Several hugely popular annual Australia Day activities on Sydney Harbour will not take place this year thanks to the pandemic, but there will be a concert at the Opera House.
Several hugely popular annual Australia Day activities on Sydney Harbour will not take place this year thanks to the pandemic, but there will be a concert at the Opera House.

What you can and can't do on Australia Day

Australia Day fireworks will proceed as normal this year but daytime harbour activities including the regular Ferrython have been canned in a bid to make the holiday COVID safe.

While activities including a tall ships race and a harbour boat parade will not go ahead, "Invasion Day" protesters have insisted their gatherings will proceed despite a cap of 500 people.

An Australia Day Concert at the forecourt at Opera House will start at 7.30pm with a reduced capacity crowd followed by fireworks at 9pm.

The concert will feature performances by Delta Goodrem and Casey Donovan and it will be dedicated to frontline workers who will be offered first dibs on tickets when they come available.

 

Kari singers perform in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House to promote the Australia Day concert. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
Kari singers perform in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House to promote the Australia Day concert. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

 

Music superstar Delta Goodrem will be part of the concert. Picture: Richard Dobson
Music superstar Delta Goodrem will be part of the concert. Picture: Richard Dobson

 

Casey Donovan will also perform.
Casey Donovan will also perform.

 

Australia Day Council of NSW chair Andrew Parker urged people around the state to stay local and watch the fireworks from the comfort of their lounge room.

"The traditional and iconic Sydney Harbour daytime program will not be taking place this year, this includes the Ferrython, the tall ships race, the harbour parade, the tug and yacht ballet," Mr Parker said.

The daytime activities were scrapped because of NSW Health advice but fireworks will go ahead so people can still celebrate the day television.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres urged Australia Day protesters planning an "Invasion Day" rally at 9am in the Domain to adhere to regulations and follow the ministerial health orders which restricts protests to 500 people.

 

The traditional Australia Day tall ships race will not happen this year. Picture: AAP Image/Steven Saphore
The traditional Australia Day tall ships race will not happen this year. Picture: AAP Image/Steven Saphore

 

The ferrython is also off. Picture: AAP Image/ Dan Himbrechts
The ferrython is also off. Picture: AAP Image/ Dan Himbrechts

 

"We're encouraging people to celebrate Australia Day in a COVID safe way, we always recognise the opportunity for Australia to be a nation that celebrates free speech but we ask you to follow the public health orders that are in place, respect that people are celebrating a fantastic nation," he said.

"This is an unusual year in 2021 … please take into account your safety, your family's safety, and the community's safety.

"Don't do anything that's stupid, don't do anything that breaches those public health orders, they are in place to protect you and the community."

 

NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres announces the line-up for this year’s Australia Day festivities. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres announces the line-up for this year’s Australia Day festivities. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

 

But his warning has not deterred rally organiser Elizabeth Jarrett from the Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Dunghutti areas in northern NSW who said she would not halt her protest in light of the restrictions.

"Unlike COVID, the virus of colonial racism that came to these lands in 1788 cannot be defeated by self-isolation or quarantine. We need to come together and fight back," she said.

"Throughout the pandemic our people are still being locked up and killed and our children are being taken at ever increasing rates. We will not stop until our sovereignty is recognised and we see justice".

Originally published as COVID kills off traditional Australia Day activities


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