Year of the Dog festivities unleash fun across Sydney

Year of the Dog festivities unleash fun across Sydney

Sydneysiders are in for a series of treats this Lunar New Year, as Sydney’s 2018 Chinese New Year Festival celebrates one of the community’s best friends.

From 16 February to 4 March, people and four footed friends alike can immerse themselves in the wonder and excitement of the Year of the Dog, with a number of experiences on offer to connect with canines across history and culture.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Lunar New Year festivities were a spectacular way to celebrate Sydney’s rich Asian heritage.

“The mix of traditional and contemporary dog-themed events in this year’s program will be a delight for Sydneysiders of all ages,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Our residents can celebrate the Year of the Dog by getting their pets microchipped free of charge, and collect a free engraved pet tag.”

Chinese New Year Festival dog event highlights include:

The Yin and Yang of the Dog

When: Saturday 17 February, 2:30pm–4pm
Where: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
What: Explore the meaning of ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ with the Chinese Heritage Association of Australia’s illustrated talk on the 11th sign of the Chinese zodiac. Former vice president of the Association, Marilyn Sue Dooley, uses her Irish-Chinese heritage and visual production experience to take visitors on a journey through the history and folklore of dogs, from temple guardians and cultural icons, to the stories behind canines in the Chinese zodiac.

Cost: $15 General tickets

A Dog’s Life

When: Saturday 17 February–Saturday 3 March, 11am–6pm
Where: Robin Gibson Gallery, 278 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst

What: Doggie sculptures, ceramics and portraits will be on exhibition at the Robin Gibson Gallery to celebrate Chinese New Year. Created by artists, including Sculpture By The Sea’s Geoff Harvey, visitors can view a series of acclaimed dog sculptures and portrait paintings and develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the Chinese zodiac with this quirky twist on canine art.

Cost: Free

Paws and Claws! Family Fun Day

When: Sunday 4 March, 11am–4pm
Where: Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Sydney
What: The magic of the Lunar New Year of the Dog will transform the Australian National Maritime Museum into a roaming ground for a (suited) polar bear, traditional lion dancers and resident canine, Bailey.

Parents and children will be enchanted by a collection of animal stories and circus shows inspired by the Museum’s current exhibitions. Paws and Claws is an engaging and educational experience for the whole family that also includes dress-ups, crafts, games and Mandarin tours of the galleries.

Cost: $8 adult, $6 child

Year of the Dog Fair Day


When: Saturday 24 February, 10am–2pm
Where: Joynton Park, Zetland
What: Sydneysiders and their dogs can enjoy a host of events and activities together at the dog fair day. Highlights include dog agility demonstrations, vet talks and an advice booth, a doggie fashion show, treasure hunt, polaroid photobooth, Chinese folk dancing and live story performances.

Local residents (with photo ID proof) can take advantage of the free microchipping service and pick up a free engraved pet tag. There will also be dog training, raffles and plenty of stalls offering a variety of doggie goodies.

Cost: Free

Guide Dog graduation ceremony

When: Saturday 17 February, 5:30pm–6:30pm
Where: First Fleet Park, George Street, The Rocks
What: After 2 years of intensive training, puppy preschoolers will graduate to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s latest recruits in this heart-warming ceremony. Be touched by stories of how Guide Dogs transform the mobility and freedom of Australians with impaired vision as the Guide Dog Class of 2018 walk the red carpet in their new harnesses.

Cost: Free

Guide Dogs Model Dog Art installation

When: Friday 16–Sunday 25 February, 9am–6pm
Where: Customs House and Scout Place, Alfred Street, Sydney
What: Since its establishment in 1957, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT have trained nearly 2,000 Guide Dogs and brought greater independence to the lives of close to 25,000 Australians in NSW and ACT.

Be part of the celebration of 60 years of service by visiting the 60 breathtaking sculptures modelled off the iconic life-sized Guide Dog donation boxes.

Channel your inner art critic by casting a gold coin in your favourite reimagined model dog, designed by international creative heavy-weights and local artists like Ken Done.

Bring home one of the limited pieces of this feel-good art installation in an online auction hosted on Guide Dog NSW/ACT’s official website after CNY.

Cost: Free

Guide Dogs Art Installation

Dog Lanterns at Chinatown

When: Friday 16 February–Sunday 4 March, all day
Where: Corner of Dixon Street and Little Hay Street, Haymarket
What: Witness the opposite natures of the yin and yang as you come face-to-face with the guardian dogs towering 3.8 meters over the entrance to Chinatown.

Shanghai artist Fan Dongwang designed the dogs in celebration of the joyous atmosphere of Chinese New Year.

Cost: Free

Animated Dog Lantern at the Opera House

When: Friday 16–Sunday 25 February, all day
Where: Sydney Opera House Western Boardwalk, Bennelong Point
What: You haven’t seen anything like the latest addition to Sydney’s internationally-renowned Lunar Lantern collection – the first installation to feature moving parts. Hold on to your jaw as China National Academy of Fine Arts alumni Song Ling’s breathtaking dog lantern towers over you in its bright floral vest and wagging tail.

An unmissable way to rejoice in the 2018 Lunar New Year of the Dog, this quirky canine will illuminate from dusk each day as part of the Lunar Lanterns exhibition.

Cost: Free

‘Roving Dogs’ Performers

When: Friday 16 February–18 February, 23 February-25 February, 5:30pm-8:30pm
Where: Circular Quay
What: For live interactive street theatre, keep an eye out for the litter of costumed puppy performers roving Circular Quay. Follow the dancers in this pop up parade around the Lunar Lanterns towards First Fleet Park, where the puppies will perform to your favourite dog tunes at the Lunar Spectacular Show at 7pm. Show some puppy love by taking a photo with these returning crowd favourites.

Cost: Free

Sydney Chinese New Year 2018 celebrations run from 16 February to 4 March. For more information see

For media enquiries or images, contact Senior Media Advisor, Elaine Kelly. Phone 0477 362 550 or email You can also contact Chinese New Year Media Officer, Lynda Gladwin on 02 9246 7356 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Anusha Muller. Phone 0408 494 545 or email