From sunrise to sunset – Come together on Australia Day 2023 to Reflect, Respect and Celebrate

Communities across NSW are encouraged to come together for Australia Day 2023 events across the state and participate in a program that is inspiring and respectful, rich in culture and heritage, and inclusive of all citizens.

Sydney’s January 26 program, put on by The Australia Day Council of NSW (ADCNSW) and NSW Government, starts with a reflective moment with a dawn projection on the Opera House sails, before the Harbour program swings into action with dressed-up ferries, the Salute to Australia, a parade of vessels, then the grand finale spectacular outdoor concert with fireworks and maritime show spanning Circular Quay.

Highlights of the 2023 Sydney Australia Day program include:

  • Dawn Reflection – sails of the Sydney Opera House illuminated in First Nations artwork by proud Kamilaroi artist Rhonda Sampson, while the Australian and Aboriginal flags are raised together on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a symbol of unity at sunrise.
  • WugulOra Morning Ceremony (Barangaroo Reserve) – marking the 20-year anniversary of this important Australia Day morning ceremony.
  • Australia Day Ferrython – onboard the four Emerald-Class ferries racing for the 2023 title will be community groups, charities and hundreds of displaced Ukrainians who now call Sydney home.
  • Salute to Australia – the annual ceremony on the Harbour featuring a special tri-service salute from the Australian Defence Force.
  • Australia Day Live free outdoor concert – full artist line-up announced today with stars including Casey Donovan, Dami Im, Christine Anu, William Barton and Isaiah Firebrace.

All the much-loved Australia Day traditions, including citizenship and awards ceremonies and lots of unique community activities will take place across the state in 2023. More than 100 Australia Day Ambassadors will join festivities across NSW, and everyone is invited to mark the day their way, no matter where they live.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the national day in NSW will honour the unique set of values that define Australians, including our resilience and unity.

“Our communities have united to face incredible adversity over the past year, and I hope that Australia Day brings people together to celebrate our strength, our generosity and our resilience,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Our history isn’t perfect, but for all our flaws, and for all the challenges we face, today let’s remember that, as Australians, we have so much to be grateful for and proud of, and a right to feel hopeful and optimistic for the future.”

Australia Day Council of NSW Chair Andrew Parker said the NSW Program continues to engage with all Australians at a deeper level.

“Australia Day celebrates the community coming together and the incredible tapestry of different backgrounds and cultures that makes Australia unique.”

As the sun sets in Sydney, the Australia Day Live outdoor free concert kicks into action with its allstar line-up in a spectacular show that takes over Circular Quay and will inspire and entertain the nation on January 26. Everyone is invited to join in person or watch on ABC TV or ABC iview from 7.30pm.

The Hon Patrick Gorman MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister said the Australian Government is proud to support the delivery of the Australia Day 2023 capital city events program.

“We are committed to bringing our nation and people together. This is one step on our journey towards reconciliation and working in genuine partnership with First Nations people.

“Every Australia Day, we reflect on 65,000 years of history on this land. The nation we are committed to continue building is one centred on respect, inclusiveness, multiculturalism and diversity. This is an opportunity for all Australians to come together and be a part of this particularly important Australia Day in returning our arts, music and culture back to the heart of our wonderful cities”.

Australia Day Creative Director John Foreman OAM said: “The day is about celebrating and shining a spotlight on our diversity. The evening concert, with its powerful performances and tributes, adds greater meaning to our national day and celebrates the Australian spirit.”

Australia Day Live will celebrate artists from around each state and territory across the country, with several symphony orchestras collaborating on a mesmerising opening piece. West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Aussie Pops Orchestra will all come together to perform a stunning live rendition of My Island Home, sung by Christine Anu and her daughter Zipporah.

William Barton, Australia Day Live Creative Consultant and performer, said: “It is important to all of us to begin Australia Day Live with a moment that looks at the Aboriginal perspective of Australia Day that celebrates artists from all over the country in different locations,” he said.

“Christine Anu is performing My Island Home, a song that was originally recorded by the Warumpi Band in the ‘80s and has an incredible lineage in Indigenous culture, together with symphony orchestras from across the country.”

