Millions Of Australians Welcome The New Year On The ABC & Donate To The Red Cross

Australians across the country and people around the world turned to the ABC on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the biggest night of the year and to support bushfire-affected communities. The ABC’s Party of the Decades reached 3.5 million viewers and helped raise more than $2 million for the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

The fund allows Red Cross emergency teams to do their work – including in the bushfires and heatwaves we’re currently seeing and disasters yet to come. It also includes recovery programs, practical support and emergency grants in communities affected by the recent bushfires.

Judith Whelan, Director of ABC Regional & Local, said: “The ABC’s New Year’s Eve broadcast brought together millions of Australians in support of bushfire-affected communities. Thank you to everyone who gave so generously to our joint appeal with the Australian Red Cross and City of Sydney, which raised more than $2 million to help people in need across the country.

“I would also like to thank the ABC staff and crews who worked through the night to bring our New Year’s Eve coverage to audiences here and overseas. Thanks, too, to the ABC broadcasters, reporters, presenters, producers, staff and crew who continue to deliver emergency broadcasting services to communities under threat. People turn to the ABC at such times and we are proud of our role in helping to keep them informed and safe.”

Television and iview Audiences

  • Last night, ABC was the leading network in the metro markets with a 5-city metro prime-time share of 26.3% (2018 result was 22.0%). The highest share was in Sydney, with a prime-time share of 35.4%.
  • ABC TV’s New Year’s Eve: Midnight Fireworks was the #1 program of the night, New Year’s Eve: Countdown to Midnight was ranked #2 and New Year’s Eve: Family Fireworks was ranked #3.
  • New Year’s Eve: Midnight Fireworks achieved an average audience of 1.8 million across ABC and ABC NEWS (Combined Metro & Regional).
  • New Year’s Eve: Countdown to Midnight achieved an average audience of 1.2 million on ABC (Combined Metro & Regional).
  • New Year’s Eve: Family Fireworks achieved an average audience of 980,000 across ABC, ABC NEWS and ABC ME (Combined Metro & Regional).
  • ABC’s NYE coverage was live streamed 209,000 times on iview last night, which was up +132% on the 2018 NYE result. The ABC channel live stream generated 119,000 plays yesterday, (70,000 in 2018) which was the highest result for the channel on iview ever.

Sources: OzTAM & Regional TAM Preliminary Overnight data; OzTAM VPM data, live stream based on: ABC, ABC NEWS and ABC ME channels, highest result ever based on daily results across 2017/18 since measurement commenced.

Social Audiences

ABC’s New Year’s Eve 2019 coverage was live streamed directly to ABC TV and iview’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts and shared to 33 ABC and partner accounts. This included 25 of the ABC’s location-based regional and capital city Facebook pages, allowing Australians across the country to celebrate New Year’s Eve together, regardless of their location, with the message to donate prominently featuring throughout the night.

  • Total views across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram of concert and fireworks so far: 1.6M.
  • On Twitter, the Midnight Fireworks stream has 869K viewers so far. #NYEABC trended #1 on Twitter during the broadcast,  with over 3900 tweets using that hashtag in the last 24 hours and potential reach of 6.5M.
  • On Facebook, the live streams and highlights packages amassed a combined total of 275K+  views across ABC and partner pages overnight.  ABC New Year’s Eve GIFs to celebrate the night reached over 2.3 million views.
  • On YouTube, ABC TV’s live stream and highlights packages had 460K views at the time of reporting.
  • To celebrate the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, five Indigenous language packages from around the country were shared on the relevant local pages. These received more than 22.6K views.

Sources: Facebook Insights, Twitter, YouTube Analytics and Instagram Analytics. Numbers correct at 9am 1 January

Families were entertained early in the night with Susie Youssef and Nazeem Hussain hosting the New Year’s Eve House Party.

From 9.30pm, Charlie Pickering and Zan Rowe hosted the Party of the Decades concert and encouraged viewers to dig deep and donate to the Red Cross.  While the star-studded line up of stars performed the memorable songs from recent decades, our thoughts and best wishes were with our neighbours, friends and fellow Aussies who have suffered through the recent bushfires, floods and drought.

