Media releases

International sign language to welcome guests to Sydney New Year’s Eve

Published 30 November 2016

For the first time, American and British sign language will be projected onto the Harbour Bridge pylons to welcome international visitors this New Year’s Eve.

The City of Sydney introduced the “Welcome to Sydney” Auslan sign language projections last year, which will now feature alongside their international counterparts.

Research by leading analysts Stollznow revealed more than 46 per cent of those who attended last year’s New Year’s Eve festivities had travelled from overseas specifically to attend the event.

“We’re committed to being a city that is inclusive and accessible for visitors from all around the world, and we want to ensure more people than ever can enjoy the celebrations,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“The introduction of British and American sign language projections allows deaf communities from around the globe to further enjoy the celebrations with Sydney.”

Gerard O’Dwyer was the 2015 Don’t DisMYability ambassador and enjoyed last year’s Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Cahill Expressway vantage point. Catching the train to Martin Place, he and his family were pleased with the support available across the city.

“It was quite easy getting the train into the city and walking to the Cahill Expressway. On the walk to the event there were people offering directions, which was very helpful,” Gerard said.

“I had the time of my life - the crowd seemed happy and the fireworks were spectacular. I enjoyed the celebrations so much, I would love to attend again.

“Leading up to the night, Mum and I went online to get details on the best way to get into the city on New Year’s Eve. The information was very helpful.

“My advice to anyone heading into the city would be to leave plenty of time to get there and be prepared for large crowds.”

As a Don’t DisMYability ambassador, Gerard promoted equal treatment and equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

“I ask everyone this New Year’s Eve to be kind, show each other respect and treat everyone equally.”

The 2016 Sydney New Year’s Eve offers eight designated accessible viewing areas for people with disabilities to enjoy the festivities with family and friends. The areas cater for those with sensory, neurological, psychological, cognitive and learning disabilities.

The designated accessible viewing areas have been organised in collaboration with the Department of Premier and Cabinet and other government agencies.

Pirrama Park in Pyrmont provides a less-congested, family-friendly vantage point on the harbourside. With an accessible spinner in the playground, children with and without disabilities can play and enjoy the park’s facilities. It also provides accessible toilets, access ramps where required and a designated drop-off zone on Darling Island Road.

Other designated accessible viewing areas include Ballarat Park, Barangaroo, Cahill Expressway, Goat Island, Mary Booth Reserve, Mrs Macquarie’s Point and Sydney Opera House. Bookings are essential.

Go to for detailed descriptions of each viewing area and to make your booking.

The audio description broadcast will again offer people with blindness or low vision the chance to experience the spectacular SydNYE fireworks with the rest of the world. Listeners will hear a high quality live audio description of the Welcome to Country, 9pm family fireworks display, harbour of light parade and the midnight fireworks display.

Leading up to the night, event guides will be distributed across the city centre at train stations, information centres, libraries and service centres. Event guides are available in large print, Braille and audio format and are available in Chinese, Spanish, Korean, German and Japanese. Download or request Braille guides from 

Sydney for All provides accessible tourist information, including things to do and options for getting around. Head to for more information.

Those staying at home can enjoy the celebrations through the ABC’s broadcast of the event, which offers live closed captions through its TV and online services. 2DayFM broadcasts the soundtracks for the 9pm family fireworks and the midnight fireworks through their radio station 104.1FM.

People can listen to the ABC audio description on ABC Extra via your computer or device on:  or

  • Download the ABC Radio App for iOS or Android
  • Listen on your computer on the ABC Radio website
  • Look for 'ABC Extra' on your digital radio receiver
The City of Sydney offers an interactive accessibility map to assist in planning the best route around the city. Head to for assistance in planning your night.

There will be major road closures and special event clearways in the city centre, on the harbour foreshore, North Sydney and lower north shore. To help plan your route on the night, you can use an interactive map that also features public transport information:

For a list of Accessibility Apps to assist with transport head to

If you want to find out more about how to get to the city on NYE, go to or call Transport Information on 131 5000


Contact the City for assistance with planning your night

Sydney New Year’s Eve Accessibility Officer:


Phone: +61 2 9265 9333

For wheelchair-accessible taxi bookings call 02 8332 0200 or visit


For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Belinda Wallis 02 8974 4153 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay on 0432 182 647 or email