New Year’s Eve revellers flocked to Sydney Harbour on Thursday for celebrations featuring a fly-over by 15 vintage aircraft and a flotilla of 55 decorated ships.
But the big draw, this year as every year, was the fireworks.
The biggest bangs and fiercest flashes came at the stroke of midnight to usher in 2010, with 1.5 million attending what organisers billed as the “best show on Earth”.
Swiss tourist Nathael Heimberg camped out overnight to guarantee himself a front-row seat for the incandescence of 36,000 fireworks fired on 12,000 cues from 15 locations.
To counter drunken behaviour marring celebrations in recent years, alcohol was being confiscated from those trying to get to popular vantage points like the Opera House and Circular Quay.
“Whether you’re drink-driving, riding a pushbike while drunk, behaving like an idiot on one of our buses or trains, or underage drinking, police will catch you,” Police Minister Michael Daley warned. “If you’re one of these fools that like to ruin other people’s night, make yourself a New Year’s resolution to grow up and behave yourself and start practising that (tonight).”
Despite there being enough explosives in the A$6,50,000 ($5,85,000) fireworks hamper to fill 14 shipping containers, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore insisted the celebrations were environmentally friendly.
“I think it’s a very timely call to awaken our spirit, to change our ways, to nurture our environment, to save our planet and to provide for the future of our children,” she said.
New South Wales state Premier Kristina Keneally said the expense was worth it to eclipse other New Year’s Eve party places like New York and London.
“When the rest of the world starts to celebrate the New Year, they look here first — and we give them the best show on earth in the best city on Earth,” Ms. Keneally said.
Rhoda Roberts, who as artistic director is in charge of the A$5 million show, made some extraordinary claims for Australia’s biggest city.
“Sydney has an amazing spirit — soulful, sexy and sophisticated — and we want to celebrate and awaken her spirit for the New Year ahead,” she said.