Controversial Decision To Use Sydney Opera House As A ‘Billboard’ Sparks Massive Debate Amid A Day Of Political & Media Battles

It has been a long day but it ends with the sudden & controversial decision to use the Sydney Opera House essentially as a ‘billboard’ to promote the upcoming The Everest horse race, a horse race that, whilst being the richest turf horse race in the world, has only been held once.

This is, without a doubt, the most controversial decision in the history of ‘Spectaculars’ in Sydney.

Firstly, apologies to all the Sydney Spectaculars followers for not posting any stories and responding to queries received. In the upcoming month, a post will be made about the future of the blog as the past 9 months, we’ve been weighing up what to do with the blog. We will then also respond to the queries received. In any case, this story is too big not to post about.

So prepare for the most controversial decision regarding a Sydney Spectacular EVER.

The story has only erupted in the past 24 hours but as we follow stories about what we call as ‘Sydney Spectaculars’, we can actually say it begun just under a year ago but let’s begin 7 months prior to that to get the full timeline:

2 February 2017

Racing New South Wales (NSW) & The Australian Turf Club announce a new horse race, The Everest, which is to be the richest turf horse race in the world with AUD$10,000,000 prize money, which is funded by “subscribers” & the event’s revenue. It is to be run under weight-for-age conditions over 1200 metres on the Royal Randwick Racecourse on the 2nd Saturday of each October.

To enter the race, it costs $600,000 depending the result of an expressions of interest process. There are 12 spots available, which can be traded with other horse owners.

As referred by the Australian Turf Club Chairman, Laurie Macri:

…Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club…share a vision to see more Sydney racing on the world stage

Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Officer, Darren Pearce, said:

The Everest furthers our goal to attract a global audience…

These 2 quotes emphasise why The Everest was created.

Australia’s most iconic race is the Melbourne Cup, first held just under 160 years ago and whilst is one of the richest turf horse races in the world, it’s prize money is $7,300,000. Sydney and Melbourne, the capital cities of the states of NSW & Victoria and the largest and 2nd largest cities in Australia respectively have long held a sporting rivalry.

10 October 2017

The barrier draw for the 1st edition of The Everest is held on a boat in Sydney Harbour’s Farm Cove.

14 October 2017

The Everest is held for the 1st time won by Redzel. 33,000 people attended compared to the Melbourne Cup‘s attendance of approximately 90,000, which was held just under a month later.

17 October 2017

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the parliamentary leader of the NSW Labor Party said that, if his political party wins next year’s (2019) state election (to be held on the 23rd of March), they will allow on the Sunday prior to the race, the Sydney Harbour Bridge to be closed and used for the barrier draw for The Everest, which would have formed part of new week-long festival centred around The Everest.

The article also mentioned that The Everest from 2019 might be held on a Friday night instead.

Closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, home of one of Australia’s busiest and critical motorways, for an event like a barrier draw would have been unjustifiably disruptive. After all, the barrier draw held a week prior to the article’s publication was held on a boat on Sydney Harbour’s Farm Cove, which is in front of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It was also televised globally. That was in an iconic location with the benefits outweighing the costs. Closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge would’ve undoubtedly have the costs outweigh the benefits.

Closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been done before but for more realistic events like protest marches, fireworks displays, Formula 1 car driving and historic commemorations but nothing that is nearly equivalent to a simple lottery draw that can be held in a smaller location with an equally iconic view.

At the time, the leader of the NSW Parliamentary Labor Party, Luke Foley, said:

If the government is focused on sitting down with Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club this could grow and grow and grow into just the greatest promotion for Sydney on the global stage

It is likely this is what has sparked the current situation particularly due to the state election to be held in just under 6 months.

21-24 August 2018

Friction in the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party leads to Prime Minister (at the time) Malcolm Turnbull (Leader of that parliamentary political party) to call a spill at a party meeting, which he subsequently wins but upon receipt of a petition containing a majority of signatures of party members, another extraordinary meeting was held where he resigned the parliamentary political party leadership. He later resigned as Prime Minister. Scott Morrison subsequently got elected by the party and appointed by the Governor-General to each of those positions respectively.

27 August 2018

Alan Jones, a radio broadcaster, revealed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7:30 program that he contacted 2 Members Of Parliament (MP) during the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party leadership spills that occurred earlier that month.