Combined with a spectacular land and water show spanning Circular Quay, Australia Day Live is the crowning jewel of the Sydney program. Transforming Sydney Harbour into a stage like no other, Australia Day Live will also include a musical and fireworks spectacular, with projections on the sails of the Sydney Opera House, a lit vessel parade, dazzling acrobatics of jet-skiers, fly-boarders, parachutists and a jaw-dropping ‘The Other Superman’ performance by wheelchair aerialist Paul Nunnari.  In a world first, Paul will spin from a crane, while elevated across the harbour from his wheelchair! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the Other Superman!

Joining Christine Anu and Zipporah are performers Casey Donovan, Dami Im, William Barton, Isaiah Firebrace, Anthony Callea, Tim Campbell, James Morrison, Emma Pask and Darren Percival in this uplifting show that celebrates the Australian spirit. Plus, there’s soprano Mirusia and mezzo soprano Emma Kavanagh, and Koomurri dancers, all backed up by music maestro John Foreman’s Aussie Pops Orchestra.

Dami Im will perform a moving rendition of Throw your Arms Around Me, joined by the heroic and harmonious Fijian abattoir workers who volunteered and uplifted Lismore residents during the devastating floods.

Hosts of Australia Day Live will be John Foreman, Casey Donovan and ABC’s Jeremy Fernandez and Sirine Demachkie. Limited free tickets to experience Australia Day Live, an unmissable outdoor event from the Sydney Opera House Forecourt will be available on Wednesday, 11 January at 10am.

Australia Day Live complements a range of tributes and activities for Sydneysiders from dawn to dusk. The morning projection on the Opera House sails is a moment to pause and reflect. WugulOra (meaning ‘One mob’), is a timeless morning ceremony that recognises the world’s oldest living culture. The ceremony of cleansing, reflecting and connection with First Nations people, is a poignant time to pause, reflect and remember. Everyone is invited to attend or tune into the live broadcast on ABC TV or ABC iview, to learn from the stories of our First Peoples.

Yvonne Weldon, Deputy Chair Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and Deputy Chair of ADCNSW said there are many diverse events in Sydney on January 26 to attend, so we can all continually share the issues that need to be addressed – and understand the culture, practices and traditions that have been in this country for more than 65,000 years.

“2023 will be the third year for the Dawn Reflection which is an important part of starting the day where Aboriginal people are represented. It is a moment to reflect on what it means for this new dawn and reflect on what took place every day prior to 1788 and each day since.

“It’s also 20 years of the Australia Day morning ceremony - WugulOra is respectful in honouring those who have fallen, continue to suffer but is also about moving forward and how as a state and country we can do this with the First Nations. Australia Day is about having yarns and sharing information - that’s what this Australia Day program aims to achieve. There is a healing that is needed and we need to do it together.” The WugalOra Morning Ceremony will be broadcast live on ABC TV and ABC iview at 7.30pm.

Throughout the day, Sydney Harbour in all its glory will burst with colour, spectator cheers and action with iconic favourites returning in 2023 including the Harbour Parade and Ferrython celebrating our multicultural community, charity groups and the vessels’ namesakes.

Overhead, the thrill of a fast jet flypast ties in perfectly with the Salute to Australia, which celebrates the extraordinary contributions of homegrown heroes and new citizens of our great state. During the day at the Opera House many migrants will mark Australia Day at the Lord Mayor’s Citizenship Ceremony and pledging their loyalty to community and country. Spectators can head down to the Circular Quay foreshore and enjoy the atmosphere all day. There’s the Mega Kidz Zone with an inflatable Ninja obstacle course, a massive maze and wheelchair basketball at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and Family Fun with Surf Life Saving NSW on the MCA Lawn.

Australia Day Live will also be broadcast live on ABC TV and ABC iview from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. This
event is produced by The Australia Day Council of NSW and NSW Government and brought to you by Destination NSW and The National Australia Day Council.

For more information on Australia Day in NSW and to plan your day, visit

MEDIA: Australia Day Council of NSW: [email protected]

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Australia Day in NSW Partners