Shows this year's Sydney NYE artwork

Sydney NYE 2019 – ‘Unity’

The 4th Revolution Has Finally Begun!

  • Organiser/Event Creative Director: City Of Sydney
  • ‘Calling Country’ Creative Consultant: Rhoda Roberts
  • Visual Identity/Artwork Creators: Garbett Design
  • Fireworks Provider: Foti International Fireworks
  • Fireworks Soundtrack Producer: Dan Murphy (official) & Electric Fields (copyright-free version (Midnight Fireworks version called Stardust))
  • Pylon Projections: Artists In Motion
  • Lighting Director: ZZ (Ziggy Zeigler) Creative Australia
  • Radio Broadcaster: KIIS 106.5  FM (fireworks soundtracks) & 702 AM ABC Sydney (concert)
  • Television/Internet Broadcaster: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Television/Internet Broadcast Host: Charlie Pickering
  • Party Of The Decades Charity Concert Television/Internet Broadcast Co-Host: Zan Rowe
  • Charity Partner: Refugee Council Of Australia (Official) & Australian Red Cross (Special)

Theme/Firework Details

This is the 1st year since 1995 that has not featured an official theme. The designated theme of ‘Unity’ was chosen by Sydney Spectaculars as the best matching retrospectively. 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects will feature in the 9pm Family Fireworks, Calling Country & Midnight Fireworks together.


The City purchased GreenPower certificates to the equivalent of our energy use. These covered 10 sites across the city, including Bicentennial and Pirrama parks and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The certificates will support the production of renewable energy at Sapphire Wind Farm in northern NSW.

Public recycling bins were trialled on New Year’s Eve for the 1st time at Herald Square, Wynyard Station and Sydney Town Hall.

It was the event’s worst air quality since NYE2001, spiking to a hazardous level of 238 at around 8:30am in the morning though mostly throughout the last 24 hours of 2019 & the first 2 hours of 2020, it went from a fair level of 81 to a very poor level of 153. NYE2001 was similar except before 12:30pm, it was declining from a hazardous level of about 320.

Emergency/Volunteer Services

Some 3000 police officers will be on duty around the harbour foreshore, including on the water. The Sunday Telegraph understood that fire trucks would be stationed at headlands & bushland vantage points around the Harbour throughout NYE.

The event has 250 volunteers.

The flags of Australia & New South Wales atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge were lowered to half-mast during NYE out of respect for the people who died in the bushfires prior to NYE. A few even died on NYE itself.


The City of Sydney wouldn’t say to the ABC if the idea of drones had even been discussed. However, it was revealed in a Council meeting on the 6th of March 2020 that it had been discussed.

Lord Mayor’s Picnic – Circus

The Lord Mayor’s Picnic usually begins at 5pm and finishes at the end of the 9pm Family Fireworks.

From the 17th of February 2020 Council Meeting Questions On Notice:

The Lord Mayor’s Picnic finished earlier than expected due to severe wind localised at the event site. This caused the stage to move and become unsafe for the continuation of stage programming. Ongoing wind soon after resulted in wind limits being reached for the safe use of marquees on site, meaning all other activities had to be shut down early. Guests were asked to leave the site for safety reasons.

The event took place for two hours before it was ended early as it became unsafe to
continue. It was not possible for staff to give advance notice of this situation.

The maximum wind-speeds in which City of Sydney event sites are able to continue
operating is determined based on the types of structures/infrastructure installed on site, and in consultation with our engineers and suppliers.

The Lord Mayor’s Picnic ended early as it had become unsafe to continue due to the high winds localised at the event site.


A decision to remove the 6pm Matt Hall Aerial Display was made as part of a “creative review”.

The 7pm Fire Tug display was cancelled on the day due to strong winds potentially spraying the foreshore audience with water in what were already cold & windy conditions.

This meant the Pre-Show Entertainment began at 7:30pm, 1.5 hours later than in 2018 & meant an aerial display by Matt Hall won’t open the event but the arrival of the Welcome To Country/Smoking Ceremony will.