Though one of the MPs is a friend of Alan Jones, the other likely isn’t particularly as he refused to name who that MP was. Access to MPs from their electors is extremely hard to get due to their busy schedule and to have such direct access during such extraordinary times questions how much influence he has over the current Coalition Government & in particular, the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party.

5 October 2018

Approximately 1:00am

The Daily Telegraph reports that NSW government officials rejected a pitch by Racing NSW to host the barrier draw on the side of Sydney Harbour Bridge without disrupting traffic sometime ago.

Clearly, from that, at some point, the NSW Labor Party’s plan (if it was initially their plan) was heard about by Racing NSW who proposed it to the NSW Government for the 2018 edition of The Everest. However, it was inevitably realised that closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge was never going to be an option so a projection show on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons became the newer option.

However, for some unknown reason, that more logical idea was rejected by NSW Government officials but, as compensation, offered Racing NSW to use the Sydney Opera House instead.

Negotiations then begun (sometime before mid-August as per the Sydney Opera House’s Sail Illumination Policy) between the NSW Government, Racing NSW & the Sydney Opera House Trust, which were still going at this point, to hold an hour long projection show on the Sydney Opera House next Tuesday (9th of October 2018) as part of the barrier draw.

It was to be “designed alongside the company behind the renowned Vivid festival”. Vivid Sydney has always been organised by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism agency. The Lighting Of The Sails, though, has been designed by numerous companies over the event’s history.

The projection show would coincide with the barrier draw, which lasts 5 minutes and show the names and colours of the 12 horses. For  55 minutes after the projection show, the horses’ colours would be shown. The Everest logo would also be shown the projection show, which would be recorded and used in promotional material all around the world.

The negotiations were mediated by the Sports Minister, Stuart Ayres, but the Sydney Opera House Trust kept refusing to allow the projection show.

The night prior to the article’s publication saw Racing NSW agreed to remove The Everest logo from the images to be used and instead replace it with a trophy.

Approximately 9:00am

Invited by Alan Jones, a radio broadcaster, the CEO of Racing NSW and the Sydney Opera House Trust go on The Alan Jones Breakfast Show via telephone, a program on the radio station 2GB. Listen to the full interview here (We upload the full interview so you can listen to it here in a day or so)

Alan Jones refers to ‘rugby’ in the interview. He is referring to the usage of the Sydney Opera House for the Wallabies logo during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which wasn’t held in Australia. However, it was held at the time of the projection, which lasted a few nights. This isn’t promotion for a future event though as the event was occurring at the time of the projection. According to Stuart Ayres at the time, it was used “to cheer the team on” and “to celebrate the Wallabies”.

Image credit: Destination NSW / James Morgan

Approximately 5:00pm

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the chief executive of the Sydney Opera House, Louise Herron, said she has received an “outpouring of support” in response to the earlier interview which showed the Sydney Opera House Trust’s resistance to the proposal. Ms Herron told the Herald:

The community regards the Opera House as its asset to be treated with respect, to be treated as the treasure it is. The accusation that this is in any way elitist is just so wrong, because the response is from the community. The racing community is a small part of the community… but does it get to dictate something to the rest of the community … when the rest of the community is saying ‘we absolutely don’t want this?’

Referring to the Sydney Opera House’s official Sail Illumination Policy, she said to the Herald that it was important to maintain such a policy:

What that means is when people come along and say ‘I want to advertise Chicken Tonight on the sails,’ we can hold firm because we never approve that.

If we said yes to this, ‘we’re fine put the Everest logo on there’ our policy is worthless to us, we’re just going to allow whoever comes along to use the Opera House as a billboard,’ we would lose our World Heritage status.

We would be seen in the global community as not respecting this jewel, this masterpiece of human creative genius that is the greatest building of the 20th Century.

The government wants something to happen. Something will happen, I have no doubt. At the very least the colours will go up. And that’s fine. We will support the government’s position… as we always do

When asked by the Herald what she thought of the proposal, she laughed and said:

Well what can you say? Just so inappropriate.

In response to the interview with Alan Jones, she said to the Herald:

I feel very supported by the board, I feel very supported by the government, and I feel very supported by the community. I wouldn’t feel that supported by Alan Jones, but by the rest I certainly do.

The Sydney Morning Herald claims Luke Foley, the parliamentary leader of the NSW Labor Party, supports the proposal.

