Australians have begun to say goodbye to a year many would prefer to forget when New Year's Eve celebrations are in full swing across the country in unprecedented circumstances – and hopefully never to be seen again.
A nation divided by coronavirus and arbitrary border closings is even more divided tonight as it welcomes 2021.
Australians, who normally flock to harbors, coasts, riversides, and beaches to enjoy million dollar fireworks, instead watched on TV from their living room, and few were lucky enough to get seats by the ring.
While Sydney's world-famous harbor and bridge exploded with seven-minute fireworks at midnight, the sky over Melbourne and Brisbane remained dark.
The harbor bridge, illuminated all night in a constellation of blue, pink, green, purple and yellow lights, almost gave the impression of another New Year's Eve celebration, with the exception of the "Help stop the spread" sign that hangs eerily Pylon.
While millions of people would have crowded around the spectacle in the past few years, this year only a few hundred who were lucky enough to get bookings in restaurants and pubs and clubs on the water or live nearby could experience it first hand.
While Sydney's world-famous harbor and bridge exploded with seven-minute fireworks at midnight, the sky over Melbourne and Brisbane remained dark
After a year of horror, the sky of Sydney was lit up with spectacular fireworks at midnight on New Year's Eve
Friends with prime views of Sydney Harbor Bridge prepare to say goodbye in 2020 and watch the seven-minute fireworks display
A couple pose in front of a 2021 sign in Sydney as the clock nears midnight on New Years Eve
The fireworks display was cut to just seven minutes this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
Melbourne residents are preparing to shout "Happy New Year" when 2021 rolls around the corner
A security guard patrols an almost empty forecourt of the Sydney Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations
Federation Square was much livelier on New Years Eve when Melbourne residents said goodbye to a year out of hell
A group of men are seen dancing during New Year's Eve celebrations in Melbourne after the city was in lockdown for more than three months in 2020
Australians used to be slow to arrive in Sydney's CBD for New Years Eve celebrations, despite an increase in coronavirus cases and severe restrictions – but the lack of night owls is unprecedented
Only residents and those who have already booked in restaurants and pubs will be allowed into the restricted zone around Sydney's foreshore – in contrast to the large crowds of previous years
A well-dressed couple set off for the night in Sydney's business district. Celebrations across Australia have been halted due to the virus
Police patrol an eerily quiet circular quay on New Year's Eve as Sydneysiders are told to watch the midnight fireworks from home
Sydneysiders hit the city to celebrate the end of a horror year that began with deadly bushfires and a global pandemic that is still wreaking havoc across the country
A group of friends dressed in sombreros are heading to Sydney's city for goodbye in 2020 – but they won't have much company
A Melbourne couple celebrate the end of the year in style as millions across the country celebrate at home
Couples and singles made their way to Australia, and many tried to end the horror year on a high note
If they're not quarantined, forced into self-isolation, or locked up, they could be on their worst New Year's Eve.
Kissing was forbidden. Singing discouraged. And what about dancing? Only with social distancing.
If they were lucky enough to be in a part of the country that escaped the pandemic relatively unscathed, most likely they were still separated from family and friends.
Perth, Darwin and Hobart stuck to their traditional New Year's Eve program with fireworks exploding from 9:30 p.m.
Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide have canceled their ads to avoid large-scale accumulation and transmission of the virus by the community.
Sydney's world-famous fireworks spectacle, which cost 6.5 million US dollars last year and was threatened by bush fires, has been reduced to just seven minutes.
But even when the display was basically cut in half, eager Sydney siders rushed in for the best view while the Opera Bar filled quickly.
A year that started with fires ended with rain in the port city as wet weather added to the disappointment of locals.
The foreshore and CBD, which is usually inundated by a million night owls who would have waited for hours to secure a prime position, have been turned into a fortress.
NSW police patrol Circular Quay Thursday night. NSW recorded ten new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday
Guests line up at a venue on Circular Quay on Thursday evening. Only those with bookings and a valid permit are allowed in large parts of the CBD
Many brave Melbourne's cold and wet weather to celebrate the end of 2020
This year's New Years Eve celebrations will be like no other, with police patrolling the CBD to enforce tough restrictions
Australians are preparing to say goodbye to 2020 when New Years Day is around the corner
Some night owls get a head start on the New Year celebrations and enjoy a glass of champagne before the sun goes down
Police officers will be in full force Thursday night to ensure that those partying at the CBD have valid permits
Guests enjoy a meal in the sun setting in Sydney as Australians across the country prepare for a New Year's Eve like no other
In Melbourne, road closures can be seen on New Year's Eve, where residents are only allowed into the CBD if they have restaurant bookings
Some Victorians celebrated the end of the year on boats while sipping champagne and other alcohol
Many Melbourne residents were happy to have an excuse to dress up after spending more than three months in their homes during the lockdown
Unfortunately for those in Melbourne, the fireworks display for this year's end-of-year celebrations has been canceled
The Sydney Opera Bar was full of eager night owls ready to greet the New Year in style
A man and child pose in front of a 2021 sign with families and friends across Australia, celebrating the end of a shocking year
A street performer brings out some tunes for Melbourne residents on New Year's Eve
Only residents and people with existing bookings in restaurants and pubs were allowed into the restricted area with a permit, but the venues were affected by mass cancellations.
