Cultural and creative life

Volunteer Robert Lim shares his 20-year journey with NYE

“No amount of money can buy the Sydney New Year’s Eve atmosphere and experience.”


Tell us what you do as a New Year’s Eve volunteer.

As a New Year’s Eve volunteer team leader, I help coordinate and provide visitors with the information they need. Around 1 million people flood into the city to watch the fireworks, and around 60% are tourists. They often need directions, ask where the nearest ATM is, or want to know the best vantage points to view the fireworks.

What made you start volunteering?

It was back in 2000 during the Sydney Olympics. I just thought, why not? It’s an international event, and I should help people and make them feel welcome. I became an ambassador to make visitors feel at home, so they take home memories they cannot buy.

You must have had some interesting encounters over the past 20 years. Can you share some memorable moments?

Everyone still gets goosebumps during the big explosion of fireworks when midnight strikes. It makes you realise, ‘Wow! Here we are! That’s another year gone.'

What’s your favourite part of volunteering for Sydney’s New Year’s Eve?

Seeing my junior peers growing into great team leaders.

You must have seen the city and New Year’s Eve change and grow. Do you still get a buzz after all these years?

Yes, you still get it, and every year is different. Each year I observe a lot more than the year before. I never get tired of it.

If you weren’t volunteering, where would you like to be on New Year’s Eve?

20 years ago I would’ve gone clubbing but I realised over time that I wasn’t making myself useful and didn’t remember everything the next day anyway. No amount of money can buy the Sydney New Year’s Eve atmosphere and experience. It’s something I cherish every year.

Volunteer applications are now open for 2019 Sydney New Year's Eve. Apply by 25 November 2019.

Plan the perfect night at the official Sydney New Year's Eve site.

Published 13 December 2018, updated 24 October 2019