Media releases

Sydney welcomes the world to 2020

Published 3 December 2019

Sydney will welcome a new decade with a symphony of light, colour and Australian sounds as part of the world's best New Year's Eve party.

The sky above Sydney Harbour will be illuminated by a stunning pyrotechnic display and an attempt to create the brightest lighting beam in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

A Calling Country ceremony will welcome the world to Gadigal land, as Lord Mayor Clover Moore is presented with a symbolic message stick to accept on behalf of Sydney residents and visitors.

Access the full media pack.

NYE19 launch. Image Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney
NYE19 launch. Image Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney

The Lord Mayor said NYE 2019 would be the most choreographed show to date, with fireworks, lighting and pylon projections set to an all-Aussie midnight soundtrack for the first time.

"The Sydney New Year's Eve show is our gift to the world. It's about saying welcome to Sydney and welcome to 2020 - to locals, visitors, migrants, refugees and more than one billion viewers across the globe.

"Our creative talents in pyrotechnics, lighting and music have come together to create a spectacle that reflects what our beautiful city is all about.

"The Sydney Harbour Bridge will light up to create the brightest beam in the southern hemisphere, while our world-famous fireworks ring in the new year.

"Our New Year's Eve celebrations are about showing the world what a welcoming place Sydney is and celebrating the culture of the Gadigal people, the original custodians of our land.

"Sydney's world renowned New Year's Eve fireworks have become a major tourist attraction and each year, they generate more than $130 million for the NSW economy."

Fireworks director Fortunato Foti has worked on every New Year's Eve since 1997 and relishes the challenge of finding innovative ways to ring in the new year.

"To celebrate the start of 2020, the audience will be treated to a 'pyrotechnicolour' extravaganza with more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects," Mr Foti said.

"These include colour changing stars, stained glass designed shells, glittering willow effects and 'pyrograms' producing 2D shapes.

"Pyro mine letters spelling out 'Sydney' will fall from the bridge as we countdown to midnight.

"The fireworks will be launched from seven different barges around the harbour, as well as the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge."

Lighting designer Ziggy Ziegler said the attempt to create the brightest beam in the southern hemisphere was a bold, new approach for Sydney New Year's Eve.

"We're installing a series of high output, low power light sources on the Harbour Bridge that will link up to create a stunning beam shooting up into the sky," Mr Ziegler said.

"Our Harbour of Light show is also back, connecting crowds around the harbour with the action through a stunning light show on the water and across the whole eastern face of the bridge.

"The combination of our brilliant lighting with the fireworks and pylon projections will create a stunning spectacle that will dazzle people across the globe."

The Lord Mayor announced the Refugee Council of Australia as the City of Sydney's official charity partner for New Year's Eve, launching 2020 as the year of welcome.

Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power called on Sydneysiders to take one easy, fun action every month in 2020 to welcome people of refugee backgrounds into their community.

"We will be creating a movement of welcome, from the bottom up. On the eve of the new decade, thousands of Australians will send a message to the people who have sought safety in Australia to let them know that we're delighted they're here," Mr Power said.

The Lord Mayor said all of Sydney had been deeply saddened by the tragic impact of the bushfires, and pledged to use New Year's Eve to help raise money and awareness for those in need.

"Sydney New Year's Eve unites people from all over the world with a message of hope for the year to come.

"I appreciate the calls people have been making to cancel our New Year's Eve fireworks in light of the bushfires.

"Rather than do that, we will harness the enormous power of the event to raise more money for the Australian Red Cross' Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

"We encourage all people who visit our city on New Year's Eve and those watching at home to donate to the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund via our online fundraiser."

The City of Sydney has already donated $620,000 to drought and bushfire relief, and will provide trucks, staff and other in-kind support to assist emergency services with recovery and clean-up efforts.

To donate, visit

Sydney New Year’s Eve event times

7pm Fire tug presents a water display on Sydney Harbour

7.30pm Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony on Sydney Harbour by the Tribal Warrior Association

8pm Air display above Sydney Harbour by flying ace Matt Hall Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections start

8.30pm Sydney Harbour Bridge lighting effects start

9pm Family fireworks (8 minutes) including the ABC's Design Your Own Firework competition firework display

9.08pm Calling Country segment honouring Australia's Indigenous heritage

9.15pm Harbour of Light parade

12am Midnight fireworks (12 minutes)

2am Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projection and lighting effects end


For media inquiries or images, contact Alex Cauchi.
Phone mobile 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jack Begbie.
Phone 0481 759 580 or email

For New Year's event information, visit the Sydney New Year's Eve website.