Aussie Artists Join Livestream For The Planet Tonight As Earth Hour Goes Digital

Join Australia unplugged and online tonight as we switch off for Earth Hour.

A huge line-up of Aussie musicians and comedians will come together to present a livestream for the planet tonight, as landmarks around Australia switch off their lights for Earth Hour at 8.30pm local time.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, WWF-Australia is hosting Earth Hour differently this year, giving Australians everywhere the chance to stay connected via a digital livestream – #EarthHourLive.

Australian musicians Montaigne, Cody Simpson, Jack River, Polish Club, Bobby Alu, Ella Haber, Dulcie and Alice Skye will perform as part of the livestream, hosted by journalist and broadcaster Patrick Abboud at 8.30pm AEDT.

#EarthHourLive will also feature appearances from acclaimed comedians Akmal, Georgie Carroll and The Stevenson Experience, along with footage of lights out in Sydney, special guests and giveaways.

“Staying connected as a community and looking for positive ways we can contribute is more important than ever as the world responds to the coronavirus crisis,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

While public Earth Hour events have been cancelled to prioritise community safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, landmarks around Australia including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Luna Park, The Wheel of Brisbane, Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and The Bell Tower in Perth will still be switching off their lights in a symbolic moment.

More than 100 landmarks from across the world are also preparing to switch off to show their support for Earth Hour, including the Eiffel Tower, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Tokyo Skytree, Brandenburg Gate, the Colosseum in Rome, Taipei 101, the Petronas Twin Towers, the Ali Qapu Palace, the Akropolis, Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong and many more.

“The act of switching off our lights for Earth Hour has always been a show of solidarity for stronger action on climate and a chance for millions of people worldwide to collectively raise their voice for nature,” said Mr O’Gorman.

“This year will be dramatically different as we all strive to control the spread of COVID-19. Most of us will be spending tonight at home, but we can still connect to a community of supporters around Australia and be part of a positive moment for the planet.

“We’re thrilled to have so many incredible artists, musicians and comedians helping us to bring #EarthHourLive to Australia. We hope you’ll join us tonight to connect with a community of amazing people around Australia and show your support for Earth Hour in a whole new way.”

Switch off your lights at 8.30pm tonight and log in to join the #EarthHourLive stream on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram and at

To sign up to Earth Hour visit:

Media Release: Earth Hour Australia

Earth Hour 2020 Goes Digital In Solidarity With People & The Planet

In the midst of the global COVID-19 health crisis, Earth Hour marks a moment of solidarity for the planet as global communities unite and organize events digitally.
  • Several countries prepare to organize Earth Hour virtually to ensure public safety and show solidarity for those affected by COVID-19
  • Celebrities, environmentalists and nation heads unite and pledge their support online for nature and people

27 March 2020, Singapore – On Saturday, 28 March, Earth Hour, one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment, will once again inspire individuals, businesses and organizations in over 180 countries and territories to renew their commitment to the planet.

In the midst of the global COVID-19 health crisis, Earth Hour marks a moment of solidarity for the planet as global communities unite and organize events digitally.

With nature loss continuing unabated, Earth Hour 2020 draws attention to the immediate need for halting nature and biodiversity loss for our health and well-being. The global moment comes ahead of world leaders scheduled to take critical decisions on nature, climate change and development. Earth Hour marks a pivotal opportunity for civil society members, citizens, nation heads, CEOs and environmentalists to demonstrate the need for a New Deal for Nature & People by pledging their support at Voice for the Planet.

Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International, said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives from the COVID-19 outbreak and our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones or who are sick. In this hour of crisis, we need to unite now more than ever to safeguard our future and the future of our planet. It is a time for solidarity and a time to respond to challenges more creatively and work more collaboratively, which is why Earth Hour is being marked through digital events across the globe.

Nature is the lifeline for the 7.6 billion people inhabiting planet Earth. It underpins our societies and economies and is one of our greatest allies in combating the climate crisis. But today nature is failing like never before. We are destroying the natural systems we rely on for our health and well-being faster than they can replenish themselves – jeopardizing our own survival and existence. Earth Hour 2020 offers a key opportunity for all of us to join millions of people to raise their voice for securing an international commitment to stop and reverse the loss of nature. In this challenging time, we must look after one another and the one home we all share – the imperative in making a difference for our collective future is now greater than ever.”

Greta Thunberg, climate and environmental activist, said, “Earth Hour for me is every hour of every day. The need to unite and protect our planet has never been greater. As we have been asked to avoid public gatherings to slow the spreading of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), I recommend everyone to come together virtually for #EarthHour to renew our commitment to the planet and use our voices to drive action online safely and responsibly.”

This Earth Hour, 28th March at 8:30pm, I urge you all to turn off the lights and use the hour to engage your online community to pledge support at Voice for the Planet.

We must look after one another and the one home we all share. Stand with me and millions around the world to make this Earth Hour a moment to show your united presence. Let us raise our collective voices online to help ensure a cleaner, safer and greener future for everyone.”

Starting as a symbolic ‘lights out’ event in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become a true mass movement exemplifying the power of people in driving seismic changes. The spirit of Earth Hour was demonstrated recently in Uganda which announced a ban on plastic use following an Earth Hour lead-up march on 13 February against the ill-effects of plastic pollution.

This is not a stand-alone example. Earth Hour 2020 will see people from all across the globe raise their voice to invite action on pressing environmental issues in their countries. Unprecedented digital events will mobilize millions of people online to participate in Earth Hour as never before.

South Africa is launching a digital “Power to the People” campaign for a renewed focus on clean and reliable sources of energy. Singapore will be going fully digital for the first time ever- Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged, will be a live-streamed, digital-only performance bringing together Singapore’s diverse voices for the environment. Earth Hour Qatar is partnering with AYCM Qatar, Global Shapers Doha Hub and online platform AmpUp Videos that will allow people to record videos with Earth Hour filters and upload them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Nepal will see youth from all over the country come together digitally for Earth Hour to raise their #VoiceForThePlanet and share their thoughts, art and photography on the need to protect and appreciate nature. Australia is going unplugged and online via an #EarthHourLive stream with music acts, comedians and experts, in addition, Gold Coast- Reef Check Australia and Yogaventures are holding Switch off to Switch Off: Lights off in a Candlelight Yoga Nidra relaxation session to mark Earth Hour. Turkey will be hosting a digital campaign where they will prepare a declaration calling for action for nature.

People-led initiatives around the world like Earth Hour are vital to continue to inspire awareness on the importance of nature and prompt action to help deliver a nature positive world by the end of the decade.

About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is WWF’s flagship global environmental movement. Born in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organizations in more than 180 countries and territories to take tangible environmental action for over a decade. Historically, Earth Hour has focused on the climate crisis, but more recently, Earth Hour has strived to also bring the pressing issue of nature loss to the fore. The aim is to create an unstoppable movement for nature, as it did when the world came together to tackle climate change. The movement recognizes the role of individuals in creating solutions to the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges and harnesses the collective power of its millions of supporters to drive change.

Earth Hour is kindly supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety with funding from the International Climate Initiative (IKI), as a part of the project “Scaling up Biodiversity Communication”.

About WWF
WWF is an independent conservation organization, with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. Our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for the latest news and media resources; follow us on Twitter @WWF_media

Media Release: Earth Hour



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

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres, said the NSW Government had not taken the decision to shut down Vivid Sydney lightly (pun we assume is not intended).

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Tourism Minister said:

We have taken the decision early in consideration of those planning to travel to Sydney for the festival

The Australian Government will later today clarify COVID-19 advice (particularly regarding events) that was given on Friday the 13th of March 2020.

Vivid Sydney was due to have it’s media launch on Tuesday. With the event no longer beginning on May 22, until late May 2021, it is then.

Also, expect potentially a formal announcement later today from the Tourism Minister and Vivid Sydney regarding the cancellation.

Stay tuned to our live COVID-19 blog for more details.

Vivid Sydney 2020 Cancelled

The NSW Government today announced the cancellation of Vivid Sydney 2020 following recommendations by the Federal Government and health authorities to limit non-essential organised gatherings to less than 500 people to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said that while the cancellation of the event is disappointing and another major setback for the tourism industry, it is the right thing to do to control the spread of infection and keep people safe.

“Vivid Sydney is a bright star of Sydney’s event calendar so the decision to cancel was not taken lightly. As the event owner, we must follow the advice of health officials to ensure the health and safety of our citizens and everyone involved with Vivid Sydney,” Mr Ayres said.

