Australia’s 2016 New Year Fest to celebrate its Aboriginal connection and culture

The connection between Indigenous people and the land will be celebrated as part of this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney.

Red fireworks will cascade from the Harbour Bridge pylons while yellow flares erupt through the bridge and the black night sky hangs above, turning the world-famous ‘coat-hanger’ into a giant Aboriginal flag as part of a Welcome to Country for this evening’s new year’s eve fireworks.

The Welcome to Country spectacular has been created by Rhoda Roberts who said the imagery includes natural landscapes and the flora and fauna symbols of local clan totems as this cultural practice – a custom of ensuring protection – continues today.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge will be the canvas for a special New Year’s Eve welcome to country message as part of this year’s fireworks display.

Images will be broadcast on the pylons on either end of the bridge  while red and yellow fireworks will turn the bridge into an Aboriginal flag.

“I’m thrilled the City is honouring Sydney’s First Peoples with this beautiful welcome to country that will be watched by millions in Australia and across the world,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Our theme this year is ‘City of Colour’ – it’s a recognition of the wonderful diversity of this city and with this powerful Welcome to Country we are celebrating the talent, culture and creativity of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Moore said.

“This year’s Sydney New Year’s Eve Welcome to Country celebrates the connection that Australia’s First Peoples have with the land in a way that’s inclusive and fun,” adds Roberts.

“It was a challenge to show our ever-adapting culture using contemporary elements like pylon projections and pyrotechnics but I think everyone will be enthralled on the night.”

Nathan Moran, CEO of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC) said the organisation was delighted with the Welcome to Country on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“We are deeply honoured and overjoyed that the Sydney New Year’s Eve celebration will have a specific focus on respecting the First Nations Australians of Sydney Harbour – the Gadigal, Wangal and Gamaragal clans of the Eora Nation,” said Mr Moran.

“It’s in the best interests of all Australians to celebrate Australia’s First Nations culture as the heart and soul of a united Australia.

“The City of Sydney involved the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council right from the design stage of the Welcome to Country and we believe this is a template that all organisations should learn from for effectively working with First Nations people.

“We believe this Sydney New Year’s Eve will be the most embracing celebration yet.”

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