures would have been followed

The Prime Minister said during the press conference that the reason for the new restrictions being put in place is that he and the CMO Brendan Murphy had no confidence the initial warnings were being followed, and highlighted the actions of the younger members of society in his comments.
“What we’re doing here is dealing with the principal places of social gathering,” Mr Morrison said.
“We don’t now have any confidence that people would refrain from gathering in those ways, in those places, pubs, clubs, nightclubs and Dr Murphy has made it pretty clear that’s principally among the younger community.
“We have no confidence that will be followed, so unfortunately, because guidelines can’t be followed, then for public health reasons we now need to take a further action which shuts those gatherings down.”

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy also had a bit to say – here are the key parts of his speech

  • ​We must live differently
“If Australia is going to get through the challenge of this pandemic over the coming months, we have to live differently,” Dr Murphy said.
  • Implores younger Aussies to take this seriously

“We’ve been making that point very clear over the last week. But it’s also clear that some people haven’t got it. I’m particularly talking to young people who may think they’re immune to the effects of this virus,” he said.

“As a young person you don’t want to be responsible for the severe and possibly fatal disease of an elder, vulnerable Australian.”

  • Mass events a problem
“We’ve had some events in Australia where 35 people have picked up the virus from one particular function. We cannot allow this sort of spread to happen.”
  • High international impact
“Many of the cases that we have seen in the last few days have been from international travelers. We’ve seen some irresponsible behaviour from people who were told to quarantine and have not. And they have spread the virus. We now have to be absolutely rigid. If you come back from anywhere, a cruise ship, a plane, and you come back to this country, you go home and you quarantine for two weeks, no exceptions. You are putting your fellow Australians at risk if you break that rule.”

PM’s office releases statement

This is a direct media release from the PM’s Office

Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.
The following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:
  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).
Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.
Other facilities are not impacted, but will be considered under stage 2 restrictions, if necessary.
These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.
Leaders noted that these enhanced measures build on existing measures to slow the virus and save lives:
  • No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.
  • All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm. All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule.
  • Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • Avoid non essential travel
  • Restrictions on entering aged care homes to protect older Australians
This means, in Australia, if you are still planning an ‘on-ground’ Earth Hour 2020 event, it can no longer be held in a venue mentioned above which is restricted from opening.

20TH OF MARCH 2020:


From  their ‘Fireworks’ webpage:

Following advice from the Federal Government to limit public gatherings of more than 500 people, Fireworks in Darling Harbour will be cancelled until further notice.

We encourage you to refer to the NSW Health website for the latest information relating to COVID-19.

Next Saturday’s fireworks were not planned to go ahead anyway due to Earth Hour.

The Australian Government has announced an 1 person per 4 square metres arrangement for non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people until further notice.

The Prime Minister, The Honourable Scott Morrison MP, announced:

What we are now moving to is an arrangement for gatherings of less than 100, is that they would be four square metres provided per person in an enclosed space, in a room. So that’s 2m by 2m. So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premises, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that’s 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room.

The ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 people or more & non-essential outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more still remains in place until further notice.

This means, in Australia, if you are still planning an ‘on-ground’ Earth Hour 2020 event indoors, whatever your room size is (in square metres), divide it by 4. That is your new capacity, unless it is above 100 people. If it is above 100 people, your capacity is 100 people no matter what.

18TH OF MARCH 2020:


From their ‘Coronavirus Update’ webpage, which will be updated regularly:


In these unprecedented times, we appreciate the ongoing community concern about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to reassure you that the team at Darling Harbour have been vigilant in monitoring the situation and share how we are proactively implementing measures to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all customers, retailers, staff and local community.


We have high standards of rigorous cleaning and hygiene through our shopping and dining precincts and have recently increased our vigilance of cleaning in frequently used touch points.

We are working closely with our retailer partners to ensure they follow the same levels of cleanliness and hygiene.

As per the guidance of the Department of Health, we encourage all customers to maintain good personal hygiene practices including washing your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, covering your mouth while coughing and sneezing, and keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent germs from spreading. If you are unwell, stay home and seek medical attention immediately if you are showing any of the viral symptoms. If you have travelled to the high-risk countries, a 14-day self-quarantine should be followed, as per health guidelines.