“We have taken the decision early in consideration of those planning to travel to Sydney for the festival, our commercial partners, artists, and volunteers so as to minimise the disruption and impact on them.

“We are currently working through the full implications of the cancellation and will provide further information and advice as soon as it’s available,” Mr Ayres said.

“It’s been an incredibly tough time for the tourism industry and this is yet another body blow, but NSW will bounce back and Vivid Sydney will shine brighter than ever in 2021.”

Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere, was scheduled to run from 22 May – 13 June 2020. The cancellation means that all elements of ‘Vivid Sydney – Lights, Music and Ideas’ will not proceed in 2020.

Vivid Sydney debuted in 2009 and is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. In 2019 a record 2.4 million people attended Vivid Sydney, generating $172 million for the NSW economy.

Media Release: New South Wales Government Minister For Jobs, Investment, Tourism & Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres

City Of Sydney Requests Sydney NYE Fireworks/Alternatives Comparison

The City Of Sydney has voted unanimously tonight to request the City’s Chief Executive Officer to bring a report to Council comparing the cost & environmental impact of fireworks with alternative technologies, such as drone shows, for future Sydney New Year’s Eve editions. The Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, (Clover Moore Independent Team) was not in attendance for the vote due to ill health however media reports last month suggest she would have voted for the proposed and as you will see, varied motions too.

The original motion, proposed by Councillor Craig Chung (Liberal), was:

(A) Council note:

(i) the 2019 New Year’s Eve Fireworks display were considered the most controversial as the event was permitted to go ahead at the height of the bushfire crisis despite calls for it to be cancelled by the community;

(ii) drone shows are gradually becoming more common as alternatives to fireworks displays due to their minimal noise and environmental disruption. Between 2015 and 2018, Intel’s ‘Shooting Star’ drones have performed more than 300 shows in 16 countries;

(iii) notable drone show performances include the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang South Korea and the 2018 Fourth of July show in Aspen, Colorado, which was done as a safer alternative in the midst of a fire ban due to the North American wildfires; and

(iv) to date, there have been no large-scale drone shows that have been performed in Australia; and

(B) the Chief Executive Officer be requested to investigate environmentally-sustainable and non-explosive alternatives, such as drone shows, for future New Year’s Eve celebrations and provide a report back to Council.

A drone show has been done before on Sydney Harbour in 2016 as part of Vivid Sydney. Lasting 5 nights from it’s world premiere on the 8th of June to the 12th of June, it was world-record breaking at the time, consisting of 100 drones. (The world record is now in the thousands) The show, held over Farm Cove, was suitably named Drone 100 and was presented by Intel accompanied by the Sydney Youth Orchestra:

Here are other drone shows mentioned in the motion:

He opened the motion’s discussion saying:

My proposal is for an alternative, uh, looking at options for alternatives to New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Uh, as Councillors are aware & those who are in the gallery still are aware, um, uh, during the, um, the late part of last year, uh, early this year, we had some devastating bushfires, um, and, of course, at the height of those bushfires came New Year & it brought into focus for many people, um, the question about whether or not we should be exploding fireworks during that period & of course, there were some legitimate questions about fire danger & risk, um, and ultimately, the City Of Sydney, uh, decided that it would proceed & I endorsed, uh, that that was the decision that was made, um, the fireworks being planned and proposed.

It was, um, uh, given permission by the relevant fire authorities to proceed with the fireworks at that time but what it, it really brought to light was that people were starting to think about ‘Well, what are the alternatives of fireworks?’,‘What are ways in which we can, uh, still, um, have a festival which has the impact, uh, for the rest of the world?  Uh, uh, the impact for, um, the billions of people who potentially that watch our fireworks, uh, at New Year, um, but then be a way in which we can signal to the world, uh, that we are progressive, sustainable city, um, that we actually do reduce our emissions, um, that we do, uh, um, uh, improve air quality’ and, of course, my motion there and, um, the thing that has gotten a people’s attention has been the option perhaps to think about drones.

Uh, my proposal is not only for drones.

My proposal is, uh, ah, looks at the option of drones but any other way which we can celebrate New Year with, uh, non-explosive, uh, type, um, um, uh, celebrations, that which may include lasers, which may include light, which may include drones.

Now we do know already that the New Year we are, a, a, utilizing light for, for part of our New Year’s Eve celebration.

We know that, um, uh, Vivid has been a wonderful celebration for Sydney bringing tens of millions of dollars in, uh, economic benefit to Sydney, um, and it attracts many, many, many thousands of people.

Now, the, the, drones have been used in many parts of the world & indeed, they have been used in Sydney for things like Vivid, um, and trials around Farm Cove, uh, and in Darling Harbour.

Indeed, there are a number of organisations who are talking to Property New South Wales I understand about how they can, uh, perform regular shows around the Darling Harbour precinct.

They’ve been some very large-scale drone shows, laser shows, light shows around the world.

Uh, drone shows around the, uh, South Korean Olympics, um, around, uh, Super Bowl & in fact, uh, for the 4th of July celebrations in the United States when, um, when the fire danger didn’t permit for fireworks to be let off, they had drone shows.

Uh, down in Kiama, they use an accommodation of lasers & lights, um, uh, and in other jurisdictions, they are using fireworks as well as lasers & lights.

Uh, Councillors, I’d like us to be open to the idea of what can we do, uh, that might be different.

What is a way in which we can still have a, a, a, an incredible impact for the people watching around the world?

Sydney, of course, is one of the first major cities in the world to, to celebrate New Year & the eyes of the world are often on Sydney so we need to make show, that we sure that whatever we do on New Year, uh, has an impact for them, has an impact for the, the visitors & residents here in Sydney who come and line the shore.

A million of them each year, um, and produce a bit, um, a spectacular show but at the same time, um, produce a show which, uh, shows that Sydney is sustainable.

Uh, Councillors, I look forward to your support for a, um, for a, um, for a report back from the CEO about how we can actually address this.

Lasers have been used at Sydney NYE between 1998 & 2000 when they were used as the first pylon ‘projections’. Lasers have also featured recently at Vivid Sydney, on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2018 and up to recent editions, as part of the 10 to 15 minute show done on Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour each year for Vivid Sydney. Lasers were also used on the Sydney Opera House in 1993 when Sydney won the bidding rights for The Games Of The XXVIIth Olympiad: 2000.

Below are the examples of what Councillor Chung was referring to in his opening address:

The motion was then seconded by Councillor Angela Vithoulkas (Sydney Matters Independent Team). This allowed discussion to begin.

Councillor Professor Kerryn Phelps AM (Clover Moore Independent Team) then spoke:

Look, there’s no question that, uhm, (huffed), there were many questions raised about the fireworks display in, uh, New Year’s Eve 2019 to 2020 (breaths in twice) & people, (huffed), were concerned about the symbolism, uh, in the midst of the catastrophic bushfires.

They were concerned about the, the expense in the midst of all of the loss & they were concerned about the environmental impact because fireworks are not environmentally clean.

Uh, they do emit, um, uh, substances that affect air quality.

Uh, when they drop into the water, they affect water quality & so I don’t think that we can, you know, in 2020, ignore the potential environmental impacts of something that we, uh, all enjoy, uh, that we all come to expect for New Year’s Eve but, uh, in…maybe it is time to carefully move forward, to look at what other technologies are available internationally, to explore the possibility of transitioning away from, uh, the, uh, fireworks displays that we have all known and loved for many, many years & to see what else might be available which will, uh, attract Sydneysiders and international tourists to the same extent as our world famous fireworks do, um, now and, and, and certainly I think it’s, uh, worth supporting at least an exploration of these op, options and, uh, and I commend Councillor Chung for raising this issue with Council.

Councillor Phillip Thalis (Clover Moore Independent Team) then spoke:

Certainly, I think everybody in the community remembers that, that, that, the summer of distress in terms of drought & bushfire, um, and, uh, acknowledging, as the other Councillors have, that it was actually a, of course, a big point of discussion in the community about whether the, the fireworks should go ahead & the final arbiter was, in fact, the Commissioner, um, Bushfire Commissioner, who felt there, in fact, was no danger to the public, um, and, so, it was a decision which, I think, we all, uh, anguished over & I’m, I actually welcome this, um, proposal from Councillor Chung because I think there is merit in looking at alternatives and, uh, as he rightly said um, and as uh, uh, in fact, Councillor Phelps’s also said, we have, in fact, incorporated new technologies even though there’s something sort of visceral about fire, uh, about fireworks.