Approximately 6:00pm – THE DECISION

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the NSW Government will instruct the Sydney Opera House Trust to agree with the proposal (including the trophy amendment). However, some more amendments are to be made, the word ‘Everest’ will be added but not the list of the participating horses.

The chief executive of Racing NSW, Peter V’landys, said to the Herald:

We are very grateful to the NSW Government and Sydney Opera House for their support. We look forward to promoting Sydney internationally via the world’s richest race on turf – The Everest.

The instruction will come from the NSW Arts Minister, Don Harwin, who the Herald understands to be disappointed with the decision.

To the Herald, a spokesman for the NSW Premier said “of course” Ms Herron had her support, but would not answer whether the Premier had spoken to Alan Jones that day.

During the interview, Alan Jones said he will be speaking with the NSW Premier in “5, 3 minutes”, which was after when his show concluded.

Main Analysis

The Sydney Opera House’s official Sail Illumination Policy states:

Requests for illumination of the Sails may come from time to time from Government to promote special events or encourage tourism. These requests will be responded to positively while maintaining the Trust’s policy of non-exploitation of the Sails.

It is the last 10 words of that policy section that is currently contentious – “while maintaining the Trust’s policy of non-exploitation of the Sails”.

The Everest is a ‘special event’ though and does ‘encourage tourism’ and based on that quote above, the Government can request but not instruct the Sydney Opera House CEO to accept this proposal. The Sydney Opera House CEO will respond positively but only if it doesn’t exploit the Sails. This has all been done.

The policy linked to this article is from 2012. It went under review in 2014 so we can’t be certain if it is the same but it is very likely the same.

So who is in the right? The Sydney Opera House Trust or The Everest organisers? You can be the judge.

In the end however, the Arts Minister can instruct the Trust to accept the proposal due to the Sydney Opera Trust Act 1961:

In the exercise and discharge of its powers, authorities, duties and functions the Trust shall, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, be subject to the control and direction of the Minister.

The bigger story out of this is the influence of media figures in politics particularly in light of the recent Liberal Party leadership spill, which saw a change in Prime Minister (and several other ministers – well nearly all ministers) as well as the resignation from the Australian Parliament of Malcolm Turnbull.

This post updates…(as we’re still writing the post)

‘Australia Day In Sydney’ Program Launched For 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To view the full Australia Day In Sydney 2018 program, visit & join the conversation at and

Media Release: Australia Day In Sydney

3.7 Million Australians Celebrated With The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s All-Star New Year’s Eve Countdown

ABC, ABC ME & ABC News reached 3.7 million viewers in metro & regional markets across its Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2017 – Wonder broadcast coverage from 8:34pm last night.

In addition, a total of 46,000 live streams were recorded via iView across the night & the coverage had a further 2.2 million views across social media platforms.

Audiences peaked at 11:59pm for the ABC’s Midnight Fireworks broadcast (combined metro & regional audience).

Television (TV) & iView Audiences

  • Last night, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) was the leading network in the metro markets with a 5 city metro prime-time share of 23.2% (2016 result was 20.4%). The highest share was in Sydney with a prime-time share of 33.5%;
  • ABC TV’s Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’: Midnight Fireworks was the #1 program of the night. Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’: 9pm Family Fireworks ranked #2;
  • Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’: 9pm Family Fireworks achieved an average audience of 1.2 million across ABC, ABC News & ABC ME (Combined metro & regional audience);
  • Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’: Midnight Fireworks achieved an average audience of 2.1 million across ABC & ABC News (Combined metro & regional audience);
  • ABC’s Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’ coverage was live streamed 46,000 times via ABC iView.

Sources: OzTAM & Regional TAM Preliminary Overnight Data; Webtrends 

Social Audiences

ABC’s Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’ coverage was live streamed directly to ABC TV’s Facebook page & YouTube channel.  The Midnight Fireworks were also streamed on Periscope.

On Facebook, the live streams & highlights packages amassed a combined total of 1.7 million views across ABC TV & partner pages.

On YouTube, ABC TV’s live stream & highlights packages had 340,000 views. The live stream trended during the broadcast & remains trending at number 1 this morning.

The Midnight Fireworks live stream on Periscope had a further 152,000 views.

#NYEABC trended number 2 on Twitter during the broadcast. There were 5,300 #NYEABC tweets in the last 24 hours, reaching 8.9 million people.