Pre-Show Entertainment:

  • 7pm: Fire Tug
  • 7:30pm: Welcome To Country & Smoking Ceremony


The shows opened with an aerial display by Matt Hall with the Sydney Harbour Bridge light shows & pylon projections also beginning at 8pm.

Links to the online donation appeal & tributes to the brave firefighters were projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons throughout the night. Projections also featured the official Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 charity partner, the Refugee Council of Australia, reminding people to make 2020 a year of welcome to refugees.

Calling Country

This was held 5 minutes early due to the Family Fireworks’ postponement.

The brightest lighting beam in the southern hemisphere shone from the western summit of the Bridge for the 1st time. It was nicknamed the Unity beam. It later featured during the Family & Midnight Fireworks.

‘Unity’ beam below the Australian & New South Wales flags at half mast on NYE2019. Photograph: 9 News

Flares that were to feature during this segment were not fired due to the strong winds.

The following 4 messages appeared at various points during the segment in the live TV/Internet broadcast:

The songmen announce their arrival onto the territories of the Gadigal people

The warrior carries a message stick, with blessings from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council

The gifting of a message stick pays homage to Aboriginal identity and community connections to country

The Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore receives the message stick as a symbol of respect, unity and understanding


  1. 2019 Calling Country – Damian Robinson

9pm Family Fireworks – Circus

Due to strong winds, the Family Fireworks were postponed for 15 minutes.

For the 1st time ever, the Family Fireworks had the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections & Harbour Of Light Parade vessels synchronised to the fireworks soundtrack.

The countdown was done very differently this year on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons. Instead of the usual 10 second countdown, a rocket was ‘lowered’ into place before the numbers ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1’ appeared on either side of the rocket’s tip. These numbers then lit up brighter for a 5 second countdown.


  1. Treaty – Yothu Yindi
  2. Make The World Go RoundSandy B (Deep Dish Remix)
  3. Giant – Calvin Harris & Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
  4. Can We PretendP!nk featuring Cash Cash
  5. If I Can’t Have You – Shawn Mendes
  6. LullabySigala & Paloma Faith
  7. Absolutely Everybody (Latino Remix) – Vanessa Amorosi
  8. Higher Love (Kygo & Whitney Houston cover/remix) – Steve Winwood
  9. Choir – Guy Sebastian
  10. ME! – Taylor Swift featuring Brandon Urie of Panic! At The Disco
  11. Old Town RoadLil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus (Remix)
  12. ShallowLady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
  13. Cut to the Feeling – Carly Rae Jaspen

Party Of The Decades Charity Concert 

Huh, why is this here?

The lighting display on the Sydney Harbour Bridge was synchronized to nearly all the music of the Concert.

A ticket ballot was held between 23 & 29 November.

This year’s concert, which started at around 9:30pm, featured songs from the 1960’s to the present. Apart from the TV & Internet broadcasts, the Concert was also broadcast on ABC Radio Sydney so if you were down near/on the Harbour, the Bridge was your dance lights. A donation drive for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund also occurred during the concert.

Funds raised on the night enabled the Australian Red Cross to continue its important disaster relief and recovery work, giving people the support they need in emergencies, including the bushfires and disasters yet to come. The Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, as of 23rd December 2019, includes recovery programs, practical support and emergency grants in communities affected by the recent bushfires (Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Donations were made via the Red Cross, online at: or by calling 1800 733 276 or 1800 RED CROSS. However, the site crashed a few times on the night & on January 4, which was a particularly bad bushfire day in Australia.

Many sites around Sydney Harbour also took cash donations on the night. The donation drive primarily occurred due to the bushfires wrecking havoc in Australia for the past 4 months and who knows how much longer…(hopefully not much longer!). The Australian Red Cross welcomed this.

$13.3 million was raised from the ABC fund out of the total $23 million raised (since NYE) from the wider Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund.

Note: All songs & covers below also featured the Party Of The Decades band. Songs were played decade by decade but not in chronological order.