I remember, as a kid, seeing the Captain Cook ones in 1970.

I’ve never seen anything like it and it was, we were miles away & of course, these days, there are fireworks up and down the Harbour so I think it’s, it has been embraced by the community to quite a remarkable degree.

Certainly, there were 300,000 people sign a petition against it.

There were a million people at least who went there actually to still experience it, uh, notwithstanding all the people globally on TV and elsewhere or who simply couldn’t get to be to the edge so, um, I think it has been very interesting going over many years to see the new technologies incorporated & I don’t think any of us would discount drones per say, um, but it is also worth noting how we could turn the controversy to advantage & so the Lord Mayor did, in fact, put forward that, it, that New Year’s Eve would become a fundraiser for the victims of drought and bushfire & then in fact, um, 13.3 million dollars was raised that night, to that end and that’s as well as the money that we voted on.

Uh, 2 grants of 300,000.

One for the drought & one for the bushfire so I think that was a very significant outpouring, uh, recognition of the distress that people around our state & in fact, around our country had felt but it is also a very important event for our city.

It does bring in something like 130 million dollars to the economy.

I don’t think any of us want to imperil that in any way.

I think it is something that, uh, in fact, many people, uh, do this, do really rely on that, that money coming in.

It’s also, I think, worth clarifying the actual cost, um, that the City spends something like from the figures that, um, I’ve, I’ve been able to research.

6.5 million on the night but…. the vast majority of that is, in fact, for crowd control, signage, um, barricades and the like but the figures of the actual fireworks is just under a million dollars so that was actually quite surprising to me that it was such a small percentage & we know that the management of crowds has been something that has been growing exponentially, uh, at least since the Olympics.

It’s something that seems to be, uh, uh, called for more & more, um, and so logistics, obviously security & the like, there, there very important considerations these days.

As to the environmental, uh, impact of the fireworks, well, in fact, our fireworks last year were the cleanest on record.

Um, yes, they certainly looked smokey and, and, um, pollutant but, um, they actually not as bad as you would think & it’s actually good to see progress on this issue.

I wasn’t aware of it previously.

I must say but the City’s Sites & Operations used 100% accredited GreenPower from Sapphire Wind Farm near Glen Innes & they use fireworks made from biodegradable paper and compounds that eas, more easily breakdown so (Councillor Chung possibly inaudibly chuckled) I’m not claiming to be an expert on fireworks, Councillor Chung, um, so these are the things you find out along the way.

Uh, it’s also worth noting that, despite the incredible k’s, that the emissions actually, uh, equal to a couple of cars on the road all year so that was also a surprise to me that they don’t have, despite (gestures towards Councillor Phelps) what common sense might tell you with the, the visual impact of the fireworks, the environmental footprint is much smaller than, in fact, I, I thought as well so I’m sure our staff, as they have been for many years, are, are incorporating new technologies, that we’re using the entire city skyline.

That’s a very, uh, exciting aspect.

The way that we have used the Bridge over the last 20 years has been quite remarkable & who knows how they will be using it in, in 10 years time but I would still like to move an amendment to the motion because I think that there are more things to say.

Um, it’s not to discount what Councillor Chung has put forward but I think it is important to have a full story of the fireworks in 2019 & who knows the fireworks in 2020, let’s hope are a much better story. In 2021, they continue to embrace technology so I would like to circulate the amendment.

The amendment (which became the final motion eventually) was then circulated amongst the Councillors. The motion eventually was varied by consent rather than amended due to the similarities between them especially after Councillor Chung recommended to Councillor Thalis, who accepted his recommendation, to add “and other technologies” to section B of his own amendment.

Councillor Vithoulkas (Sydney Matters Independent Team) then spoke on the now substantive motion:

It’s certainly not debate.

I’m, um, very pleased to support this and, and, uh, second this particular, uh, notice of motion.

Just some comments.

Uh, I’m not always easy to, um, adapt to things that have childhood meaning behind them.

Um, I find that the fireworks for me & it’s by no means, I’m referring that there aren’t other small business owners around this table but, uh, I grew up in a, uh, a corner store and one of my big jobs each year was to sell the fireworks & as I progressed along to the age of 10, uh, I was allowed to choose the fireworks for the upcoming year.

Um, my brother & I, who were known as ‘The Dynamic Duo’ & terror little children of the area, would also then, uh, open up some of those fireworks & create our own so I come from a very experienced background (giggles)

(Councillor Phelps (slightly inaudible & may be incorrect): “I say how old did you say?”)

Lord, 10!

Um, a very experienced background of, um, handling fireworks, um, looking forward to them every year & what they meant for the kids around our area.

We used to have great bonfires.

I learnt to toast the best, best marshmallows & there’s, there’s something about that community feeling then somebody went and made it illegal & my career was cut short, unfortunately.

I found I had to find other ways of supplementing, um, my income at the age of 10.

I won’t tell you what else I did.

I’ll reserve that for another night, um, but it, it did have a lot of meaning for a long time.

Look, it saddens me that progress means that this might spell the end but I’m hoping that innovation will drive these very smart business owners to produce not only, um, what turns out to be a very environmentally friendly and sustainable option but perhaps complement their extreme talent & I will, um, also report that one of my favourite moments in my life, um, when I was very lucky to win the very significant business award.

I was able to view the fireworks up close in my very young years & it was quite one of the best nights of my life when I got to experience it so I’m glad I got to do it.

Many others won’t but I know that we will find a good alternative that will still fulfill that part of, um, excitement for New Year’s Eve that millions of people come to expect in a very friendly way & I hope we do get to hear a little bit of that noise, Councillor.

It means everything.

I’m very supportive.

The Chief Executive Officer was then referred to:

I’m glad, that, that, that, that the discussion is about finding, um, perhaps, a variety of things because, uh, you know, yes, drones exist.

Um, they are not necessarily…We do not know their environmental impact & I mean, um, you know if a lot of them, failed and fell into the ocean, that wouldn’t be great.

Um, we know that they generally can’t take off during wind & pretty much every New Year’s Eve – 9 o’clock fireworks are at risk because of the wind so th…that will evolve, you know, the technology so we might, you know, we might need to have, um, a variety of options & so I think the f…I think we really need to be really clear and we will do this in the report:

There, there’s the environmental piece and being really sure about what are the impacts of the different options are because there is really…There is no completely environmental, eh, you know, zero everything option probably at all.

It is going to be a combination so that’s 1 issue that came up that’s important to the community but the other issue I want to talk about is the emotional piece.

People were concerned about the fireworks because there were bushfires but I put to you:

What if there’s an aviation disaster & we’ve got a drone show?

So do you hear what I am saying?

There are some cities that do water shows.

What if there is a flood?

So we need to accept that the…There is no…There is the technology and it’s impact but there’s also the context & that is always going to be a challenge, right?

And I always tell people of the story of being in China during the mudslides & immediately China, um, just calls 3 days national mourning.

Everybody knows what that means.

There is no television, broadcasts, everybody wears dark colours.

It is a nationally understood convention when somebody important dies in Australia or somebody that’s done something significant, we fly a flag at half mast.

I’m sure a lot of countries do the same.

We understand it.

We don’t have to argue about it.

We don’t have a convention for what we do at New Year’s Eve if there is a natural disaster or something going on & that’s a kind of national conversation.

That is a very complex conversation and we, and, and what, what I am trying to say is this is going to happen it…It might not happen again next year but it has happened twice in the time that I’ve been here & it will happen again & if the technology we’re using has any association with the disaster, you are going to have the same problem & that’s just what it is so I just want to make that point that just because we change the mode, won’t necessarily change the, the, the, the…what might occur & we also need to realise that, that the scale of what we do is huge & at the moment, I don’t actually think there is a technology that can do that scale around the Harbour at that price but I totally, totally accept & appreciate that Councillors are saying ‘Please find out what’s available’, ‘What, what’s, what’s else can be done?’, ‘Let’s trial some things & over time, it might look like a slightly different show’.

Thank you.

It should be noted an aviation disaster is possible at Sydney New Year’s Eve. For over a decade, Matt Hall has done an aviation display in the early evening as part of the pre-show entertainment.

