SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – January 15, 2018: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – SMH NEWS: 070115: Day Entertainers partaking in Sydney’s performance appear for a media call at the Rocks in Sydney prior to the January 26th celebrations. Picture shows L to R Day Creative Director John Foreman with Rock Legend John-Paul Young, Singer and Radio Broadcaster Christine Anu and TV Celebrity Grant Denyer. (Photo James Alcock /Fairfax Media).Sydney’s Day ambassadors keen to kick off the program launch on Monday with details of this year’s performances were forced to answer questions on the debate over changing the date.
Indigenous leaders have been pushing for the change in recent years, saying January 26 marks the date the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove in 1788, marking the beginning of British colonisation.
However Indigenous singer Christine Anu, one of the performers on Day, said that “as long as the conversation continues, we as ns all have the right to be proud and celebrate our diversity and our cultural heritage, whatever that might be”.
“We all have a right to have a day to celebrate that,” she said. “I also think it’s an important day to remember and acknowledge the history of the first nation’s people and never to forget that.”
Several local councils in Victoria are changing the date of their local celebrations and Greens leader Richard Di Natale has announced the party’s push to organise a major political plan to abandon January 26 as the official day.
He doesn’t necessarily think the change will happen soon, but hopes there is an important national conversation over the next couple of years.
“We can only gain from moving Day,” Senator Di Natale said. “People can continue, if they want to, to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet.”
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce rejected the push, and said he was very proud of Day and looked forward to celebrating it this year. Sydney’s Day party broken into three areas
Three entertainment precincts – Darling Harbour, The Rocks and Circular Quay – will host this year’s Day celebrations in Sydney.
The program kicks off at 7.45am with the Indigenous WugulOra Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo.
Darling Harbour will host a Summer Playground, with the Wiggles performing morning and afternoon concerts. Then the precinct will transform into an entertainment hub with DJ sessions and party cover bands.
At Circular Quay there will be multiple shows on land, sea and in the air while the Sydney Street Party will kick off at The Rocks. In the evening the Live at the Quay! event will host live musical performances that have been choreographed to power ski shows and fireworks.
The Sydney Opera House forecourt will host the Day 2018 – Live at Sydney Opera House starring n singers Guy Sebastian, John Paul Young and Christine Anu.
Although free, tickets to both the Wiggles and Live at The Opera House concerts requires people to enter a ballot for their chance to win tickets via the Day website.
NSW Day creative director John Foreman said the decision to move the fireworks and lights display to Circular Quay will allow the event to be “bigger and better than ever”.
For the first time people watching the Day concert at home will also be able to watch the fireworks.
With these three new entertainment precincts planned for the day, security and public safety is set to be the priority for the NSW Police Department.
“It’s a large operation, we will be deploying a large number of police to the operation both on land, the water and in the air,” Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb said.
Ms Webb will also be the Day police commander and has advised people visiting venues to check the Day website to see what security measures will be in place.
The public need to “allow themselves plenty of time and we advise to travel by public transport”, she said.
“We really encourage everyone to go about their business but if they see something they need to report it.”