Brochure and card, 'Plan it right for party night', paper / card, made by NSW Government, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1999
This brochure and card help to document how a typical Sydney couple marked the beginning of the year 2000. On New Year's Eve 1999 the donors found a spot on a mound of lawn at Shore School in North Sydney, with a good view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There they waited for the fireworks to begin and, equipped with party hats, hooters and a disposable camera, joined in the New Year's celebrations.
Many believed that 31 December 1999 was the eve of the new millennium. In public discussion and in the media, it was regarded as the appropriate date for a massive party. In popular culture, this night had been anticipated for years, inspired perhaps by Prince's 1982 hit song '1999', with its refrain of 'Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999'. Television networks jostled to cover the New Year's Eve fireworks over Sydney Harbour.
In the lead-up to New Year's Day 2000, there was much discussion about the potential damaging effects of the Y2K millennium bug on information technology systems and on electronic equipment with embedded software that might fail to recognise a date beyond 31 December 1999. On New Year's Eve the city's underground train stations were closed between 11.45 pm and 1.15 am, as a safety measure in the event of Y2K problems. These fears helped to convince people that this date was indeed the end of the millennium.
Wellington notwithstanding, Sydney was touted overseas as the world's first capital city to see in the new millennium. This was an opportunity to showcase the city's attractions to a worldwide television audience just months before the Sydney Olympic Games. New South Wales Government authorities prepared for 1.2 million people to congregate around the Sydney Harbour foreshores to watch the fireworks and entertainment. The Premier, Bob Carr, set up the New Year's Eve 1999 Government Co-ordination Committee, chaired by the Director-General of the Premier's Department, Dr Col Gellatly.
Sydney City Council developed a program of free events that included a Millennium for Kids concert in the Domain from 4:30 pm. There were several alcohol-restricted zones, including national parks, Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Sydney Opera House. The Lord Mayor's Mask Party at the Sydney Opera House was broadcast around the world as a feature of Australia's celebrations. The Opera House also had the House Party, a free event for 5000 ticket holders on the forecourt, and specially commissioned performances on the building's sails. The pop singer Vanessa Amorosi performed at both the Sydney Opera House and at Darling Harbour. The City of Sydney's celebrations included a floating display of illuminated sea creatures. As per usual on New Year's Eve, there were fireworks displays on the harbour at 9pm and at midnight, when the Harbour Bridge came alight with Arthur Stace's one-word copperplate sermon, 'Eternity'.
Produced by the NSW Government's New Year's Eve 1999 Government Co-ordination Committee and NSW Health.