2 years ago, there was an aviation disaster in the Hawksbury River 30 kilometres north of Sydney on New Year’s Eve involving a seaplane (6 lives were lost) while returning back to it’s Sydney Harbour Rose Bay sea plane base. The fact it crashed kilometres away from the event site is probably why the event & it’s aerial display went ahead. Had it been on the Harbour, probably not.

There are actually 2 conventions for Sydney New Year’s Eve – if a mass murder occurred (like in 1986) after 7 years of increasing crowd violence, the event would be cancelled for 2 years at least. If catastrophic fire dangers are forecast the day before the event, the fireworks would be cancelled (as nearly was the case in 2001 & 2019).

Sydney Spectaculars can still imagine a way to do a drone show on a large scale -whether it is technically & financially possible is all that stands in the way

Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Jess Scully (Clover Moore Independent Team), then spoke. For our Vivid Sydney followers, you may remember Jess Scully as the original Vivid Ideas curator before leaving after the 2016 edition. Ignatius Jones took up the role temporarily until Tory Loudon got permanently appointed for the 2018, 2019 & I assume, the cancelled 2020 edition:

A few years ago, I was involved in a drone show on Sydney Harbour, um, and it was more expensive than our fireworks I can tell you, um, and for much less of an impact, um, so there are challenges around any technology that we trial, um, and, um, and I think the other thing that we should note is, is the community is quite divided on this issue.

You know, we, we may have heard from people who were opposed but there were a lot of people who did get some real joy out of that moment, um & as the CEO has noted, um, a, a crisis can come at any time and take different forms &, uh, it’s hard for us to preempt it when we are working so far in advance so I think this is a, a sensible, um, amendment that we have before us.

Councillors Christine Forster (Liberal), Linda Scott (Labor), Robert Kok & Jess Miller (Clover Moore Independent Team) did not speak during the overall discussion.

As mentioned earlier, Lord Mayor Clover Moore (Clover Moore Independent Team) was not in attendance at this meeting due to ill health.

Councillor Craig Chung (Liberal) then gave a reply to the overall discussion:

Thank you everybody for your contributions & for, um, uh, & for, uh, uh, enhancing the motion that we have got before us.

If I could just make a, a couple of comments an, and, I say thank the CEO for her comments.

I guess, um, um, our, our expectations as Councillors is, is that we’ll get something back, which give us alternatives and options & if, if, they work out, they work out & if they don’t, we’ll look at other ways.

Um, I, I, think that, uh, I acknowledge, uh, when I spoke, uh, uh, initially, that, um, of course, um, there was an outpouring of emotion & it was a convergence of events at the time, uh, and I endorsed going ahead with the, the fireworks.

I think that it was important that we did.

I think there were reasons for & against it, uh, and I think, um, un, under difficult circumstances, the Lord Mayor was the one that actually copped the pressure & I do not normally defend her but yeah, she made the right decision at that time & she had to answer for it, um, um but following on from that, I think there has been a continuing discussion about it & I think it’s…As emotion has declined a, af, after that initial period, I think that, that people are, are expecting us to, to at least consider some of the options and, and, and not, um, you know & not small number of people have, have said ‘Look, we would like you to at least look at some options’.

Cost is one of the issues, of course but look we do not know what that is.

I do not think the CEO either knows what it is.

I think there is, you know, ideas of how big or little it could be & what these…how spectacular it is.

Let’s get the facts on the table.

Let’s exactly have, have some sort of idea about it & of course, we know there are limitations with all technology.

You know, drones, um, have a limitation of about 35 kilometres an hour, uh, I understand, uh, but, you know, for those who were around 2003, the fireworks were cancelled because there was high winds so I, uh, guess all technologies have their difficulties & I am pleased that, that Councillors are open to the idea of at least thinking of some alternatives or maybe a hybrid model, uh, of what we do in the future.

Thank you.

The 9pm Family Fireworks for Sydney  New Year’s Eve 2002 were cancelled due to high (90km/h+) winds (about 2 hours before 2003) not the New Year’s Eve 2003 fireworks.

And Sydney New Year’s Eve has always been a hybrid event since it became world famous at the turn of the Millennium – consisting of music, lights & fireworks. Projection mapping shows were also introduced last edition to add to the ‘hybrid’ fireworks display. It’s pre-Millennium editions were ‘hybrid’ as well except, apart from the cancelled editions, maybe a few in the early to mid-1990’s, when the lights were removed.

The final motion, varied by Councillor Phillip Thalis (Clover Moore Independent Team) was then approved unanimously by those in attendance & the motion was:

(A) Council note:

(i) many members of the community were calling for the New Year’s Eve fireworks to be cancelled;

(ii) the 2019 New Year’s Eve fireworks display went ahead as planned after approval from the NSW Rural Fire Service;

(iii) the decision to proceed was based on the following considerations:

(a) after 15 months of preparations, the vast majority of the budget had been spent,
so the money could not have been redirected and cancelling the celebrations would have had no practical benefit for bushfire and drought-affected communities;

(b) the event contributes $133 million to the NSW economy and cancelling the event
would have had a devastating impact on hotels, restaurants, and other small businesses, particularly tourism operators in Sydney and across NSW;

(c) the Lord Mayor believed that more could be gained for fire and drought-affected
communities by harnessing the power of the event to raise money for charities responding to the crisis; and

(d) the Lord Mayor did not want to disappoint over one million people who planned to attend the event on the harbour foreshore, including many who travelled from

(iv) the City of Sydney, ABC Australia and Australian Red Cross Sydney New Year’s Eve fundraising drive raised a total of $13.3 million;

(v) the decision to proceed with the 2019 New Year’s Eve fireworks was supported by fire authorities, and political and business leaders, including:

(a) Shane Fitzsimmons, NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner;

(b) the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, and the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison;

(c) Chief Executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum, Margy Osmond; Executive
Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, Katherine O’Regan; General Manager
of the Captain Cook Cruises, Anthony Haworth; and former advertising executive
Jane Caro, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 30 December 2019;

(vi) the 2019 New Year’s Eve celebrations brought more than one million people to the harbour foreshore and their safety was the prime consideration in the planning and delivery of the event – Sydney’s fireworks have a proven safety record for such a large-scale and global event;

(vii) with their scale, height and visibility, Sydney’s fireworks have a proven appeal as:

(a) a live event staged over a large area to an audience of at least one million people;

(b) a globally broadcast event on television and via the internet to one billion people
worldwide; and

(c) the opportunity to showcase Sydney, it’s significant landmarks, such as the
Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House & Australia, to the world;

(viii) drone shows are gradually becoming more common as alternatives to fireworks displays due to their minimal noise and environmental disruption. Between 2015 and 2018, Intel’s ‘Shooting Star’ drones have performed more than 300 shows in 16 countries;

(ix) notable drone show performances include the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2018 Fourth of July show in Aspen, Colorado, which was done as a safer alternative in the midst of a fire ban due to the North American wildfires;

(x) to date, there have been no large-scale drone shows that have been performed in

(xi) City staff have been working to introduce innovative elements that reduce the
environmental impact of the New Year’s Eve celebrations for many years, including
pylon projections, the use of lighting on the bridge, colour changing lighting on vessels to coincide with bridge lighting and lighting on the Luna Park ferris wheel; and

(xii) City staff are already investigating alternatives and complementary activities for future New Year’s Eve celebrations, including drones; and

(B) the Chief Executive Officer be requested to provide a report to Council comparing the cost and environmental impacts of drones and other technologies to the current fireworks display for future New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Pylon ‘projections’ were first introduced on NYE1998 as a laser display. For NYE2000, projections as we know them were introduced and projection mapping began on NYE2008. It is known though that one, and we stress, one factor in the Bridge Effect’s demise after NYE2014 was that pylon projection mapping was cheaper. The main factor was that the company that made the Bridge Effect went into liquidation. This was also the main reason for the re-introduction of the centrepiece Bridge light shows since NYE2015.

Bridge light shows have also been done on NYE2003, as a last minute alternative, when that year’s proposed Bridge Effect, Fanfare, went over time & budget. Fanfare appeared the following edition. Bridge light shows were also used on NYE1989, NYE1990, NYE2002, NYE2004 to NYE2008 & NYE2012

It is highly unlikely the fireworks would be cancelled permanently. They are, in fact, booked in for 2 more editions of Sydney New Year’s Eve at least.

Also, fireworks have also been a major staple of Sydney culture since the 19th century.