As the clock ticked over to midnight, ABC crews positioned around the harbour beamed Sydney’s iconic midnight fireworks around Australia and the world as singer-songwriter Marlon Williams led a moving rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

This capped off a very special night, highlighting the ABC’s commitment to not only entertaining Australian audiences but supporting the wider community.

Donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund can be made via

Media Release: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Sydney Celebrates Dawn Of A New Decade

Sydney has welcomed 2020 with a symphony of light, colour and Australian sound, as it once again hosted the world’s best New Year’s Eve party and raised more than $2 million for bushfire relief.

Crowds watching around the harbour and across the world witnessed a stunning fireworks and light show, including the brightest lighting beam in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

The midnight fireworks were synchronised to an all-Aussie soundtrack featuring the likes of Tina Arena, Crowded House, Fisher and Peking Duk.

A Calling Country ceremony shared stories from the Gadigal people, one of the world’s oldest living cultures.

Those watching around the harbour or the ABC broadcast were reminded to donate to the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund in response to the bushfires, with a donation link projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons throughout the night.

As of this morning, the total amount raised online has exceeded $2 million, with donations continuing to roll in. Many sites around the harbour also took cash donations on the night.

Projections also featured the official New Year’s Eve charity partner, the Refugee Council of Australia, reminding people to make 2020 a year of welcome to refugees.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore thanked the many staff from the City of Sydney, NSW Police, emergency services and government agencies for making the event happen.

“Sydney New Year’s Eve is the result of an enormous collaboration project between the City of Sydney and NSW Government agencies, and I’d like to thank everyone for making this event such a success,” the Lord Mayor said.

“I’d particularly like to praise the 250 volunteers who gave up their time to be ambassadors for our city, helping the hundreds of thousands of people visiting Sydney for last night’s event.”

The Lord Mayor said those suffering from the impacts of the bushfires were front of mind through the New Year’s Eve event.

“Reminders to donate to the bushfire appeal and tributes to our brave firefighters were projected onto the Harbour Bridge pylons and broadcast throughout the ABC’s live event coverage,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The City of Sydney previously donated $620,000 to bushfire and drought relief, and I want to thank everyone who joined us in making a donation via the ABC broadcast, the City’s social media channels or because they saw the link on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons.”

Sydney’s celebrations required an enormous clean-up operation to get the City back to normal by early morning on New Year’s Day.

Staff worked through the night collecting around 45 tonnes of waste.

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

Staff also used captured rainwater from a City of Sydney depot to clean the streets, as well as new cleaning techniques, resulting in a more efficient use of water.

Education programs with food vendors in City of Sydney parks saw a greater take up of compostable plates and cutlery. Visitors were also encouraged to place their food scraps in compostable bins.

“To the cleansing and waste staff who worked tirelessly through the night, thank you for ensuring our city sparkles again so quickly,” the Lord Mayor said.

New Year’s Eve 2019 was also the greenest event to date, with City sites and operations using 100 per cent accredited GreenPower.

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.

For more information, visit the Sydney New Year’s Eve website.

Media Release: City Of Sydney

2020 Arrives In Sparkling Sydney Style

Sydney showed the world why it’s the New Year’s Eve capital with a sparkling fireworks and lighting show to ring in 2020.

The most choreographed New Year’s Eve show to date saw more than 100,000 fireworks set off at 9pm and midnight to create a ‘pyrotechnicolour’ extravaganza.

The midnight fireworks were synchronised to an all-Aussie soundtrack featuring songs from Tina Arena, Crowded House, Peking Duk, Sia, Fisher and more.

Shows how Sydney welcomed in the new decade, the 2020's.
Sydney NYE2019 Midnight Fireworks Opening Sequence From Mrs Macquarie’s Point Photograph: City of Sydney/Daniel Tran

At 9pm and midnight, a diamond sparkle of lighting beams came together to form the unity beam, representing the people of Australia and the world coming together as one.

The beam shone between 16 billion to 20 billion candela, making it the brightest lighting beam in the southern hemisphere.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said there was no better way to welcome a new year than celebrating in Sydney.

“2020 has arrived and we’ve welcomed the new decade with a fireworks and lighting show unlike anything we’ve seen before,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Those watching saw the best of Sydney’s creative talents putting on a show that has become one of the biggest public events in the world.

“New Year’s Eve is about giving hope and happiness to the world and we’ve used the event to make a positive difference.

