About a billion viewers around the world, plus some 1.5 million spectators packed along Sydney Harbour foreshore, watched in awe and delight as the biggest New Year’s Eve firework display the city has ever seen blazed away in the sky.
The two displays, a family show at 9pm and an even bigger one at midnight, saw about seven tonnes of fireworks illuminate the Sydney Harbour skyline, including 12,000 shells, 25,000 shooting comets and 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects. If you missed it, here are the highlights:
The display paid homage to Prince and David Bowie, both of whom died during 2016.
Throughout Australia, millions of people watched the spectacular display, or local displays, from the comfort of their own homes, a friend’s place or prime viewing spots in city and town centres.
The Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve fireworks marked 20 years since they were first televised – in 1996/97, when Sydney Tower was the focal point of the midnight display.
Over the past two decades, the Sydney Harbour firework display has grown into a global multimedia event with an estimated 1.6 million people lining the harbourside vantage points and the spectacular reaching a worldwide audience of more than one billion people.
“The Sydney Harbour spectacular has come a remarkably long way in just 20 years since it was first shown on our television screens,” observed Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) chief executive, Margy Osmond.
“The New Year’s Eve celebration is anticipated to be a AUD 170 million direct windfall for the Sydney economy but we should not forget the nationwide benefit to the visitor economy of more than one billion potential tourists seeing one of our biggest drawcards light up.”
According to a survey of 800 people commissioned by TTF and conducted by the pollster Nielsen late last year, four in five Australians (83%) were planning to celebrate the New Year in some form while just 17% said they planned to avoid the countdown to midnight or go to bed beforehand.
Staying at home and watching the fireworks (28%) remained the most popular way to ring in the New Year followed by a barbecue or party at a friend’s place (26%).
One in ten Australians (11%) planned to go with family and friends to watch a local fireworks display and a further 5% said they would journey into the major cities to experience the big displays.
“Whether you are perched on your couch at home or partying to the countdown on the radio at a New Year’s Eve barbecue or camped out along Sydney Harbour, Australians are always ready and willing to celebrate the start of a brand new year and look forward to the opportunities ahead,” Osmond said.
Edited by Peter Needham