Sources: Facebook Insights, Hashtracking, Periscope, YouTube. Numbers correct as at 9am the 1st of January.

David Anderson, ABC Director Of TV said: “The ABC is thrilled to once again have hosted the broadcast of the iconic Sydney New Year’s Eve event. It truly is a night of celebration & family friendly entertainment that brings the nation together.  Across Australia, wherever you were, the ABC brought the fireworks to you live across TV, iView, YouTube & Facebook”

People from all over the world joined Zan Rowe & Charlie Pickering as they counted down the biggest night of the year with the Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’ broadcast, which included the Countdown Live Concert, on ABC TV, iView, YouTube & Facebook.

Presented from the Sydney Opera House, Charlie & Zan took us through an evening jam packed full of unmissable entertainment from an all-star line-up including Jimmy Barnes, Phil Jamieson, Marcia Hines, John Paul Young & Kate Ceberano with plenty of fun for all ages including the Family Fireworks at 9pm with it all culminating in the world-famous Midnight Fireworks.

At 9pm, the winner of ABC ME’s Design Your Own Firework competition, 10-year-old Lucia from Adelaide, set the Sydney sky alight with the Family Fireworks display featuring her own unique firework design.

Audiences watched the full broadcast in high definition on the ABC & live streamed celebrations on ABC iView. The Welcome To Country – A Day In The Life Of Country, the 9pm Family & Midnight Fireworks were also available on the ABC TV YouTube channel. The 9pm Family & Midnight Fireworks were also streamed live on the ABC TV Facebook page.

Media Release: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Sydney Welcomes New Year With Rainbow Of Light & Global Star

Sydney has once again earned its place as the New Year’s Eve (NYE) capital of the world with the biggest & most spectacular fireworks display to welcome in 2018.

A rainbow waterfall cascaded from the Harbour Bridge during the Midnight Fireworks for the 1st time while glittering fireworks designed by Hollywood superstar, Hugh Jackman, shot across the night sky.

“With more fireworks than ever before, the awe-inspiring Sydney NYE fireworks displays captivated Sydneysiders & audiences across the globe” Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said.

“More than 1 million people watched the 9pm Family & Midnight Fireworks from vantage points across the city with images & vision shared around the world on television & social media”

“Having a world-renowned Australian actor like Hugh Jackman join us in creating fireworks effects was fantastic for Sydney & for Australia, combined with the beautiful designs on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons by our Sydney NYE2017 – Wonder creative artist, Nadia Hernández”

Sydney’s biggest NYE celebration required a mammoth clean-up effort to get the city moving again once the festivities were over.

City Of Sydney staff worked through the night to collect around 43 tonnes of waste & ensured the City streets were clear of rubbish and thoroughly cleaned following last night’s celebrations.

The clean-up operation involved over 205 City Of Sydney workers along with 55 trucks, sweepers & compactors.

An additional 128 mobile rubbish bins were collected filled with recyclable plastic bottles, paper & food containers.

“City staff worked tirelessly to clear truckloads of rubbish & leave the City sparkling clean in time for sunrise on New Year’s Day” the Lord Mayor said.

“It was an enormous task requiring nearly 3 times the number of cleansing staff on duty on an average day. We thank each & every one of them for their incredible efforts”

All waste collected overnight was transported to the SUEZ Artarmon facility for processing.

Destination New South Wales estimates that the Sydney NYE2017 – Wonder event contributes more than AUD$133 million to the local economy.

“It was the biggest & most spectacular fireworks displays yet with more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects & more than 8 tonnes of fireworks” the Lord Mayor said.

“The spectacular Midnight Fireworks featured a rainbow waterfall with red, yellow, purple, green & blue fireworks cascading from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to celebrate Australians saying ‘Yes’ to marriage equality & the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2018”

Fireworks Director, ‘Forch’ (Fortunato) Foti, who has (co-)directed the fireworks for the past 20 years, spent more than 5,000 hours to create the remarkable Sydney NYE2017 – Wonder fireworks displays.

The effects were inspired by the work of Sydney-based artist, Nadia Hernández, who created eye-catching paper-cut designs with a bright colour palette.

Sydney-born superstar, Hugh Jackman, created unique fireworks for the Midnight Fireworks including a glittering gold brocade & waterfall shells that launched from barges on the Harbour & from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The stunning fireworks were set to the track, Wiyathul, by famed Indigenous artist, Dr G Yunupingu.

