Monday, January 1, 2007
A crowd of approximately 1 million has welcomed the new year in Sydney overnight. Many of the crowd had camped out since 6 AM AEDT (7PM UTC) to ensure they had the best vantage point for the fireworks displays at 9 PM and 12 AM. Earlier predictions of rain failed to dampen enthusiastic revellers and fortunately did not eventuate.
This year’s theme was “A diamond night in Emerald City” and celebrated the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s diamond anniversary of 75 years which will fall in March.
As usual, the bridge became the centre piece of Sydney’s celebrations with a question mark turning into a coat hanger during the 9 PM fireworks show before a diamond appeared at 11 PM.
Entertainment was held in the city throughout the day, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display at midnight. Revellers counted down the final seconds of 2006 with numbers on the side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The festivities are estimated to have cost AUD $4 million and organisers claim their fireworks display is “the largest in the world”. Sydney’s celebrations were broadcast on television live around the world as other countries prepared their New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Despite the large crowd, police made only 58 arrests for offences including offensive conduct, stealing, assaulting police, goods in custody, assault, drink driving and affray.
Ambulance officers were called to 1,139 incidents in Sydney with another 900 in country areas.