For additional information please visit:


With a strong focus on following the necessary wellbeing precautions, Darling Harbour remains open and trading so that we can continue to serve our community and our retailers, ensuring that products and services are readily available.  Individual store trading hours may vary and are subject to change and we encourage our customers to keep up-to-date via our website, or contact us at

As circumstances continue to evolve, we will remain vigilant and responsive to amending our approach, ensuring that the health, safety and wellbeing of our customers, retailers, staff and community is our highest priority.

We thank you for your continued support.

The Australian Government has BANNED non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 people or more & non-essential outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more until further notice.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, today announced:

The decisions they have made is that to put a ban on non-essential gatherings of persons 100 or greater in indoor areas. Outdoor areas it is 500 and indoor areas it is 100. That is effective now, as of today and those arrangements, in terms of the legal enforcement of those measures are being put in place by the states and territories.

There is a baseline that has been established amongst the national cabinet which reflected in a lot of the legislation that was put in in relation to the outdoor ban and that is an airport, public transportation, which includes public transportation facilities, such as stations, platforms, stops, trains, trams, buses, these are essential. Medical and health service facilities, emergency service facilities, disability or aged care facilities, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other places of custody, courts or tribunals.

Parliaments, food market, supermarket, grocery store, retail store, shopping centre that is necessary for the normal business of those premises. Office buildings, factories, construction sites, mining sites, necessary for their normal operation.

Non-essential is everything else. States and Territories have the ability to add to those lists as they see fit, based on the advice and we are seeking to coordinate that.

This means, in Australia, if you are still planning an ‘on-ground’ Earth Hour 2020 event indoors, it must have 100 people or less in attendance & if outdoors, it must have 500 people or less.

17TH OF MARCH 2020:


Earth Hour has not been cancelled but instead of ‘on-ground events’, Earth Hour is urging people to do Earth Hour digitally instead this year. They have added these questions to their global Frequently Asked Questions’ webpage:

Will Earth Hour events take place this year, given the threat of the COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

The well-being and health of our supporters and staff is our top priority. Many countries are currently facing a health crisis with the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives from this outbreak and our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones or who are sick.  Given the unprecedented circumstances, the Earth Hour global organizing team is advising that Earth Hour is celebrated digitally this year but countries should decide what to do for the best in line with national guidelines.

There are many ways to encourage participation online or at home so your communities can show support for the planet on and around the hour.  If you are planning an Earth Hour event online in your own community, here are some great ideas. If you do decide to continue with an on-the-ground Earth Hour event, please closely follow national health guidelines on hosting large public events and make a decision based on the advice provided by your country’s Ministry of Health.

Wherever you are, you can help make this year’s Earth Hour bigger than ever by speaking up for nature loss and and showing your support online by adding your Voice for the Planet. Please ask your family and friends to do the same.

Earth Hour has always been a people-led movement. The well-being and health of our supporters and staff is our top priority. We stand in solidarity and support of our global communities and encourage all participants to celebrate Earth Hour safely.

Do you think it is appropriate to celebrate Earth Hour when the world is facing a global health crisis? Why doesn’t WWF simply cancel Earth Hour?

The well-being and health of our supporters and staff is our top priority. In the midst of the COVID 19 health crisis, we need to stand together now more than ever to safeguard our future and the future of our planet. Earth Hour 2020 is more than a symbolic event, it is a global environmental movement to stop the destruction of nature on which our health, happiness and future prosperity depends. Nature is the planet’s life support system and gives us everything we need; from the air we breathe, the water we drink, to the food we eat. The link between nature and good health has been well documented. Even spending two hours a week in nature is known to lead to better health. Nature underpins our life, health and well-being but it is in a crisis!  Now is not the time to pause our collective work, but a time to respond more creatively, work more collaboratively, and listen and adapt more effectively. 

We are therefore advising that communities celebrate Earth Hour digitally this year and follow national health guidelines on attending and hosting public events. Whichever way you, your community, your family or your friends choose to celebrate Earth Hour this year, we can still raise our collective voices to secure a New Deal for Nature and People, even if this year, we are doing it from the safety of our homes. Show your support online by adding your Voice for the Planet.  Please ask your family and friends to do the same.

