The culture of the Gadigal people helped ring in 2019 on Monday night as Sydney once again staged one of the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve fireworks shows.
A Calling Country ceremony organised by Sydney New Year’s Eve creative director Rhoda Roberts saw a series of animated projections including water, birds, fish and plants beamed onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons ahead of the city’s massive, $5.8 million fireworks display.
The Calling Country ended with the words “welcome” and “always will be” in Gadigal language.
Meanwhile, Indigenous performers Christine Anu, Casey Donovan and Baker Boy appeared in a stellar line up of performers as part of a New Year’s Eve concert at the Sydney Opera House.
Ms Roberts said traditional cultural protocol was updated for the twenty first century in the Calling Country.
“UNESCO has named 2019 the International Year of Indigenous languages, so I think it is fitting that we end our new-look welcome in words of the Gadigal that we can all embrace,” she said.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the night was the perfect chance to share Indigenous stories.
“Our New Year’s Eve celebrations on Gadigal land are watched by more than a billion people around the world, making it the perfect opportunity to acknowledge that this was, and always will be, Aboriginal land,” she said.
More than eight tonnes of fireworks, 100,000 pyrotechnic effects and 35,000 shooting comets were used in Sydney, one of the first major cities to welcome in 2019 last night.
The Calling Country display, part of festivities earlier in the night, was also part of the ABC’s live New Year’s Eve broadcast and outdoor concert at the Sydney Opera House.
The ABC said Tuesday 3.6 million viewers tuned into its The Night is Yours concert and fireworks broadcast.
The broadcaster said it was the leading network in the metro markets Monday night with a five city metro prime time share of viewers of 22 percent. ABC TV’s New Year’s Eve Midnight Fireworks was the number one program of the night, it said.
“New Year’s Eve showcases Sydney at its best and brightest and we are thrilled to have beamed images of the city’s iconic fireworks,” acting head of entertainment and specialist Michael Carrington said.
By Wendy Caccetta