Lookout points over the harbor were closed to the public with fences and signage that turned away potential visitors for the first time.
"Because of Covid-19, we're celebrating New Year's Eve a little differently this year," says a sign. & # 39; To ensure public safety, this park is closed to the public. "The police will be patrolling the area to make sure there is no unauthorized entry."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian ordered locals to watch the fireworks display on their televisions at home to avoid social mingling in a new coronavirus outbreak.
Ms. Berejiklian urged party-goers to be sensible, avoid large gatherings, and shut their lips with strangers.
“When the clock runs to midnight on December 31st, January 1st, I know that this is usually an emotional time when we all enjoy kissing and hugging around us. Can I ask for absolute restraint? Asked Mrs. Berejiklian.
Two friends celebrate the end of 2020 with a few drinks in Melbourne. A new set of cases has emerged in town
Melbourne was much busier than Sydney on New Years Eve, and many dressed to go to nightclubs and other venues
Melbourne residents were desperate to celebrate the end of 2020 after suffering a deadly coronavirus outbreak that left them under strict lockdown
There were huge queues in Melbourne nightclubs on Thursday evening as many try to forget the terrible 2020
Friends snap photos of each other Thursday night in Melbourne after dressing up for the New Year
Other residents approached the New Year more relaxed as a Melbourne couple lay on the artificial turf in Federation Square
Two young women laugh together as the evening continues in Melbourne. Melbourne is one of many cities that have been forced to cancel fireworks
Other groups of friends in Melbourne celebrated the end of the year on boats
The Victorians looked forward to a night of celebration on New Year's Eve
However, household parties in the greater Sydney area, including Wollongong, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains, were limited to just five visitors – including children – while outdoor gatherings were reduced from 50 to 30 people.
"We don't want New Year's Eve to be the cause of a super spreader," said Ms. Berejiklian.
The fireworks on Sydney Harbor will illuminate a sky that normally explodes with light from Manly in the north to Coogee in the east and the western suburbs.
Liverpool to the west will be the only other parish to set off fireworks after Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Penrith canceled their exhibitions.
The fireworks on Sydney Harbor have been scaled down, the 9pm rate has been canceled and the main display has been shortened to just seven minutes.
Brisbane's South Bank, which is usually packed with up to 100,000 people on New Years Eve, will remain open, but the river fireworks will be canceled.
Instead, Queenslanders host larger house parties with up to 50 people in one house and 100 people in public spaces.
However, Jeannette Young, chief health officer, said night owls should avoid the traditional midnight spash.
"I would suggest that you limit this to your known close friends and family, rather than randomly kissing and cuddling strangers who may be in your circle," she said
On New Year's Eve, people line up to get to the Billboard nightclub in Melbourne
Event staff scan guests' tickets in Circular Quay on New Year's Eve – while many follow government advice and stay at home
Young men and women wearing face masks stand outside restaurants in Melbourne Thursday night
Melbourne residents are scattered around Federation Square on Thursday evening to welcome the New Year
A couple cling to each other as they head into town in Melbourne to bid farewell to a challenging year
A group of friends in face masks say goodbye to the end of 2020 in Melbourne on Thursday
Only a handful of boats were seen scattered across Sydney's harbor on Thursday evening to celebrate New Years Eve
Household parties were limited to just five people in the greater Sydney area – including Wollongong, Central Coast, and the Blue Mountains – while outdoor gatherings were reduced from 50 to 30 people
Masks have become this year's accessory as the world stalled during the coronavirus pandemic (couple pictured in Sydney celebrating NYE)
Two women show their ID to a security guard to celebrate the end of the year in Sydney's business district
A Melbourne musician is seen serenading diners outside a popular restaurant on New Years Eve. The city was forced to put out its fireworks
Melburnians say goodbye to a horror year in which they were locked up for more than 100 days
Families and friends meet in Melbourne on New Year's Eve. Residents can only enter the city's business district if they have booked a restaurant
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