“Through our official charity partner, the Refugee Council, we showed the world that Sydney is a friendly place by declaring 2020 the year of welcome.

“We also used the event to promote a fundraiser for the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund in response to the devastating bushfires that have ravaged much of the country.

“These donations support Red Cross volunteers on the frontline supporting communities in the wake of bushfire disasters.

“Whether you were watching around the harbour, at home, or around the world, I’d like to wish you a safe and happy 2020.”

More than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects were fired from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and seven barges around the harbour.

New Year’s Eve 2019 was also the greenest event to date, with City sites and operations using 100 per cent accredited GreenPower.

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.

Shows the opening sequence of Sydney NYE2019's Midnight Fireworks
Sydney NYE2019 Midnight Fireworks Opening Sequence From Mrs Macquarie’s Point Photograph: City of Sydney

For New Year’s event information, visit the Sydney New Year’s Eve website.

Media Release: City Of Sydney

Technical Issues Involving Online Donations On New Year’s Eve

We experienced some technical issues involving online donations on New Year’s Eve when our website had high volumes of traffic.

A small number of people advised us of issues, including that they received incorrect tax receipts after donating.

We are very sorry this incident occurred. We believe this only relates to some people who made online donations during our New Year’s Eve donation drive. We have taken steps to ensure this is no longer happening, while we continue to understand why it happened.

If you believe you have received an incorrect tax receipt after making a donation or experienced any other issue whilst donating to Australian Red Cross during New Year’s Eve, please contact our customer care team on email at or by phone at 1800-RED-CROSS (733 276).

People have generously donated to our Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund during and since the ABC’s New Year’s Eve donation drive and we are extremely grateful for this support and all of the beautiful messages of support we have been receiving.

Source: Australian Red Cross

Sydney NYE2019 Weather: Poor Air Quality (141 Index)


We don’t normally cover the weather forecast in the week prior to NYE as the weather is usually just perfect on the day. However, the lead-up to this NYE has been anything but normal – tragic bushfires, hazardous air quality & days of poor visibility. Compare all forecasts & current/imminent conditions with historical NYE weather data at the bottom of this page.

Weather Warnings

Marine Wind Warning Summary


Marine Wind Warning Summary for New South Wales

Issued at 4:15 pm EDT on Tuesday 31 December 2019
for the period until midnight EDT Wednesday 1 January 2020.

Wind Warnings for Tuesday 31 December

Strong Wind Warning for Sydney Closed Waters

Check the latest Sydney Closed Waters Forecast: Sydney Harbour Waters Forecast for information on wind, wave and weather conditions for these coastal zones.

Fire Weather Warning


Fire Weather Warning
for the Greater Sydney Region fire area

Issued at 3:27 pm EDT on Tuesday 31 December 2019.

Weather Situation
Hot, dry and windy conditions is bringing elevated fire danger to parts of New South Wales.

For the rest of Tuesday 31 December:

Severe Fire Danger is forecast for the Greater Sydney Region fire area.

The NSW Rural Fire Service advises you to:

  • Action your Bushfire Survival Plan now.
  • Monitor the fire and weather situation through your local radio station, and
  • Call 000 (Triple Zero) in an emergency.
  • If you plan to leave finalise your options and leave early on the day
  • Only stay if your home is well prepared and you can actively defend it
  • Prepare for the emotional, mental and physical impact of defending your property – if in doubt, leave.

For information on preparing for bushfires go to

No further warnings will be issued for this event, but the situation will continue to be monitored and further warnings issued if necessary.

Current Forecast

As of 4:20pm 31 December

  • Minimum Temperature: 22 degrees Celsius
  • Maximum Temperature: 34 degrees Celsius
  • General: Smoke haze. Gusty cool change.
  • Possible Rainfall: N/A
  • Chance Of Any Rain: 20%
  • Fire Danger: Severe (67%)
  • Sun Protection: Recommended from 9:20 am to 4:30 pm
  • Ultra Violet Index: 9 [Very High]

Sydney Area Forecast:

Smoke haze, mainly in the west. Slight (20%) chance of a shower or thunderstorm in the evening. Winds northwesterly 15 to 25 km/h, tending northeasterly 25 to 40 km/h along the coast. A cool and gusty southerly change moving through most suburbs between about 5pm and 7pm, reaching 30 to 50 km/h near the coast.

