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Monday, February 26, 2024

New Year’s Eve: huge crowds turn out in Australian cities to see in 2024

New Year’s Eve: huge crowds turn out in Australian cities to see in 2024


Australians turned out in their hundreds of thousands to see in the new year under a midnight sky lit up by fireworks.

In Sydney, crowds were abuzz and at maximum capacity as revellers crammed picnic rugs together across harbour foreshore vantage points. More than 8.5 tonnes of fireworks went up in smoke alongside 80,000 pyrotechnic effects to the sounds of jubilant cheers.

For some, it had been a 17-hour wait after queueing from the early hours of the morning to snag a premium spot. But it was worth it as the clock struck 12 for the families, friends, world travellers and locals alike who enjoyed the front-row display of pyrotechnics, a smoking ceremony, AI-driven projections on to the harbour bridge and illuminated boats on the water.

Smaller groups were seen dancing on the pylons of the Harbour Bridge while children looked on in wonder.

By 5pm, most major vantage points around the foreshore had already reached capacity, with the Sydney Opera House full by 11.30am.

Crowds gather at the Sydney Opera House. Photograph: Roni Bintang/Getty Images

Janna Thomas, visiting from Germany, was spending her first New Year’s Eve in Sydney and had grabbed a spot in the Botanic Gardens. “It’s unbelievable we are here. It feels surreal,” she said.

Having waited in line since 7.30am, she described the scene as “total madness”. She said: “It’s not so easy to find a good place to sit but the view is incredible.”

Sydney’s mayor, Clover Moore, said the city’s New Year’s Eve festivities provided a $280m boost to the economy, according to a 2019 study.

“They remind the world that Sydney is a global city for tourism, for business, for culture, for technological creativity and, most important, Sydney is an inclusive and diverse city for all our communities,” she told reporters on Sunday.

A fireworks display in Melbourne
A fireworks display in Melbourne. Photograph: Diego Fedele/AAP

Melbourne was treated to a non-stop and vibrant fireworks display alongside a far-reaching laser show that ignited the city’s skyline from across 27 rooftops.

Cheers reverberated through the city after the show, with hordes of people shuffling out of designated celebration zones after witnessing the three semi-trailer loads of pyrotechnics go off.

Crowds of more than 400,000 gathered in the city centre to ring in the new year, many vying for a spot at the Docklands’ waterfront.

Rose Stafrace, from Mill Park in Melbourne’s north-east, has been venturing into the city for the fireworks for more than three decades, and thought 2023’s New Year’s Eve crowd was bigger than the last. “Every year it gets more and more people,” she said.

Outside Flinders Street station was choked with people as security officers diverted pedestrian traffic and revellers flanked either side of the Yarra River.

Jude Esom, a Melbourne local, his partner Tatyanna Herrick and their fourth-month-old son Chiemek Chiazor had been lured to Kings Domain with the promise of Afrobeats.

“I’m from Nigeria, so that’s from my country,” he said. “I love it when I come here and see different people, different nationalities. It gives me the joy of the Melbourne community.”

Similar scenes were happening or about to happen in other state capitals. Thunderstorms brought torrential rain to the storm-battered Gold Coast during the night but that did not stop an early fireworks display at Surfers Paradise, before that area was hit by a deluge.



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