Some of the countries celebrating Earth Hour digitally are in fact hosting virtual events as exciting and ambitious as our physical events. Stay tuned for more updates on this page to find out more.

What is WWF’s message to the thousands of gatherings planned for Earth Hour?

The health and safety of your community should be your first priority. Please follow these best practice guidelines:

  • The Earth Hour global organising team advises that communities celebrate Earth Hour digitally this year. There are many ways to encourage participation online or at home to show support for the planet on and around the hour – here are some great ideas.
  • If you decide to host an Earth Hour on-ground event, you should always closely follow national health guidelines on hosting public events and make a decision based on the advice provided by your Ministry of Health. And remember, your attendees may have concerns. You can reassure them by providing them with the latest information, based on national health guidelines.
  • We recommend you continue monitoring and following national health guidelines closely as circumstances are dynamic and can change on a daily basis. It would be good to have contingency plans in place in the case of an on-ground event cancellation. Do also prepare a communication plan to keep participants and partners informed. Ensure timely and transparent communication.

Whichever way you, your family or your friends choose to participate in Earth Hour this year, your collective voices are vitally important. Together, we must secure a New Deal for Nature and People to protect and restore nature for people and the planet.

Earth Hour is on Saturday the 28th of March 2020 between 8:30pm & 9:30pm in your time zone.

Remember, it is the only Sydney Spectacular you can attend anywhere on Earth. It started in Sydney in 2007 by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) before going global the following year.

Of course, Australian Earth Hour on-ground events, including in Sydney where the Spectacular was started, are advised by the Australian Federal Government to impose a 500 person capacity.

And remember, anywhere around the world,  you can still turn the lights off for 1 hour at 8:30pm in your time zone if it safe to do so due to the COVID-19 virus & according to your National Government. But if you can’t, follow the digital options in the links featured in the Frequently Asked Questions above.

16th of March 2020:


Opera Australia today released this statement:

On advice from the government, we have…cancelled the season of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour — La Traviata.

If you have tickets for a cancelled performance, you’ll receive an email with further details about how to refund or exchange your tickets.

If you have any questions, please email We are experiencing long wait times on the phone. Our box offices in Sydney and Melbourne are closed to visitors.

The month-long nightly ticketed performance has been one of the most well known performances globally to see due to it’s backdrop, unique stages & use of fireworks.

The event began in 2012 with a performance of ‘La Traviata’ and last year, they did a musical for the 1st time. The 2020 edition, which returns to being an opera, was due to begin on March 27 & conclude on April 26. Until late March 2022 it is then.

For those who will miss out, you can buy a copy of the 2012 version as well as the other editions since via this link:…/progr…/handa-opera-sydney-harbour

15th of March 2020:


The full statement can be found here.

It is Australia’s largest & most attended (around 2.4 million) event, surpassing even the more iconic ‘Sydney NYE’. Vivid Sydney begun in 2009 while Sydney NYE begun in 1976, cancelled in 1987 & 1988 and became world famous at the turn of the Millennium.

Vivid Sydney began in 2009. The 23-day event was due to begin on May 22 this year with a media launch due on Tuesday (now clearly cancelled). Until late-May 2021 it is then.

This has been a BIG announcement that only just broke (early hours here in Australia).

Most significant since the Sydney NYE cancellation of 1987 (due to a mass murder in The Rocks on NYE 1986)


Richard Wilkins, long-time television (co-)host of ‘Sydney New Year’s Eve’ from the 1996 edition to the 2005 edition has tested positive for COVID-19, after being in close contact with Rita Wilson, the wife of Tom Hanks.
9 News confirmed the network’s entertainment editor and Weekend TODAY host’s news to Australian Broadcasting Corporation News.
We wish Richard & all people infected with COVID-19 to get well very soon.

13th of March 2020:

The Australian Government advised people and event organisers not to attend/hold gatherings that feature 500 people or more in a stationary position from Monday the 16th of March.

Public transport is exempted from this advice.

This advice will be clarified on Sunday the 15th of March by the Australian Government.

