All eyes on Sydney’s spectacular welcome to 2019

Posted .

Sydney Harbour has once again played host to the biggest and best New Year's Eve fireworks display, with more than one billion people around the globe tuning in last night to watch Sydney welcome 2019.

Crowds were treated to a spectacular celebration with more fireworks than ever before, a dazzling light show on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a brand new musical moment at 11pm - all inspired by the theme 'the pulse of Sydney'.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that despite heavy rain earlier in the night, Sydney had once again earned its place as the New Year's Eve capital of the world.

"Our spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks displays showcase our beautiful city and bring together our diverse Sydney community with visitors from across the country and the world for a night of celebration and reflection", Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

"I spent the evening with 1,000 children, their carers and families in the Royal Botanic Garden, and witnessed first-hand how Sydney's spirits remained high despite the rain and crowds stuck it out through wet weather to enjoy the celebrations."

Image: Getty Images / City of Sydney

The celebrations kicked off at 6pm with an air display above Sydney Harbour, followed by a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony by the Tribal Warrior Association.

A new Aboriginal segment, Calling Country, featured a series of animated projections beamed onto the pylons of the Harbour Bridge, welcoming the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

As part of the segment, the Harbour Bridge, Harbour of Light Parade vessels and Luna Park ferris wheel were lit red for the first time.

At 11pm, a five-minute mini-movie animation designed with award-winning Australian pop duo Client Liaison and inspired by the song 'Great Southern Land' saw the Harbour Bridge pylons illuminated with Australian beach scenes, the outback and a dramatic setting sun.

Master pyrotechnician Fortunato Foti of Foti International Fireworks was responsible for the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays for the 22nd consecutive year.

The displays featured more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects, including a countdown from 10 to one at midnight, the word 'Sydney' emblazoned in white across the arch of the Harbour Bridge, and colourful new 'wave effect' fireworks.

Dramatic gold and silver fireworks featured in a tribute to the late, great Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Heart-shaped fireworks and a smiley face were launched from pontoons underneath the bridge, and new colours of lime and peach were created in a nod to the Sydney summer.

Sydney's celebrations required a mammoth clean-up operation to get the city moving again once the festivities were over.

City of Sydney staff worked through the night to collect around 35 tonnes of waste and ensure the city streets were clear of rubbish and thoroughly cleaned after the crowds went home.

The clean-up involved 285 workers, along with 54 trucks, sweepers and compactors.

An additional 128 mobile rubbish bins and six 1,100 litre bins were collected, filled with recyclable plastic bottles, paper and food containers.

"I'd like to thank the men and women who worked through the night to ensure our city sparkles on the first day of 2019, the Lord Mayor said.

"Thanks to their work and the diligence of crowds in using recyclables, I'm happy to say significantly less waste was collected than last year, reducing the impact of the celebration on our environment."

Destination NSW estimates that Sydney New Year's Eve contributes more than $133 million to the local economy.

Sydney New Year's Eve images are available for download here - please credit Getty Images / City of Sydney.

For media inquiries, contact Keeley Irvin.
Phone 0448 005 718 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Matthew Phillips.
Phone 0436 817 973 or email

Subscribe for updates

Choose the news that interests you

Sign up