However, given a comparison rather than an investigation has been requested there is a more likelier chance than usual that fireworks could be replaced in 2022 by more environmentally sensitive and/or cheaper technologies. There are conflicting reports on whether drones are more expensive or cheaper than fireworks. We will investigate this further.

However, the chance of replacement at this stage is low. Complementing the fireworks is more likely currently.

On the 12th of September 2020, an election was to be held for the seat of the City Of Sydney’s Lord Mayor as well as the City’s councillors, who represent 1 whole ward.

The current Council consists of 10 members:

  • 6 Clover Moore Independent Team members (including Lord Mayor),
  • 2 Liberal members,
  • A Labor member and
  • A Sydney Matters Independent Team member

However, due to COVID-19, the election has been postponed by 1 year by the New South Wales Government.

Poignant Bushfire Tribute Centre Stage Of Australia Day In Sydney’s 1st Ever Sydney Opera House Projection Show & 1st Sydney Harbour Bridge Pyrotechnic Display Since 1988

Emotional images. No soundtrack. One type of firework.

And Sydney still knows how to capture our hearts.

An image of Australian solidarity.

There was no fireworks off the Sydney Opera House or Overseas Passenger Terminal this year. Nor was there a C-130 Hercules flyover & flare dispense (which would not have happened anyway due to that aircraft type being involved in a fatal crash whilst fighting fires in the Snowy Mountains/Australian Alps earlier this week).

But what we saw instead was still Sydney Spectacular: the 1st use of Sydney Opera House western sail projections during the event for the 1st time ever. It was also the 2nd usage of them during a Sydney Harbour fireworks display ever (the 1st being the International Fleet Review Spectacular in 2013).

Of particular note, was the 1st ever projection of the Aboriginal Flag on the Sydney Opera House.

The Australian Flag has been projected onto the Sydney Opera House once already. Again, during the International Fleet Review Spectacular in 2013.

Unlike the International Fleet Review Spectacular in 2013, as you might have realised by now, the eastern sails of the Sydney Opera House were not used for projections during ‘Australia Day Live 2020’. The eastern sails have only been ever used once (at the International Fleet Review Spectacular) so their non-usage is not a surprise given how rare there usage is.

Also, as a complete surprise, was the 1st usage of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for pyrotechnics on Australia Day since 1988, which was until today the only other time it used on Australia Day.

It briefly featured during a minute’s silence for the victims of the 2019/2020 bushfire season in Australia. Accompanied by the projection of the Australian flag on the Sydney Opera House’s western sails (despite 3 Americans also being killed fighting fires in the past week), only 1 firing of white stationary flares were used along the upper arch for the 1 sole minute of silence. A similar pyrotechnic effect was done during the 1988 show, though not in silence but the tunes of Banjo Paterson’s Waltzing Matilda:

The minute silence was also accompanied by the same pyrotechnic on jet-skis, the yachts (handheld on those vessels) as well as handheld on the Sydney Opera House’s Northern Forecourt. Handheld flares were held by State Emergency Service volunteers & crew members of the vessels on the Harbour.

The pyrotechnics were done by Foti Fireworks.

A separate Sydney Opera House western sails projection show was done as a tribute to all the firefighters, helpers & victims. It was set to True Blue by John Williamson, who also was there performing his iconic song. A moving and emotional tribute it was.

If you missed ‘Australia Day Live’, the full 2 hour event can be seen below. The minute silence featuring the Sydney Harbour Bridge pyrotechnics is at 01:07:18, barge fireworks begin from 0:31:57 and appear occasionally until the finale at 01:50:27 while the Sydney Opera House western sail projections begin with the Aboriginal Flag at 00:53:15 and run with varying projections till the show’s conclusion. The True Blue tribute projection show is at 01:38:51:

‘Australia Day Live’, which is completely focused on Circular Quay, is the concluding event of  ‘Australia Day In Sydney’.

We designated ‘Australia Day Live’ a ‘flagship’ Sydney Spectacular last year and it carried that status onto this year’s edition. This status means it is just as spectacular as Sydney New Year’s Eve & Vivid Sydney.

It is still a ‘made-for-television’ event though, which is it’s major flaw in terms of events. However, as a TV production, it is really well done. You can read more on our opinion on that in our article about last year’s edition.

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

  • Mid-March – Vivid Sydney 2020 media launch
  • 8:30pm 28 March – Earth Hour (Lights of landmarks are turned off for 1 hour)
  • 7:30pm, 27 March to 26 April – Handa Opera On Sydney Harbour: La Traviata (A nightly performance on Sydney Harbour complete with fireworks. Tickets on sale now)
  • 4 to 10 May – United Nations Global Road Safety Week (Yellow Sydney Harbour Bridge illumination)
  • 22 May to 13 June – Vivid Sydney
  • 28 September to 4 October – NRL Grand Final Week (Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections)
  • 11 November – Remembrance Day (Projections of poppies on the Sydney Opera House)
  • 12 or 14 November – Diwali (Yellow-gold Sydney Opera House illumination)
  • 21 November to 26 December – Sydney Christmas (Christmas-themed projection & light shows with a few fireworks displays)
  • Early December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 Media Launch
  • Mid December – Australia Day In Sydney 2021 Program Announced
  • Late December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020 White Bay Media Call
  • 31st December – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2020

The above may change as whilst most are annual events, some have not yet been formally announced as occurring this year.

And remember, nearly every night this year, you can see Badu Gili (a projection show on the Bennelong sail of the Sydney Opera House), occasional projection shows on the Australian National Maritime Museum & a light show on Luna Park Sydney’s Ferris Wheel. There are also occasional simple fireworks displays on Sydney Harbour including the regular Saturday night fireworks in Darling Harbour.

So until next time, goodbye!

Australia Day In Sydney 2020 Forecast: 70% Chance Of Showers & Chance Of Thunderstorm


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

Weather Warnings


Current Forecast

As of 4:20pm 25 January

  • Minimum Temperature: 23 Degrees Celsius
  • Maximum Temperature: 30 Degrees Celsius
  • General: Shower or two
  • Possible Rainfall: 1 to 6mm
  • Chance Of Any Rain: 70%
  • Fire Danger: Low-Moderate (17%)
  • Sun Protection: Recommended from 9am to 5pm
  • Ultra Violet Index: 12 [Extreme]

Sydney Area Forecast:

Partly cloudy. High (70%) chance of showers, most likely in the afternoon and evening. The chance of a thunderstorm, chiefly in the west. Light winds becoming northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h in the afternoon, then becoming light in the late evening.

Sydney Area Warnings:


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).

If the predicted Air Quality Index is 100 or more (poor, very poor, or hazardous) an air pollution health alert will be issued.

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

  • Current Air Quality Index (average over past 24 hours): 190 (Very Poor)
  • Australia Day Forecasted Air Quality Index: Fair (67-99 Index)

Disclaimer: The data used in the compilation of this page 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.


      • 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 & take it where necessary.
      • Asthma sufferers need to follow their Asthma Action Plan. 
      • For asthma sufferers, if symptoms get worse, you need to seek medical advice.
      • 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.

Very Poor Air Quality

Sensitive groups include:

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

Sensitive groups should avoid strenuous outdoor activities

Other adults should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

Fair Air Quality

People unusually sensitive to air pollution should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

Others are are not likely to be affected when the Air Quality Index is in this range.

  • Visibility

This is the crucial data point as it will give an indication of how well you can see the day’s activities. The most relevant monitoring station (Cook & Phillip Park) is new so there is no comparison to previous data. See note below visibility index average over the past 24 hours.

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

Current Visibility (average over past 24 hours): 26 (Very Good)

Note: The Cook & Phillip Park visibility index has not been available since 3am the 21st of January due to scheduled maintenance of the monitoring station. The next closest ambient air quality monitoring site to there is Rozelle.  Return each day at 4:30pm AEDT to see if it is available again.

Fire Danger

  • Current Fire Danger Rating: Low-Moderate (17%)
  • Tomorrow’s Fire Danger Rating: Low-Moderate (17%)
  • Fire Weather Warnings: None.
  • Total Fire Ban?: None.

There is a precedent from 2003 that fireworks will be cancelled in the event of forecasted extreme/catastrophic (80%+) fire danger, a total fire ban & out of respect for firefighters.


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

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. Australia Day Live would still be held but without pyrotechnics.

