An inspiring Indigenous smoking ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve at daybreak has kicked off Australia Day celebrations in Sydney with excitement now building toward a spectacular visual and musical finale at the Opera House tonight.
Crowds began flocking to a glittering Sydney Harbour early today to be part of the numerous events across the city celebrating the day.
Australia Day Council of NSW Chairman Angelos Frangopoulos AM said locals and visitors alike have descended on Sydney to enjoy the colour and fun of the nation’s largest Australia Day celebrations.
“What a fantastic day across our great city. So many have embraced the theme of this year’s program ‘Everyone, every story’ by getting involved in community events and celebrating our diversity,” Mr Frangopoulos said.
Following the moving WulgulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony both the Aboriginal and Australian flags were raised on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Positioned on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 24-year-old proud Wiradjuri man, Jason Owen, sang the Australian national anthem in both English and the Eora language.
“I am a proud Australian who has been blessed to have a rich cultural history,” the country pop artist said.
“It is truly an honour to have been gifted the opportunity to learn the Eora language and to share it with Australia,” Mr Owen said.
Sydney Harbour was the stage for the iconic Australia Day Parade with decorated vessels and a 21-gun ‘Salute to Australia’. While more than 350 choir singers united on the harbour foreshore to deliver a breathtaking performance in both English and local Indigenous language.
The Wiggles once again delighted thousands of fans of all ages at Darling Harbour’s Summer Playground in the morning.
At the Sydney Street Party, spectators lined the roads around The Rocks to cheer on competitors in the GIO Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Race with Japan’s Tomoki Suzuki taking line honours and our own NSW Australian of the Year, Kurt Fearnley coming in third.
Some of Australia’s newest citizens celebrated at citizenship ceremonies across the state including the Lord Mayor’s Citizenship Ceremony on the Tallawoladah Stage at Campbell’s Cove and aboard the HMAS Choules on Sydney Harbour.
NSW Australia Day Creative Director, John Foreman OAM said that there was still more entertainment to come, with Australia Day Live underway at 6.30pm around Circular Quay where up to 65,000 people are expected to head to this not-to-be-missed event.
“Some of Australia’s biggest music stars will feature on stage at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt where 6,000 revellers are set to be entertained with the booked-out free-ticketed concert.
“The renowned Sydney Symphony Orchestra will perform along with Conrad Sewell, Karise Eden, Kate Ceberano, Anthony Callea, tenor Josh Piterman, funk instrumentalist and vocalist Harts, rocker Jon Stevens and Ricki-Lee, with Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project taking to the Tallawoladah Stage in Campbell’s Cove.
“The concert will be synchronised with jet skis, flyboards and a stunning fireworks display to cap off a sensational day of celebration.”
Australia Day Live will air tonight on ABC TV from 7:30pm AEST.