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Uniquely Aussie icons inspire Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks

Sydney artist Benja Mediares with his 3D handmade model which has been used to guide the vision for the Sydney NYE fireworks.
Sydney artist Benja Mediares with his 3D handmade model which has been used to guide the vision for the Sydney NYE fireworks.

Image courtesy City of Sydney

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On the 31st of December Australia's iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge will ring in the new year with a colourful kaleidoscope of 20,000 fireworks and 2,400 lighting effects to wow the one million spectators along the harbour foreshore.

This year a colourful paper artwork by Surry Hills artist and paper engineer Benja Harney is the inspiration for the 2017 New Year’s Eve theme 'Welcome to SydNYE'.

Artwork
The handmade 3D model by Surry Hills artist and paper engineer Benja Harney which inspired the lighting effects and fireworks at the Sydney NYE celebrations.

Image courtesy City of Sydney.

Benja handmade a 3D model which has been used to guide the vision for the lighting effects, fireworks and projections that will be enjoyed by a billion people around the world who will see the final result at midnight.

Making the artwork took more than 600 hours, with every sheet of paper cut by hand.

Here is the significance behind some of this iconography used in the artwork, and what they mean to Australian culture:

Australian wattle

A wattle in flower
Wattles and other flowering plants may not always be the cause of hayfever.

HerPhotographer/Flickr CC BY

The wattle, or Acacia pycnantha as its scientifically known, is Australia's official floral emblem.

The beautiful flower species was officially made the country's emblem on the 1st of September 1988, even though it had been the unofficial floral emblem of Australia for many years.

There are 1,064 different species of wattles in Australia, and nearly all of these only grow in Australia.

We love this flower so much we even have a National Wattle Day, which occurs each year on the 1st of September.

Echidna

Perth Zoo puggle
A baby echidna is known as a puggle. This puggle was born at Perth zoo.

Supplied: Perth Zoo

Echidnas are unique to Australia, and resemble a porcupine or hedgehog.

They are special because they are classed as monotremes, which are mammals that lay eggs. The only surviving monotremes in the world exist in Australia and New Guinea.

Echidnas have no teeth, and use their long tongue to collect termites, ants and beetle larvae to eat.

The spikey animal looks vicious when its spines are out in full force, but it is shy and would rather curl into a ball when it is scared than fight off predators like dingoes or large birds.

Found all throughout Australia, the echidna has the widest distribution of any native Australian mammal.

Waratah

Waratah
Gibraltar Waratah Telopea aspera glows like a beacon in the bush of the Gibraltar Range every November.

ABC Open: Origma 

This bright red flower is the New South Wales state floral emblem, and is native to parts of south-east Australia.

Because of its unique colour and distinctiveness it is found in many decorative arts across Australia, including in the magnificent stained glass windows at Sydney's Town Hall.

The NSW Rugby Union team is named after the waratah, incorporating the flower in their emblem, and many government authorities and community groups in NSW use the waratah in their insignia.

Coral

A coral reef in the Lord Howe Island lagoon shows moderate bleaching
A coral reef in the Lord Howe Island lagoon shows moderate bleaching in 2010.

Peter Harrison: Southern Cross University

The state of Queensland has the world's largest coral reef, known as the Great Barrier Reef.

It contains a large variety marine life with over 3,000 individual reef systems, coral cays and hundreds of picturesque tropical islands.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Stretching 2,300 kilometres, this Australian icon is so vast it can even be seen from space.

Because of its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of Australia's most famous tourist destinations. Visitors can go snorkelling, scuba diving, or take glass-bottomed boats to view the amazing coral on display.

Thongs

Thong handbag and platform shoes from the 1994 movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Thong handbag and platform shoes from the 1994 movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on display at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

Priscilla costumes, by Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel. Copyright Latent Image Productions, Specific Films Courtesy of the NFSA

No, there will not be underwear on public display during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney.

In Australia we know them as thongs, but the rest of the world call them flip-flops. Except for in New Zealand, where they are called jandals.

The rubber-soled sandals provide the perfect protection from walking across scorching hot sand at the beach on a summer's day.

Most people have at least one pair in their closet and they can be worn almost anywhere other than fancy restaurants.

Ice-creams

Five-year-old Patrick Hoare, from Durong, enjoys an ice cream at the Burrandowan Picnic Races.
Five-year-old Patrick Hoare, from Durong, enjoys an ice cream at the Burrandowan Picnic Races, west of Kingaroy in south east Queensland, May 10, 2014.

ABC News: Giulio Saggin

What better way to enjoy an Australian summer than to gulp down a delicious ice cream?

Almost part of a staple diet, adults and children alike go in search of the hand-held dessert when the temperatures start to rise. The challenge lies in trying not to let it drip too much down your arm as it begins melting in the sun. It's also part of the fun.

Ice-creams can be bought almost anywhere in Australia, from supermarkets to petrol stations, and have a price range just as varied.

Mosquito

Mosquito biting human skin.
Mosquito biting human skin.

ABC TV News - file image

It wouldn't be an Aussie summer without mosquitoes.

The insect is often nothing more than an annoyance around dawn and dusk or near stagnant bodies of water, however in the more northern parts of Queensland a bite can lead to dengue or Ross River virus.

Your best bet to avoid these vampire-esque bugs is to spray yourself with mosquito repellent containing DEET, wear long loose clothing, and use a mosquito net if camping in northern parts of Australia.

Fireworks
The 2015 New Year's Eve fireworks display in Sydney.

Image courtesy City of Sydney.

Australia Plus TV will be broadcasting the Sydney Family fireworks display live at 8.59pm AEDT and 5.59pm in Hong Kong (subject to change), and the Midnight NYE Fireworks display at 11.59pm AEDT and 8.59pm in Hong Kong.

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