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 alright. Northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h winds are currently forecast from the afternoon to late evening. Though the wind is more likely to affect the late afternoon’s entertainment & ‘Australia Day Live’ more than the rest. While a chance of a thunderstorm is forecast for tomorrow, it is least likeliest to occur during ‘Australia Day Live’ especially the first 30 minutes. Probability increases during the latter 90 minutes. However, the chance remains during all other times of the day.

These storms could feature strong winds, which would be enough to cancel the fireworks of ‘Australia Day Live’. 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.

Pyrotechnic smoke affected areas based on this forecast include:

Shows visitors where pyrotechnic smoke is forecasted to go
Australia Day In Sydney 2020 Predicted Pyrotechnic Smoke Path (based on 25 January 4:20pm Sydney area wind forecast) Satellite Image: Google Maps

NOTE: On the 21st of January, we uploaded a predicted pyrotechnic smoke path which was slightly wrong. The pyrotechnic smoke was meant to head south-west instead of west-south-west.

Any pyrotechnic smoke should leave after a minute or two.


Prepare for rain. Currently, there is a forecast of a chance of a thunderstorm & a high (70%) chance of any rain/showers, most likely in the afternoon and evening with possible rainfall 1 to 6mm. There is usually about a 30% chance of it raining at some time after 9am on Australia Day. However, rain will not cancel any fireworks. In fact, despite misconceptions, rain makes fireworks look better.

Rain is most likely to occur around mid-afternoon & after sunset. ‘Australia Day Live’ spectators should especially be ready for rain. However a thunderstorm is least likeliest to occur during ‘Australia Day Live’ especially the first 30 minutes. Probability increases during the latter 90 minutes. However, the chance of a thunderstorm remains during all other times of the day. However, as you can read above, if strong winds feature in a thunderstorm, they could cancel the fireworks of ‘Australia Day Live’.

UltraViolet/Sunburn Protection

Ultra Violet Index: 12 [Extreme]

Sun Protection: Recommended from 9am to 5pm

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

Historical Average Weather Data

  • Minimum Temperature: 21 degrees Celsius
  • Maximum Temperature: 26 degrees Celsius
  • Rainfall: 5mm
  • Pan Evaporation: 6mm
  • Sunshine Hours: 6
  • Maximum Wind Speed: 38 kilometres per hour
  • Air Quality Index: 29-80 (Very Good/Good/Fair)
  • Visibility Index (Rozelle): 4-17 (Very Good)
  • Fire Danger Rating: None/Low-Moderate (8%)
  • Sun Protection Recommendation Times: 9am to 5:30pm
  • UV Index: 15 (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 Australia Day Council Of New South Wales. The weather could change suddenly on the day & during the night of the event. It is a forecast after all.

Sydney NYE2019 Donations Are Helping Bushfire Victims

In light of comments made by the New South Wales (NSW) Minister For Transport and Roads & NSW Legislative Assembly Member For Bega, Andrew Constance MP, we would like to point out to everyone that all the Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2019 donations have been used.

For our international readers, the electorate of Bega is on the south coast of New South Wales between Batemans Bay and the border with the state of Victoria and inland to but not including the Australian Alps/Snowy Mountains. The electorate of Bega especially suffered terrible bushfires on New Year’s Eve, resulting in at least 2 deaths.

Today, the Australian Red Cross announced they have allocated $30 million to victims out of a total $95 million raised since their Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund started (which was before December 2 2019).

The Minister admitted he himself will need trauma counselling & issued a challenge to the managing directors of 3 charities (including the Australian Red Cross) to come and see how people are living (The ‘Greg’ referred to is a local resident):

Meet me in Batesmans Bay at 8 o’clock on Saturday & I will drive you the 300 kilometres of devastation on the Far South Coast.

I will show you the people, you can look them in their eyes & you can see their despair and the destruction that this firebomb brought to our region.

They better turn up, they better have the guts to show up and be with me … I’ll show them communities which haven’t been on the map, like Kiah, like Nerrigundah, like the back of Bemboka, like Cooma.

We need a very real change, very quickly so that the money can get to those who need it most … people are on their knees and we can’t have a drip feed

I also think there is a disconnect between the people running these organisations & what is happening here in our community and that is why I want them here.

I wanted them to show them.

I want them to meet people.

I want them to look each other in their eyes, to see their pain, see the trauma and help & you know to see that report today of only a third of it going out.

I mean, that is just gutting.

I mean, people have given around Australia to Red Cross so that it gets in the hands of  people who need it most & that is people who have lost everything.

You know, we have got in my electorate alone, 870 homes burnt to the ground, hundreds of displaced people, people who used to live in sheds and stuff there.

It’s all gone!

It is just gone!

Um, and, you know, every individual is different so, you know, to, to to Greg’s point, um, you know, the money is needed now, not to sit in a Red Cross bank account earning interest so that they can map out their next 3 years & do their marketing and for administration.

It is just heartbreaking.

The other 2 charities are The Salvation Army & Saint Vincent De Paul’s Society.

In a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Red Cross said Chief Executive Judy Slatyer had been on the South Coast last week meeting with residents and had made “several attempts” to contact the Minister.

The Chief Executive Officers of St Vincent De Paul’s Society NSW & Canberra, Jack De Groot & Barnie van Wyk, have accepted the Minister’s invitation though.

The Minister also said he had met people who are so traumatised they cannot even leave their properties to register for relief.

Between NYE & January 6, $23 million was donated to the Australian Red Cross which was assistance by promotion of their Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund from Sydney NYE2019 & including $13 million from the television & Internet broadcasts of the event from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Before NYE, $6.3 million was also donated but the Australian Red Cross could not clarify if these funds were donated before or after December 3’s Sydney NYE media launch, which was when the event’s partnership with the Australian Red Cross was announced. They couldn’t clarify when the Fund started either but we assume it was sometime in spring (September to November).

The lack of clarification was understandably due to more important priorities (helping the bushfire victims) being allocated time.

Given $30 million was announced today and no more than $29.3 million was donated as a result of Sydney New Year’s Eve, it means the event’s donation appeal was a success and went to the people the donors wanted the money to go to.

It should be pointed out that the remaining $65 million of funds that are yet to be allocated were donated after January 6. That is mostly from the last 2 weeks. That is, roughly, on average, $4 million a day. Most of the donations before January 4 were below that average. January 4-6, though, most likely was over that average at around $7 million per day.

The bushfires since those apocalyptic-like NYE bushfires have not been as severe though most still burn. Some have thankfully being extinguished on the North Coast of New South Wales.

Thunder, hail & dust storms have been a feature of the past week resulting in lots of damage and bird life lost.

More wildlife (especially fish) have been lost due to bushfire ash contaminating waterways.

The iconic Australian animal, the platypus, is also considered by scientists to now be threatened by possible extinction.

Tomorrow, a total fire ban is enforced in most of New South Wales as severe fire danger is forecast with 40-43 degree Celsuis temperatures in Sydney.

Disclaimer: Sydney Spectaculars is not a charity, the organiser of Sydney New Year’s Eve or it’s broadcasts and did not receive any donations as part of their promotion of the Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 donation appeal.

Our Recommended ‘Australia Day In Sydney 2020’ Itinerary

Australia Day In Sydney has a lot of events. We are here to help you get to the main events with quick ease.

Not all events feature in our recommended itinerary. For 8 other events, click here.

25 January

8pm – The Vigil

Broadcast live on National Indigenous Television (NITV) & Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) On Demand, start your Australia Day In Sydney experience at Barangaroo Reserve with The Vigil.

It is an opportunity to gather campfire-side and experience a night of performance and reflection on the eve of Australia Day.

It is a time to consider Australia’s Indigenous heritage as well as its colonial history and contemporary multicultural migration from dusk on 25 January until dawn on 26 January.

Hear live music and guests alongside choral and poetry performances, and experience the resilience, beauty and joy of First Nations culture.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

AUSLAN interpreters will be in attendance from 8pm – 10pm

Either go get some sleep afterwards at 10pm for the next 14 hour event period or if you are dedicated to see the whole 10 hour Vigil, you would have to not attend every event in our itinerary the next day except for Warrane Stage (until 6:30pm) and Australia Day Live (from (6:30pm) 7:30pm to 9:30pm) to ensure you see more Australia Day In Sydney events without affecting your sleep.

You could also not attend all Australia Day In Sydney events if you do not agree with the event.

