The region’s history and the indigenous community and culture will be recognised and celebrated as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations on the Wollongong foreshore from 5pm on December 31.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery OAM, NSW Police chief inspector Mark Walker, NSW Ambulance’s Norm Rees and representatives from council and event supporters Acorn Lawyers and South Coast BMW gathered at Wollongong Harbour on the first day of summer on Thursday to announce plans for New Year’s Eve.
The emphasis is again on it being a family-friendly alcohol free celebration with everything from live music to an African drumming workshop for kids to the traditional fireworks that are expected to be watched by 15,000 people.
New features this year include a new accessibility area in the Wollongong Harbour car park where people with a disability can be dropped off by car.
Boat owners in the harbour are also being encouraged to dress them up with LED lighting .
Cr Bradbery said the event was about celebration the past and the future.
“As part of our Illawarra 200 commemorations, historical multimedia presentations will be projected onto a large screen, illustrating the development of the area before a spectacular lighting and fireworks display lights up the sky and boats in the harbour from 9pm,” he said.
Cr Bradbery said the council was aware of the social and cultural benefits of marking the occasion together as a community.
Joe Pokoney, of Acorn Lawyers, said the Wollongong City Council annually put on a well organised New Year’s Eve event which was fitting for what is not only a city of innovation but a progressive city with so many cranes presently on the skyline.
“There are so many new and exciting facets of our community taking shape,” he said.
“We are very excited about 2017.”
Mr Pokoney said Acorn’s territory had expanded north to Sydney as well as down the South Coast since the firm was established six years ago.
But despite that it has proudly kept its home in Wollongong.
Chief inspector Mark Walker said NSW Police was encouraging everyone to have a fun and safe night out.
“It is a family friendly event so we won’t tolerate any drunken or anti-social behaviour,” chief inspector Walker said.
“New Year’s Eve does not give anyone a licence to intimidate, harass or offend others. It is also an alcohol-free-zone with police patrolling on foot, on bikes and also on the water. We encourage people who are coming down not to bring alcohol with them.”