Sydney Area Warnings:

A POOR Air Quality Forecast alert issued by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) due to forecast elevated particle and ozone levels in Sydney for today (Tuesday).

Air Quality

You can sign up to an account to get air quality alerts via e-mail or SMS here.

This information is also available by calling the NSW Environment Line:

  • 131 555 (local call cost throughout NSW)
  • (02) 9995 5555 (if calling from outside NSW).

Air quality index data is based on ‘Sydney East’ region data.

  • Current Air Quality Index (as of 3pm): 141 (Poor)
  • NYE Forecasted Air Quality Index: POOR (100 to  149) due to  OZONE + PARTICLES 

    Disclaimer: The data used in the forecast above have undergone only preliminary quality assurance checks. These data may require modification during final stages of validation as a result of calibration changes, power failures, instrument failures etc.

    Air quality 10 times worse than normal (450-850 index) is deemed ok to fire the fireworks based on the NYE2001 precedent.

Poor Air Quality

Sensitive groups include:

  • people with lung disease or heart disease
  • children
  • older adults
  • pregnant women.

Sensitive groups should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

People with heart or lung disease should reduce exercising outdoors.

Other adults are not likely to be affected when the AQI is in this range.


  • If you’re sensitive to smoke or have a pre-existing condition that could be made worse, please delay coming to the event early
  • If you suffer from asthma, other respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis (also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD), or cardiovascular disease, make sure you have your reliever medicine handy.
  • Don’t smoke indoors
  • Take public transport
  • Regularly ventilate your home to remove indoor pollutants and build up of moisture. Turn on exhaust fans, particularly when bathing, showering, cooking, doing laundry and drying clothes.
  • Don’t use wood-fired stoves and wood-burning heaters (fire places) in your home if possible. If you do use a wood-burning heater, follow the recommendations on this factsheet on wood-burning heaters to minimise air pollution
  • Don’t use unflued gas heaters if possible. If you do use an unflued gas heater, follow the recommendations on this factsheet on unflued gas heaters
  • Install a kitchen exhaust fan above your gas cook top if possible
  • Consider limiting burning candles and incense
  • Don’t use ozone generators for managing indoor air pollution or odour problems. Read this factsheet on ozone generators.


This is the crucial data point as it will give an indication of how well you can see the fireworks. The most relevant monitoring station (Cook & Phillip Park) is new so there is no comparison to previous data.

Visibility is a good indicator for smoke.  While visibility is also affected by dust, the instrument is more sensitive to smoke.

Current Visibility (as of 3pm): 80 (Fair)

Fire Danger

  • Current Fire Danger Rating: Severe (67%)
  • Tomorrow’s Fire Danger Rating: Very High (50%)
  • Fire Weather Warnings: Yes (see top of page)
  • Total Fire Ban?: Yes before Midnight only

Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 (the event not it’s spectators) has been exempted from the total fire ban before Midnight.

If you are watching from a National Park vantage point, you should pay extra attention to this section.


Current Wind Speed (as of 4:50pm): 33km/h

Very fast winds are normally the only thing that can cancel or postpone the fireworks on the night. However, the lead-up to this NYE has been anything but normal in Australia with the tragic bushfires being experienced for nearly 5 months non-stop.

90km/h winds on NYE2002 caused the cancellation of the 9pm Family Fireworks.

If there are very fast winds, it is expected:

  1. Any affected display would be ‘downgraded’. That is, higher & larger pyrotechnics would be ‘deleted’ from the display’s programming. If no pyrotechnics are safe to fire, the below events are expected to happen. Any delay could allow an ‘upgrade’ back to original programming.
  2. 9pm Family Fireworks will be postponed to a time no later than 10:30pm.
  3. If still very windy at 10:30pm, the 9pm Family Fireworks would be postponed to Australia Day.
  4. If very windy at Midnight, the fireworks would not be held on the night. Since a Midnight Fireworks has never been cancelled on the night, this would be unprecedented. There is a slight chance they too can be postponed to Australia Day.
  5. Calling Country would still be held but without pyrotechnics

For International visitors information, Australia Day is currently January 26.

