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Canberra Today 15°/20° | Friday, February 23, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Sydney to set tone for NYE with indigenous celebration

Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to celebrate the new year. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

By Maeve Bannister in Sydney

Sydney will ring in the new year with a celebration of First Nations culture as part of a program including pylon projections, live music and the surprise appearance of beloved children’s characters.

As one of the first cities in the world to mark the start of 2024, Sydney’s celebrations will set the tone with 20 minutes of fireworks in two displays, a smoking ceremony, AI-driven projections onto the harbour bridge and illuminated boats on the water.

Beloved animated dogs Bluey and Bingo will also make an appearance at the event, which takes 15 months of planning.

At 7.30pm, three boats will make their way from Barangaroo to Campbell Cove as part of a ceremony to cleanse the harbour of negative spirits and prepare for the new year.

A 9pm Calling Country show will celebrate Indigenous Australian culture and illustrate how First Nations stories are handed down by each generation.

The pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge will feature projections of iconic Indigenous Australians including Cathy Freeman, Barkaa, Anita Heiss, Adam Goodes and Patty Mills.

They will also tell the story of Pemulwuy, a Bidjigal man and one of the most famous resistance fighters of the colonial era.

The projections have been created by social enterprise We Are Warriors (WAW) in collaboration with illustrator Janelle Burger.

“At the end of the year we’ve had, we want to let our people know they’re loved, they’re seen, and they’re heard, that they are warriors,” WAW founder and Yuin rapper Nooky said.

“It’s time to reflect on and awaken the stories of this country that have been buried by the history we didn’t write.”

The show will be accompanied by fireworks set to an original soundtrack produced by Nooky and Aria Award winner Vincent Goodyear.

Premium vantage points along the harbour will be free for the public this year after the NSW government axed paid events at key locations, tickets for which cost up to $500.

The midnight fireworks will be launched from six water-based platforms, five city building rooftops, four pontoons, the bridge and the Opera House.

More than 8.5 tonnes of fireworks will be launched from 18,000 firing points, with silver and gold pyrotechnics to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Opera House.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore encouraged spectators to arrive at locations early.

“New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour is objectively one of the most spectacular annual events on the planet,” she said on Monday.

“The event highlights the best qualities of this city: our glorious harbour, relaxed lifestyle and penchant to party.”

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Ian Meikle, editor

Australian Associated Press

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