  1. You Really Got Me (Phil Jamieson cover) – The Kinks
  2. Heard It Through The Grapevine (Aloe Blacc cover) –  Gladys Knight & The Pips
  3. At Last (Vika Bull cover) – Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (Technically, a 1941 song but gained popularity in 1960 from Etta James’ cover)
  4. Different Drum (Linda Bull cover) – The Greenbriar Boys
  5. I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free) (Adrian Eagle cover) – Billy Taylor
  6. The Real Thing – Russell Morris


  1. Common People (Marlon Williams cover) – Pulp
  2. You Oughta Know (Natalie Foster cover) –  Alanis Morissette
  3. Just A Girl (Natalie Foster cover) – No Doubt
  4. The Honeymoon Is Over (Tex Perkins cover) – The Cruel Sea
  5. Accidently Kelly Street (Angie Hart cover) – Frente!
  6. Bizarre Love Triangle (Angie Hart cover) – New Order (Technically, a 1986 song but gained popularity in 1995 when a remix was released)


  1. I Need A DollarAloe Blacc
  2. Wake Me Up (Aloe Blacc cover) –Avicii
  3. Uptown Funk (Mojo Juju cover) – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
  4. A.O.K – Adrian Eagle
  5. Rolling In The Deep (Casey Donovan cover) – Adele


  1. Toxic (Kate Miller-Heidke cover) – Britney Spears
  2. Hey Ya! (Mojo Juju cover) – Outkast
  3. Valerie (Adrian Eagle cover) The Zutons
  4. One Crowded Hour (Glenn Richards cover) – Augie March


  1. Livin’ In The 70’s (Tex Perkins cover) – Skyhooks
  2. The Nips Are Getting Bigger (Tex Perkins cover) – Mental As Anything
  3. Jealous Guy (Marlon Williams cover) – John Lennon
  4. Wuthering Heights (Kate Miller-Heidke cover) – Kate Bush
  5. Fernando (Vika & Linda cover) – ABBA
  6. Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy) (Russell Morris cover) – Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs
  7. Rebel Rebel (Phil Jamieson cover) – David Bowie
  8. I Will Survive (Casey Donovan cover) – Gloria Gaynor


  1. Under The Milky Way (Steve Kilbey cover) – The Church
  2. If I Could Turn Back Time (Casey Donovan cover) – Cher
  3. Purple Rain (Phil Jamieson & Casey Donovan cover) – Prince & The Revolution


  1. With A Little Help From My Friends (Party Of The Decades cover) – The Beatles
  2. Midnight Fireworks (see below)
  3. Auld Lang Syne (Marlon Williams cover) – Robert Burns

Harbour Of Light Parade

The Harbour Of Light Parade was postponed by 30 minutes to 9:45pm due to the 15 minute postponement of the 9pm Family Fireworks, which concluded at 9:23pm this year due to said postponement.

Midnight Fireworks

All songs featured at least 1 Australian artist.

The Harbour Of Light Parade vessels were once again synchonised with the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack. This time with more advanced programming.

For the 1st time ever, the Midnight Fireworks had the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections synchronised to the fireworks soundtrack.

The countdown on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons was done differently this year. It started at 80 seconds to go and instead of counting down 1 number at a time, it counted down 10 seconds at a time until 20 seconds to go. The final 20 seconds were counted down 1 number at a time with gold pyrotechnics firing along the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s inner roadway from the pylons to the centre just like they did (but in red/purple) on NYE2007.


  1. 2000 & WhateverElectric Fields
  2. Go Bang (Extended Mix) – Pnau featuring Kira Divine
  3. Cool as HellBaker Boy
  4. Say It – Thandi Phoenix & Sigma
  5. Feeling – Flight Facilities
  6. Dance MonkeyTones & I
  7. Exit SignHilltop Hoods featuring Illy & Ecca Vandal
  8. StrangerPeking Duk featuring Elliphant
  9. Chains – Tina Arena (S & M Remix)
  10. Zero Gravity  – Kate Miller-Heidke (7th Heaven Remix)
  11. Losing ItFisher & Chris Lake
  12. UFOSneaky Sound System
  13. Solid GoldPNAU featuring Kira Divine & Marques Toliver
  14. Titanium – David Guetta featuring Sia
  15. Don’t Dream It’s OverCrowded House


45 tonnes of waste were collected. It was also the greenest event to date, with City sites and operations using 100% accredited GreenPower.