By Kaori Takahashi, Bureau Chief for Nikkei Inc
On 31 December 2016, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority on behalf of the New South Wales government, welcomed around 12,000 people, including members of the FCA, at the sold-out New Year’s eve event at the Barangaroo reserve. FCA members had the best vantage point inside the headland park for the midnight fireworks.
The sloping lawns were swarming with people as soon as the gates were thrown open at 6 pm. I was struck by the level of security at the event. The visitors were organised into 10 orderly queues to pass through security checks, before entering the spectator area. Security guards requested us to empty all water bottles before entering. We were allowed to refill them only once inside the reserve.
Barangaroo Reserve is on the north-western waterfront of the Sydney CBD and is billed as the city`s newest entertainment and lifestyle hub, developed from humble beginnings as a container port in the 1970s. FCA members were taken on a tour of the reserve in 2015, when the space was still under construction. Now, green lawns and sandstones line the harbour side, and glossy commercial buildings, almost completed, stretch skyward.
While partygoers danced around us and families enjoyed harbour side entertainment and food stalls, we relaxed on a picnic blanket watching the year’s last sunset while waiting for the fireworks to begin. At the stroke of 12am, vibrant fireworks illuminated the city skyline, shooting upwards from the Harbour Bridge and high rise city buildings and raining down almost over our heads. We and our fellow spectators cheered and applauded through the 12-minute spectacle.
It was an amazing experience to herald the New Year from one of Sydney’s newest public gardens.