Party like it’s 1899

Sydneysiders love a party. Especially in summer.

In recent years, New Year’s Eve has become a huge celebration, complete with a theme, massive fireworks, music, and even an iPhone App.

But this is not new. Hannah Forsyth‘s article, newly published in the Dictionary, shows how people have been celebrating the New Year for many decades, from New Year’s Day celebrations in the nineteenth century, to the nocturnal revels which were enabled by reliable, bright lighting in the streets.

George Street, near the markets, on New Year's Eve 31 December 1878 Australian Town and Country Journal, 4 January 1879, p 24

For much of the twentieth century, the focus of New Year’s Eve was Kings Cross, with ongoing conflict between revellers and police trying to maintain decorum. It wasn’t until the fireworks shifted the public gaze to the harbour that Kings Cross quietened down on 31 December.

Have a great night, and stay safe.

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About Emma Grahame

Emma Grahame has been Editorial Coordinator of the Dictionary of Sydney since May 2007.
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