Australia’s First Peoples were recognised throughout the night with special pylon projections & the Welcome To Country – A Day In The Life Of Country which included lighting effects & the traditional smoking ceremony on the Harbour.

Media Release: City Of Sydney

Fireworks Countdown A New Year Cracker

For the 1st time, fireworks in the shape of numbers have led the countdown to Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE)’s spectacular Midnight Fireworks.

As well as the traditional countdown on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons from 90 to 1, the numbers 10 to 1 lit up the night sky to the east of the Bridge this time. 

At the stroke of Midnight, the word, ‘SYDNEY’, was emblazoned across the Harbour Bridge to mark the beginning of the biggest & best Midnight Fireworks ever that was enjoyed by 1 billion people across the globe.

City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said Sydney had shown once again that it is the best place in the world to celebrate NYE.

“More than a million people gathered around Sydney Harbour for tonight’s Sydney NYE celebrations & more than a billion watched from around the world” the Lord Mayor said.

“This truly spectacular start to the New Year is only possible because of the many thousands of hours of hard work by our City Of Sydney team & the Foti International Fireworks family. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the many volunteers, event professionals, sponsors & partners who make this the biggest free public event in Australia”

“I hope you have time to relax with friends and family & return invigorated for the rest of the new year, 2018.”

Sydney NYE2017 – Wonder Fireworks Director, Fortunato Foti, said his team has, this year, gone that little bit further to make the Sydney NYE show even more spectacular.

Apart from the 6 barges, Sydney Harbour Bridge & Opera House, the Midnight Fireworks were also fired from an array of individual pontoons instead of 1 Bridge barge allowing the display to reach a wider audience than ever before.

The 12-minute spectacular featured a rainbow waterfall of red, yellow, purple, green & blue to help celebrate Australia voting ‘Yes’ for marriage equality & to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2018.

Sydney-born superstar, Hugh Jackman, created unique fireworks for the Midnight Firewoks including glittering gold brocade & horsetail shells that launched from barges on the Harbour & from the Bridge.

The stunning fireworks were set to the track Wiyathul by famed Indigenous artist, Dr G Yunupingu.

There were more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects on the night, setting a new record for the annual event’s 9pm Family & Midnight Fireworks with:

  • 8 tonnes of fireworks – 1 tonne more than in 2016
  • 13,000 shells – 1,000 more than in 2016
  • 30,000 shooting comets – 5,000 more than in 2016

There were more than 3,000 individual lighting effects choreographed to the fireworks displays & music soundtrack – 1,000 more effects than last year.

New light-emitting diode technology also meant the City’s Sydney NYE lighting display was achieved using less power than ever before.

Visit for event details.

Media Release: City Of Sydney

Family Fireworks Deliver New Delights On New Year’s Eve

Sydney New Year’s Eve 2017 – Wonder’s 9pm Family Fireworks display lit up the sky in an array of new, vibrant colours designed to excite revellers of all ages.

The fun-filled 8 minute display at 9pm followed 2 daring aerial shows above Sydney Harbour at 6pm & 8pm.

At 8:38pm. a stunning animation featuring a grandfather & grandson’s journey along the warerways of the Eora Nation was projected onto the pylons of the Harbour Bridge as part of the night’s Welcome To Country –  A Day In The Life Of Country ceremony.

The Welcome To Country –  A Day In The Life Of Country ceremony featured water flares & flares off the Bridge.

“Sydney New Year’s Eve is one of the largest and most technologically advanced fireworks displays in the world & it just gets better every year” City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said.

“Our bright & colourful 9pm Family Fireworks display means that families with young children can come down to one of the many free vantage points around Sydney Harbour & beyond or tune in on Australian Broadcasting Corporation Television/iView (ABC TV/iView) from home before tucking the kids into bed”

“It was a great way to kick off our always spectacular Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations & I am looking forward to ringing in the New Year in a few hours”

The winning entry from the ABC’s Design Your Own Firework competition featured in the 9pm Family Fireworks display. Competition winner, 7-year-old Lucia from South Australia, designed a multi-coloured umbrella with a palm cross.

From sunset, video projections of the popular designs by Sydney New Year’s Eve 2017 – Wonder Creative Artist, Nadia Hernández, were projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons.

