Media releases

A great Aussie welcome for 2019

Published 4 December 2018

Sydney Harbour will come to life on New Year's Eve with a five-minute mini-movie animation inspired by the Aussie music anthem, 'Great Southern Land'.

Created with award-winning Australian pop duo, Client Liaison, the new music moment at 11pm will see the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons illuminated with Australian beach scenes, the outback and a dramatic setting sun.

The original song 'Great Southern Land' was a huge early '80s hit by rock group Icehouse, evoking the Australian landscape, heritage and identity.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore today announced the theme of New Year's Eve 2018 - 'the Pulse of Sydney'.

"Every New Year's Eve, the world watches as Sydney becomes the first city to ring in the New Year," the Lord Mayor said.

"No other night reflects the pulse of Sydney quite like New Year's Eve - with more than one million people coming together around our beautiful Sydney Harbour and more than one billion people celebrating with us worldwide.

"Fireworks Director Fortunato Foti never fails to impress with bigger and brighter fireworks displays and Creative Director Rhoda Roberts has created a new ritual, 'Calling Country,' to welcome all to Gadigal land."

As the animation plays on the bridge, Client Liaison will perform 'Great Southern Land' as part of the ABC New Year's Eve concert, The Night Is Yours, at the Sydney Opera House. This will be broadcast on the ABC and live-streamed on

Client Liaison's Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller described the Sydney New Year's Eve collaboration as a creative dream.

"No city on earth does New Year's Eve like Sydney. To be part of this amazing night as musicians is incredible. To have a creative role as artists is an absolute buzz," said vocalist Monte Morgan.

"We had so much fun helping create the Australiana animation, and I can't wait to see our concept beamed on the biggest and most beautiful canvas you could ever hope to have," said keyboardist Harvey Miller.

Not to be outdone, the fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight will include never-before-seen fireworks effects, with more fireworks than ever before.

This year, more than 8.5 tonnes of fireworks will be used to create dramatic displays across Sydney Harbour - 500kg more than in 2017.

There will be 35,000 shooting comets - 5,000 more than last year - and 13,000 shells lighting up the night with never-before-seen firework effects.

Fireworks director, Fortunato Foti, revealed there will be more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects on the night, with 1,000 more effects shooting from the Harbour Bridge this year.

"Our 'pulse of Sydney' theme has inspired new fireworks effects. For the first time we've created pulsating fireworks that you'll see in dramatic new star shapes," said Mr Foti.

"We're also introducing wave effect fireworks, where the colour moves across the display rather than the traditional explosion from the centre of the firework.

"And to celebrate summer, we've created fireworks featuring new lime and peach colours to brighten the show."

An age-old Aboriginal tradition of Calling Country will see Sydney mark the International Year of Indigenous languages in 2019.

The Calling Country ritual will welcome all to Sydney and Gadigal land. The ceremony will be captured in a series of stunning animated projections, including water, birds, fish and plants beamed onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons.

Sydney New Year's Eve creative director, Rhoda Roberts AO, said the cultural protocol "has been updated for the 21st century", with real significance for the new year.

"UNESCO has named 2019 the International Year of Indigenous languages, so I think it is fitting that we end our new-look welcome in words of the Gadigal we can all embrace," Ms Roberts said.

The Sydney New Year's Eve event is included in the scope of greenhouse gas emissions measured and offset by the City as part of its annual assessment.

Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks are manufactured from biodegradable paper and compounds that dissipate after use to minimise the environmental impact. We also draw on improved technology, energy saving LED and low wattage lighting.

The City of Sydney New Year's Eve event times:

6pm - Air displays start above Sydney Harbour by flying ace Matt Hall and Scott Bretland
7pm - Fire tug presents its water display on Sydney Harbour
7.30pm - Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony on the Sydney Harbour by the Tribal Warrior Association
8pm - Air displays continue above Sydney Harbour
8.30pm - Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon and bridge effects start
9pm - Family fireworks (8 minutes) includes the ABC Design Your Own Firework competition firework display
9.08pm - Calling Country segment honouring Australia's Indigenous heritage
9.15pm - Harbour of Light Parade starts
11pm - New music moment
12am - Midnight fireworks (12 minutes)
1am - Sydney Harbour Bridge lighting effects end
2am - Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections end

For media inquiries or images, contact Belinda Wallis. Phone mobile 0467 810 160 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Julia Lenton. Phone 0410 748 039 or email