26 January

Unlike Sydney New Year’s Eve, which involves waiting all day in 1 spot for the fireworks, Australia Day In Sydney is more like Vivid Light a constant walking trip around Sydney. Unlike Vivid Light, which is a 5 hour event with no time to be sedentary & has a specific route, Australia Day In Sydney has no specific route so we’ve decided to share our recommended route for 2020. Australia Day In Sydney is a 14 hour event though but our route has 4.5 hours total walking time. 9.5 hours are sedentary (or staying in the same location).

Ideally, dress up like an ‘Aussie Legend’ on 26 January. You may need it for later.

Today’s events begin at 7:30am, once again at Barangaroo Reserve so start there:

Our Recommended ‘Australia Day in Sydney 2020’ Morning Route

7:30am to 8:30am – Wugulora Morning Ceremony

WugulOra, meaning ‘One Mob’, is a special moment to begin Australia Day.

Broadcast live on ABC Television + iView, Radio & (some) social media, actor Luke Carroll will be your Master Of Ceremonies as you acknowledge Australia’s shared history & the strength and resilience of the world’s oldest living culture.

There will be special performances by Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander dancers and singers including Isiah Firebrace, KARI and the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe.

Cleanse the way for new beginnings by taking part in a smoking ceremony – an ancient custom among Aboriginal Australians in which native plants are burnt to produce smoke.

wugulora collage
Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

To conclude the Australian National Anthem is performed in both English & Eora (pronounced ‘iyora’ & meaning simply ‘the people’), the local Aboriginal language, as the Aboriginal & Australian flags are raised on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The version of the national anthem sung at the WugulOra Morning Ceremony begins with a verse based on a long extinct Aboriginal language of the Sydney district referred to as ‘the Sydney Language’.

The Sydney Language is endorsed by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council as an contemporary interpretation of the first conversation and words recorded by Lieutenant William Dawes, an Englishman and naval officer with the First Fleet, with Patyegarang, a young Gadigal woman.

The lyrics are not a direct translation of the English words, but rather substitute meanings that reveal the Eora’s deep connection to the land.

As soon as the Wugulora Morning Ceremony finishes at 8:30am, walk along Argyle Street through the Argyle Cut. When walking around through The Rocks, you might find a free barbeque breakfast courtesy of GIO. This breakfast started at 8am and only the first 1000 people get a sausage sizzle for free so hopefully there is some food left over if you miss out on getting it for free!

8:45am to 10:30am – Sydney Street Party featuring 10 Kilometre Wheelchair Race

Unless you find the barbeque breakfast (and lucky enough to get a free sausage sizzle), turn south to walk down George Street. In front of the Museum Of Contemporary Art, you will find the start line of the 10K Wheelchair Race.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

See our greatest wheelchair athletes fly by at exhilarating speeds in the fastest street circuit wheelchair race in Australia.

Once the race has started, wander the streets of The Rocks and experience the Sydney Street Party!

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

At the Sydney Street Party, The Rocks come alive with market stalls, locally designed fashion, jewellery and original art. Entertain yourself with live music, giant games and roving street performers, then indulge in a range of delicious, gourmet street cuisines.

The race should go no longer than an hour. Make sure you get back to the Museum Of Contemporary Art (George Street side) before 10am to see the finish of the race & to congratulate the champions at the winners’ presentations before continuing your Australia Day In Sydney journey!

10:40am to 10:50am – Vintage Bus

Head towards the Circular Quay wharves and follow the foreshore to the Sydney Opera House. South of the Sydney Opera House, behind the buildings of East Circular Quay but on the northern side, you will see a roundabout. Here you can hop on a vintage 1949 double-decker bus – one leaving every 10 minutes. Hop on one! It will take you across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to your next destination.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

As you cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge, look towards Barangaroo Point, where this year’s Ferrython begins at 10:45am.

When you hop off the bus, you will be at Bradfield Park in North Sydney on the other side of Sydney Harbour. Walk in the park south towards the foreshore and you will find the next event:

Our Recommended ‘Australia Day in Sydney 2020’ Lunch Time Route

10:50am to 12:20pm – Barbeque By The Bridge

A traditional Aussie barbeque…but with a multicultural twist!

Enjoy a free Australia Day party with live music, food stalls and activities for kids.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

With delicious cuisines from around the world, amazing local bands and disc jockeys, a jumping castle, face painting, circus activities and native wildlife displays. it’s an event not to be missed.

However from 10:45am to 12:15pm, go watch the main entertainment occurring on the Harbour in front of the Bridge!

A good vantage point is the nearby Mary Booth Lookout.

10:50am to 11:30am – Ferrython

This event started at 10:45am so by the time you hop off the Vintage Bus, the Ferrython should be heading east on Sydney Harbour.

See Sydney’s beloved ferries in this hugely popular Australia Day tradition, as they race from Barangaroo Wharf to Shark Island and then back to a glorious finish at the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

The Ferrython should finish just before 11:30am.

11:30am to 12:05pm – Salute To Australia

The ceremonial peak of the Sydney Harbour program.

The Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force combine, featuring ships on the water, a 21-gun salute on land and a fast jet tribute in the sky.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

Join Australians young and old to hear the Governor’s Address and to once again, sing our national anthem.

12:05pm to 12:15pm – Tug & Yacht Ballet

See a dance like no other.

Watch a graceful company of yachts, tugboats, jet-skis and ferries glide in precision across the water in harmony with helicopters above, in an epic piece of musical magic.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

At 12:15pm, it’s time to leave Mary Booth Lookout and head back to the Vintage Bus! Head towards Fitzroy Street (the 1st road intersecting Bradfield Park from the foreshore).

12:20pm to 12:30pm –Vintage Bus

Hop back on a vintage bus – again, one leaves every 10 minutes. It will take you back across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Sydney Opera House.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

Once you are off the bus, walk west along the Circular Quay foreshore until you reach the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This should take about 20 minutes.

Our Recommended ‘Australia Day in Sydney 2020’ Afternoon/Evening Route
Red: 12:30pm to 3:29pm
Pink: 3:29pm to 6:30pm
Purple: ‘Australia Day Live’ Vantage Points
Silver: Stages/Big Screens/Pyrotechnic Barges
Black/Purple: Limited ‘Australia Day Live’ Views
Note: ‘Australia Day Live’ runs from 7:30pm to 9:30pm with pre-show entertainment from 6:30pm.

12:30pm to 12:50pm – Chill Out Zone

As you walk past the Overseas Passenger Terminal, you will pass the Chill Out Zone.

Here you can immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture through Virtual Warrane and see what Sydney Cove was like over 250 years ago, experience Koomurri interactive art & workshops including ochre face painting & canvas handprinting.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

Compete against family and friends in a game of wheelchair basketball* (only until 2pm) or make sure Australia Day leaves its mark with a true blue tattoo before heading to the ‘Look Like an Aussie Legend’ photobooth & submit** your photo online to win a P&O cruise on Australia Day 2021!

There is also a selection of delicious and gourmet meals on wheels. You can also snap a selfie with one of the many magical performers roving around while enjoying the smoothest disc jockey beats.

*Only until 2pm

**Only until 3pm

12:50pm to 1:35pm – Harbour Parade & Tall Ships Race

This ain’t no plain sailing as private, charter and working vessels alike show off their Australia Day finest, each vying to be Australia Day’s best-dressed boat.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

This year the Parade begun at 12:45pm across the Harbour underneath both sides of the north Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons before travelling west towards Blues Point, then south to Barangaroo Point then east past your vantage point of Dawes Point at around 1pm.

At this time, if you look towards Bradley’s Head (near Taronga Zoo), you see the Tall Ships Race has begun. It finishes at the Sydney Harbour Bridge at around 1:30pm.

In the meantime, the Harbour Parade is now going to go past the Sydney Opera House before slightly goinginto Farm Cove (east of Sydney Opera House) before heading towards Fort Denison followed by a little bit of a float along Sydney Harbour to it’s final destination of Athol Bay (south of Taronga Zoo) at 2pm.

At 1:30pm though, you will see 5 historic tall ships race side by side for the coveted Tall Ships Trophy with the Sydney Harbour Bridge the finish line.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

Once the race is finished, head east along the Circular Quay foreshore following the Tall Ships (particularly the James Craig) to Campbells Cove, which normally is a 5 minute walk but since you’re following 5 Tall Ships, this walk would take 15 minutes instead.

2pm – The Red Berets

Look up now! The Australian Army’s Red Berets should be parachuting over Farm Cove (east of the Sydney Opera House) now!