Central to her Sydney New Year’s Eve 2017 artwork were the words ‘wonder’, ‘radiate’, ‘hope’, ‘dance’ & ‘together’.

“These are words that are celebratory but also capture the essence of Sydney” Miss Hernández says.

“There is a great sense of unity about New Year’s Eve & this is a message of hope for the future. It starts with everybody coming together to celebrate a new beginning with friends, family and complete strangers & wish each other a Happy New Year. It is very powerful & very special”

Nadia’s artwork also inspired a new colour palette for the 9pm Family Fireworks & light shows with bright orange, pink, lime green & light blue featuring for the 1st time.

The 9pm Family Fireworks featured shells off the barges that created a magnificent waterfall effect.

The 9pm Family Fireworks were synchronised to a soundtrack created by Alex Gooden which was simulcast on KIIS 106.5FM & broadcast on ABC TV/iView.

Visit for event details.

Media Release: City Of Sydney

Note: All times are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time.

Sydney NYE Full TV Broadcast Goes Global & Other Announcements You May Have Missed…

Sydney NYE has lots of announcements from the waterfall types and the fireworks soundtrack to special guests and fireworks designs. So much news that you may not have noticed some things sometimes. So here are some things you may have missed being announced before the big show begins at 6pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time…

The TV Broadcast Is Global

We’ve been trying to get clarification so apologies in advance if this one is wrong but we believe for the 1st time in Sydney NYE history, the whole television broadcast can be watched internationally.  This is via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Television’s YouTube & Facebook live streams. However, we are definitely uncertain still about whether the fireworks soundtracks on the Internet live streams will be copyright-free or not. So if you live internationally, spend 4 hours with the rest of Australia as we celebrate Sydney New Year’s Eve 2017 – ‘Wonder’. Australians frequently wake up in the middle of the night to watch major sporting events held in Europe/the Americas so now begin an Aussie tradition while it lasts & wake up to watch Sydney New Year’s Eve – the world’s greatest party!

You can find the live streams via our Watch LIVE page.

The Return Of The Pontoons

Pontoons return to the Midnight Fireworks for the 1st time in 10 years. We believe they will be placed in a north-south direction in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They were last used in the finale of the Midnight Fireworks of Sydney NYE2007 – The Time Of Our Lives (skip to 12:56 to see them in action):

This year, 6 pontoons will feature and in the Midnight Fireworks, will at least appear during the 20-second segment set to Dr G Yunupingu’s Wiyathul co-designed by Fortunato Foti & actor, Hugh Jackman.

‘9 To 5’

The 9pm Family Fireworks expand to 5 barges this year. We believe this 5th barge will be located in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and will fire only occasionally (very similar to the barge in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during Midnight Fireworks since 2010). However, this ‘5th barge’ could also be the 6 pontoons referred to earlier.

This will be the most spectacular 9pm Family Fireworks since 1998.

The Midnight Fireworks on New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour on January 1, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Photograph: City Of Sydney

The Midnight Countdown

Apart from the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections, the 10 second countdown to Midnight will be done using pyrotechnics in the shape of numbers on the Bridge. At the stroke of Midnight, like last year, the word ‘Sydney’ will appear in pyrotechnic form too on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This should give an indication of what the numbers will look like on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in pyrotechnic form. If don’t remember seeing the word ‘Sydney’ in pyrotechnic form during the Midnight Fireworks last year, here is a photo to jog your memory:

Most Sydney Harbour Bridge Fireworks Ever

3000 more fireworks will fire off the Sydney Harbour Bridge this year. A record.

Hugh Jackman Fireworks At 12:08am

The City Of Sydney advised on Twitter that to see Hugh Jackman & Fortunato Foti’s co-designed display set to Dr G Yunupingu’s Wiyathul, tune in before 12:08am. This should mean it happens at 12:08am.

Glebe Island, Sydney – 29th of December 2017: Sydney New Year’s Eve 2017 – ‘Wonder’ Media Call – City Of Sydney Major Events & Festivals Executive Producer, Anna McInerney, actor & star guest Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’ Midnight Fireworks ‘Wiyathul’ Segment Co-Designer, Hugh Jackman, City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore & Sydney NYE2017 – ‘Wonder’ Fireworks Director, Fortunato Foti. Photograph: Katherine Griffiths


And that is it! Enjoy Sydney NYE2017 – Wonder & Happy New Year!