Sydney has welcomed 2020 with a symphony of light, colour and Australian sound, as it once again hosted the world’s best New Year’s Eve party and raised more than $2 million for bushfire relief.
Crowds watching around the harbour and across the world witnessed a stunning fireworks and light show, including the brightest lighting beam in the southern hemisphere for the first time.
The midnight fireworks were synchronised to an all-Aussie soundtrack featuring the likes of Tina Arena, Crowded House, Fisher and Peking Duk.
A Calling Country ceremony shared stories from the Gadigal people, one of the world’s oldest living cultures.
Those watching around the harbour or the ABC broadcast were reminded to donate to the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund in response to the bushfires, with a donation link projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons throughout the night.
As of this morning, the total amount raised online has exceeded $2 million, with donations continuing to roll in. Many sites around the harbour also took cash donations on the night.
Projections also featured the official New Year’s Eve charity partner, the Refugee Council of Australia, reminding people to make 2020 a year of welcome to refugees.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore thanked the many staff from the City of Sydney, NSW Police, emergency services and government agencies for making the event happen.
“Sydney New Year’s Eve is the result of an enormous collaboration project between the City of Sydney and NSW Government agencies, and I’d like to thank everyone for making this event such a success,” the Lord Mayor said.
“I’d particularly like to praise the 250 volunteers who gave up their time to be ambassadors for our city, helping the hundreds of thousands of people visiting Sydney for last night’s event.”
The Lord Mayor said those suffering from the impacts of the bushfires were front of mind through the New Year’s Eve event.
“Reminders to donate to the bushfire appeal and tributes to our brave firefighters were projected onto the Harbour Bridge pylons and broadcast throughout the ABC’s live event coverage,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The City of Sydney previously donated $620,000 to bushfire and drought relief, and I want to thank everyone who joined us in making a donation via the ABC broadcast, the City’s social media channels or because they saw the link on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons.”
Sydney’s celebrations required an enormous clean-up operation to get the City back to normal by early morning on New Year’s Day.
Staff worked through the night collecting around 45 tonnes of waste.
Public recycling bins were trialled on New Year’s Eve for the first time at Herald Square, Wynyard Station and Sydney Town Hall.
Staff also used captured rainwater from a City of Sydney depot to clean the streets, as well as new cleaning techniques, resulting in a more efficient use of water.
Education programs with food vendors in City of Sydney parks saw a greater take up of compostable plates and cutlery. Visitors were also encouraged to place their food scraps in compostable bins.
“To the cleansing and waste staff who worked tirelessly through the night, thank you for ensuring our city sparkles again so quickly,” the Lord Mayor said.
New Year’s Eve 2019 was also the greenest event to date, with City sites and operations using 100 per cent accredited GreenPower.
The City purchased GreenPower certificates to the equivalent of our energy use. These covered 10 sites across the city, including Bicentennial and Pirrama parks and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The certificates will support the production of renewable energy at Sapphire Wind Farm in northern NSW.