Red Berets parachute over Sydney Harbour on Australia Day 2018
Red Berets parachute over Sydney Harbour on Australia Day 2018 Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

2:05pm to 3:20pm – Tall Ships Festival

See the James CraigTribal WarriorSouthern SwanSøren LarsenCoral Trekker as they dock at Campbells Cove.

There are also roving performers from Kush Cabaret.

Then, make a gold-coin donation to the Sydney Heritage Fleet to step back in time & explore the James Craig.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

At 3pm, see the winners of the Tall Ships Race get their deserved trophy.

Then follow the Circular Quay foreshore south back to First Fleet Park (south of Museum Of Contemporary Art).

3:20pm to 3:30pm – Chill Out Zone

As you walk back past the Overseas Passenger Terminal, you will pass the Chill Out Zone once again.

Here you can immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture through Virtual Warrane and see what Sydney Cove was like over 250 years ago, experience Koomurri interactive art & workshops including ochre face painting & canvas handprinting.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

Compete against family and friends in a game of wheelchair Australian rules football or make sure Australia Day leaves its mark with a true blue tattoo.

There is also a selection of delicious and gourmet meals on wheels. You can also snap a selfie with one of the many magical performers roving around while enjoying the smoothest disc jockey beats.

3:30pm to 6:30pm – Warrane Stage

Relax for the next 3 hours listening to some great live music in First Fleet Park

  • 3:30pm to 4:30pm – Dear Violet
  • 4:30pm to 5:30pm – Lolo Lovina
  • 5:30pm to 6:30pm – King Tide

Dear Violet is a young musical trio presenting a wide range of unique vocal harmonies accompanied by acoustic guitar.

Lolo Lovina is the definitive Balkan Gypsy band … made in Australia.

Credit: The Australia Day Council Of NSW

King Tide is Australian Recording Industry Association-Award–nominees and Australia’s premier original Rocksteady Reggae Got Soul band.

Once King Tide has concluded at 6:30pm, depending on your situation, here is what we recommend for the next & final event – Australia Day Live:

  • If you are a ticket holder, you can go to the actual concert.
  • If you are not a ticket holder, find a spot around Circular Quay before 6:30pm though we recommend the Overseas Passenger Terminal wharf.

(6:30pm) 7:30pm to 9:30pm – Australia Day Live

Also broadcast live on ABC Television + iView, Radio & (some) social media, Australia Day Live is now the pinnacle event of the day in Sydney. What is in store this year?

At your Circular Quay-based vantage point, enjoy the 1 hour pre-show entertainment. It begins a 6:30pm with a 15-minute parade of working vessels around Circular Quay. At 6:45pm, the 2020 Australians Of The Year will appear. They were announced the previous night so congratulate them on their achievements!

The main 2-hour show will commence at 7:30pm.

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Australia Day Live is a unique concert taking place both on land and water, featuring live musical performances choreographed to a flotilla of yachts, jet-skis and fly boarders, with a synchronised pyrotechnics display in Circular Quay.

Aussie music icons Vanessa Amorosi, John Williamson, The Original Seekers, Eurovision star Isaiah Firebrace, along with rockers Eskimo Joe, singing star Christine Anu, 2019 The Voice winner Diana Rouvas, opera supremo Daniel Belle, talented Indigenous vocal group KARI and world-renowned didgeridoo player William Barton will move the crowd with their epic ballads, including patriotic and unifying songs such as ‘I Am Australian’.

Artists will be accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Hint: Keep an eye on the Sydney Opera House.

9:30pm – Happy Australia Day!

That concludes Australia Day 2020. It’s been a long day – 14 hours in fact – so have a good night’s rest and enjoy the public holiday on Monday. Hope you found this itinerary useful.

Source: Australia Day In Sydney 2020

Australia Day 2020 Encourages Unity & Community Spirit

Communities across NSW are being encouraged to come together this Australia Day and stand in solidarity with those who have been affected by bushfires and drought.

On Sunday 26 January, community events will be held across the State with Sydney’s world -renowned Harbour once again taking centre stage with a range of tributes and activities for everyone to come together & mark the day in a way that is right for them.

At today’s official launch, Acting Minister for Multiculturalism, Geoff Lee said Australia Day is about coming together as a community.

“Australians share a unique set of values that define and unite us. They are values based on the spirit of mateship, community, selflessness, sacrifice, courage and resilience,” Mr Lee said.

“They are the same values embodied by our emergency services volunteers who we have all seen band together to courageously and selflessly protect our communities over the past months”

“Australia Day celebrates everyone being part of our community. It’s a day for gathering with family and friends, catching up with our neighbours or attending Australia Day community events around NSW.”

Also announced today was the Australia Day Address speaker for 2020, Grace Brennan, who is the founder of the recent #buyfromthebush campaign. Grace demonstrates how everyday Australians can make extraordinary contributions to the community.

The Address will be delivered in Sydney on Tuesday January 21, and gives a platform for influential and inspiring members of the community to express their unique perspective on the nation’s identity and matters of national importance. This year’s Address will focus on supporting local and regional communities and those affected by drought.

“The bush narrative needed an update, and the story of drought needed to be aptured in a different way – one that called to action and engaged community,” Ms Brennan said.

Australia Day Council of NSW Chair Andrew Parker said he was looking forward to the community coming together to recognise everything that is great about our country.

“This year we want to bring people together to reflect and celebrate the Australian spirit and acknowledge the everyday Australians making a difference to our community. We stand arm in arm, with our mates and for our mates,” he said.

The Australia Day program in Sydney will begin with the WugulOra Morning Ceremony, which will conclude with the singing of the National Anthem in the local Aboriginal language, Eora and English, as the Aboriginal and Australian flags are raised on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Throughout the day and into the evening, Sydney Harbour will be a buzz of activity on the water, around the foreshore and in the sky with spectacular aerial displays, a Sydney Street Party at The Rocks, the Harbour Parade with decorated vessels, a 21-gun ‘Salute to Australia’ and a truly magical Tug and Yacht Ballet performance.

There will be tributes to the brave men and women who have tirelessly and selflessly protected the community. A group of Rural Fire Service volunteers and their families have been invited onboard HMAS Canberra as part of the day’s Salute to Australia event taking place on Sydney Harbour, where they will receive a personal thanks from the NSW Governor.

This year’s Australia Day Live event at the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay will be a night to show the Aussie spirit and celebrate our strength. Our national day is about coming together even in times of extreme hardship.

On the night, the audience at the Sydney Opera House forecourt will include hundreds of emergency services personnel, volunteers and their families who will be invited to enjoy the event and also gives the people of NSW an opportunity to show appreciation for their extraordinary heroic efforts.

The line-up at Australia Day Live will let songs and lyrics tell their stories, while creating an atmosphere of optimism and togetherness in a spectacular and heartfelt concert for all involved.

Aussie music icons John Williamson, Vanessa Amorosi, The Original Seekers, Eurovision star Isaiah Firebrace, along with rockers Eskimo Joe, singing star Christine Anu, the 2019 Voice winner Diana Rouvas, opera supremo Daniel Belle, talented indigenous vocal group KARI, and world-renowned didgeridoo player William Barton will move the crowd with their epic ballads, including patriotic and unifying songs such as ‘I Am Australian’. Artists will be accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Australia Day Live at Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House is a unique concert taking place both on land and water, featuring live musical performances choreographed to a flotilla of yachts, jet-skis, fly boarders and a perfectly synchronised pyrotechnics display on the Harbour.

Australia Day in NSW Creative Director John Foreman OAM said his vision for the 2020 concert is to pay tribute to the nation by showcasing diverse talent from across the country.

“Australia Day is time to celebrate our diversity, and to seek stories, music and performances that help bring us together during what is a very difficult time for our country. We are bringing together some of our best and most successful artists, each with their own unique story and experiences. We hope that the show adds greater meaning to our national day.

Free tickets to experience this unmissable event from the Sydney Opera House Forecourt will be available on Wednesday, 15 January 2020 at 10.00am through The show will also be broadcast live on ABC TV and iView from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Spectators can head down to Circular Quay and join the 60,000 strong expected audience at one of the many vantage points.

This free and unique Australia Day event is produced by the NSW Government and The Australia Day Council of NSW and brought to you by Destination NSW.

For more information on Australia Day in NSW, please visit

Stay connected: #AustraliaDay2020 – #AusDaySyd – – –

Media Release: Australia Day In Sydney