Fireworks won’t take shine off Sydney Opera House

Fireworks won’t take shine off Sydney Opera House

Over 1,000 fireworks will be launched from the sails of Sydney Opera House this New Year’s Eve, using specially designed pyrotechnics to protect the world-famous building as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The fireworks were developed specifically for the event by Foti Fireworks, so they do not damage the building’s tiled exterior.

It is the first time in over a decade that fireworks will be launched from the tops of four sails of the Sydney Opera House and they will be installed by a specially-trained fireworks crew, working 67-metres above the ground.

This year, the top secret Sydney Harbour Bridge Effect will also be twice as big as in previous years and will use new LED technology to form the centrepiece of the 9PM Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks displays.

The effect, made up of 16-kilometres of rope light, will be as tall as a 12-storey building (36-metres) and 72-metres wide, with its lasting image remaining top secret until midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Reg Mombassa looking at camera with NYE artwork
Reg Mombassa looking at camera with NYE artwork

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the event’s creative style and Shine theme was led by artist and musician Reg Mombassa, who was working closely with the Foti team to develop the event.

“Combining Reg’s unique creativity with the Foti family’s pyrotechnic skills will make this Sydney New Year’s Eve inspiring, daring and colourful,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We are marking the 40th anniversary of Sydney Opera House in the best way that Sydney NYE knows how – brilliant, specially-designed fireworks, firing from the world-famous sails. I expect this year’s event to have one of the most creative fireworks displays Sydney has seen.”

Mombassa said the Sydney Opera House was an inspiring building for artists – and pyrotechnicians.

“Apart from the fact that the Sydney Opera House is a distinctive and iconic structure, it’s interesting from the view point of an artist in that it totally changes shape according to where you’re observing it from,” Mombassa said.

“Also, the ever-changing weather patterns and the light from the sun and artificial sources in the city are constantly absorbed and echoed because of the reflective whiteness of the tiles. These are magical qualities not usually associated with rectangular coloured buildings.”

Reg Mombassa with head in hole
Reg Mombassa with head in hole

Fortunato Foti, now in his 14th year as NYE Fireworks Director, said the pressure was always on make the world-renowned fireworks displays better than ever.

“For the first time in over a decade, the Sydney Opera House will be one of the main attractions of the fireworks display,” Mr Foti said.

“The fireworks are specifically designed so that they protect the exterior of the Sydney Opera House.

“It’s always a challenge to create a fireworks display that’s bigger than the previous one, and this year is certainly no different.

“Inspiration for this year’s fireworks display has been taken from Reg Mombassa’s work which, as always, is very colourful and unique. It’s been a challenge pulling it together, but I think the crowds will be impressed on the night.”

NYE Producer Aneurin Coffey, Fireworks Director Fortunato Foti, Lord Mayor Clover Moore, NYE Creative Ambassador Reg Mombassa
NYE Producer Aneurin Coffey, Fireworks Director Fortunato Foti, Lord Mayor Clover Moore, NYE Creative Ambassador Reg Mombassa

Sydneysiders can also visit the Sydney Opera House forecourt to see a huge 60-metre by 6-metre mural that Mombassa created to disguise work sheds while the building undergoes a vehicle access and pedestrian safety improvement project. The work, Millenial Wallscape: The Triumph of the Gum, will remain at the forecourt until the end of February next year.

NYE13 banners across the city will also feature Mombassa’s cheeky Hi-Rise Opera House artwork. “This is what the Sydney Opera House would look like if it were to be jacked up and reclad with red bricks and rusty corrugated iron. This would give it a more typically Australian look,” Mombassa said.


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2013 Sydney New Year’s Eve is proudly sponsored by Citibank, Telstra, 2DayFM, APN Outdoor, News Ltd, Production Resource Group, Technical Direction Co, Action Sound, Carlton & United Brewery, Coca-Cola Amatil, Heir of The Dog, Imagination, Interface Flooring, Scarborough Wine Co, The P.A. People, Australian Navy, NSW Maritime & RMS, Office of Environment & Heritage, Royal Botanic Trust, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Ports.

For media enquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus, phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on 0477 310 149 or email

     The 2013 Sydney New Year’s Eve charity partner is   Engineers Without Borders Australia, a member-based not-for-profit   organisation with 10-years-experience in creating systemic change through   humanitarian engineering by:

  •   Working   in partnership to address a lack of access to basic human needs such as clean   water, sanitation and hygiene, energy, basic infrastructure, waste systems,   information communication technology and engineering education;
  •   Educating and training Australian   students, engineers and the wider community on issues including sustainable   development, appropriate technology, poverty and the power of humanitarian   engineering; and
  •   Leading a movement of like-minded   people with strong values and a passion for humanitarian engineering within   Australia and overseas.