Permanent Sydney Spectaculars

We do not believe Badu Gili, the light show on Luna Park Sydney’s Ferris Wheel & the Australian National Maritime Museum projections (if any are currently or proposed to be on before Vivid Sydney, please check with the Museum if any are on or proposed to be on) would be affected as they would receive a stationary audience of less than 500 people. However, the Saturday night Darling Harbour fireworks may feature a crowd of more than 500 people.

We have contacted Darling Harbour for clarification on the Saturday night fireworks.

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney, which begins on May 22, features some of these types of stationary 500+ people events. It’s signature event, the Vivid Light Walk, is not yet affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but some Light projection shows and particularly any Vivid Music & Ideas events with 500+ in attendance might be. Cruises with 500+ in attendance may be too but not Sydney Ferries as it is considered public transport. We encourage any cruise companies affected to contact us if they are still doing cruises for Vivid (assuming parts of the event is held during the pandemic). The event is planned to conclude on the 13th of June. As you can tell, this is in peak influenza season and hundreds of thousands of people will feature on the Vivid Light Walk nightly particularly on (long) weekends and Friday nights so there is a chance you may catch a virus with similar symptoms to CO-VID19. Be extra cautious if the event is still on during the pandemic and you decide to attend.

Last week, we contacted Vivid Sydney about how the virus would affect the event & when the media launch would be. We have received no response so far. However, the media launch for the event is due next Tuesday (though this has not been confirmed by us). There is a chance the media launch may be postponed until medical advice suggests the event may be held.

There is also a slight possibility Vivid Sydney 2020 could be postponed depending on future medical advice.

If Vivid Sydney 2020 is cancelled, it will be the 1st flagship Sydney Spectacular to be cancelled since October 2001 when the Centenary Of Federation Navy Fleet Review (which was to feature the Battle Of Australia fireworks/light show) was cancelled due to the September 11 attacks less than a month earlier in New York City, USA.

At this stage, Vivid Sydney is still on.

Earth Hour

The next non-flagship Sydney Spectacular is Earth Hour however that does not fit the requirements of the advice above so that can go ahead. In fact, you can be part of it anywhere in the world on 28 March for 1 hour between 8:30pm & 9:30pm. Just make sure you are with less than 500 people at that time or at least, moving around (not in the same spot, obviously).

Sydney Spectaculars will be placing extra emphasis on Earth Hour this year given the threat global warming is placing on the Sydney Spectaculars long-term.

Handa Opera On Sydney Harbour: La Traviata

The day before Earth Hour, Handa Opera On Sydney Harbour: La Traviata, a nightly performance on Sydney Harbour complete with fireworks, begins. It runs until April 26.

Opera Australia, on their website, said:

We are currently working out what this means for us. We will have an update on the morning of Monday 16 March.

Other Sydney Spectaculars

All other Sydney Spectaculars after Vivid Sydney are too far in the future right now to be concerned about. However, stay tuned to this live blog.

Update On Restrictions – Effective Midnight 30 December

Statement from Gladys Berejiklian and Brad Hazzard 

Given the current situation on the Northern Beaches and increasing concern about transmission of COVID-19 in other parts of Greater Sydney (which includes Wollongong) new restrictions will be in place on New Year’s Eve.

This decision has been made taking into account updated health advice from Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant.

For New Year’s Eve in Greater Sydney (including Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains) the following will apply;

  • Household gatherings will be limited to 5 visitors (including children).
  • The limit for outdoor gatherings will be reduced from 50 to 30.

Restrictions for the northern zone of the Northern Beaches remain the same but for the southern zone of the Northern Beaches the following will now apply;

  • Household gatherings will be limited to 5 visitors from within your zone (including children).

These changes come into effect from midnight tonight (Wednesday 30 December) and will be in place until further notice.

People are encouraged to limit non-essential gatherings over the New Year period where possible to further minimise the risk of transmission in the community.

We thank the community for their patience.

Our priority is always to keep the community safe.

We are watching the emerging situation closely and will update the community accordingly should any further changes be required.

Media Statement: New South Wales Government – The Premier & Health and Medical Research Minister