The ideal wind is one not too fast to risk safety but fast enough to blow away the pyrotechnics’ smoke quickly.

The wind forecast currently looks worrying.  A Marine Strong Wind Warning has been issued for Sydney Harbour with southerly winds of 20 to 30 knots (37 to 55km/h) forecasted for the evening. A slight (20%) chance of a thunderstorm in the evening is also forecast. These storms, if severe, could feature 90km/h+ winds, which would be enough to cancel the fireworks. A warning will be issued if such winds arise. However, if a storm does not arise or does but passes before the fireworks, it is expected the fireworks will go ahead unless it arrives mid-display. At this stage, the 9pm Family Fireworks look like they may be impacted by a storm – the likelihood is there around 9pm.

Whilst it is obviously not ideal to watch the fireworks with the wind hitting your face, it is difficult to move vantage points on this night at this particular event as that could mean sacrificing an iconic view. Choose your vantage point wisely (if you haven’t paid for one yet).

Pyrotechnic smoke affected areas based on this forecast include:

SydneyNYE2019 Predicted Pyrotechnic Smoke Path (based on 31 December 4:20pm Sydney area wind forecast) Satellite Image: Google Maps

Apologies: The listings/maps of the 24/12/2019, 25/12/2019 & 26/12/2019 were incorrect. The smoke should be drawn going the opposite direction and the vantage points listed should have been on the opposite side of the Harbour.

Any pyrotechnic smoke should leave after less than half a minute.


Prepare for rain in any case. Currently, there is a forecast of a slight (20%) chance of any rain, a shower or a thunderstorm in the evening. Last year, sudden thunderstorms appeared around 6pm giving the crowd an unexpected drenching. However, rain will not cancel the fireworks. In fact, despite misconceptions, rain makes fireworks look better. However, as you can read above, if damaging winds feature in a severe thunderstorm, a warning will be issued and the damaging winds could cancel the 9pm Family Fireworks.

UltraViolet/Sunburn Protection

Ultra Violet Index: 9 [Very High]

Sun Protection: Recommended from 9:20 am to 4:30 pm

It is therefore advised during those times to:

  • Slip on sun-protective clothing
  • Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen every 2 hours
  • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on wrap-around sunglasses

Current Temperature (as of 4:50pm): 32.4 Degrees Celsius

Historical Average Weather Data

  • Minimum Temperature: 20 degrees Celsius
  • Maximum Temperature: 29 degrees Celsius
  • Rainfall: 1mm
  • Pan Evaporation: 8mm
  • Sunshine Hours: 9
  • Maximum Wind Speed: 41 kilometres per hour
  • Air Quality Index: 44-79 (Good/Fair)
  • Fire Danger Rating: Low-Moderate/High (25%)
  • Sun Protection Recommendation Times: 8:47am to 5:17pm
  • UV Index: 14 (Extreme)

Sources: Bureau Of Meteorology, NSW Department Of Planning, Industry & Environment, Rural Fire Service & NSW Health

Disclaimer: Sydney Spectaculars takes no responsibility for your final choice of vantage point nor whether the event goes ahead. These are only forecasts based on official expert sources. The choice of vantage point is yours alone & the event is run at the discretion of the City Of Sydney. The weather could change suddenly on the day & during the night of the event. It is a forecast after all.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese Thinks It Is “Problematic” Holding Sydney NYE2019 With Rapidly Worsening Bushfire Emergency

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has today stated he believed it is “problematic” that Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 is being held while bushfires are burning around the country and at an escalating rate today.

For our international readers, Anthony Albanese is a member of the Labor Party. He is a Sydneysider located near some official Sydney NYE vantage points & events.

Today was forecasted to have severe (67%) fire danger in Sydney while other places in Australia are having worse levels of fire danger. A total fire ban has been enforced until Midnight in Sydney. Labor Party seats on a Federal level (down in south-eastern New South Wales) have seen the worst bushfire conditions today.

Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 has an exemption to the total fire ban for it’s fireworks (except Midnight). Whilst the Midnight Fireworks are not yet affected by a total fire ban, there are still on for now with any total fire ban to be issued this afternoon.

The air quality has plummetted again in Sydney today. It is definitely worse than usual and is the worst air quality since NYE2001, when the event was in a similar situation due to the Black Christmas fires.