Eats, shoots (video) and leaves TEENAGE DREAM: George the wombat being held by Katy Perry on the set of Sunrise in July, 2017. Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park
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Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

TweetFacebookWORLD-FAMOUS wombat “George” from the Australian Reptile Park at Somersby is set to be released back into the wild.

The prolific marsupial came to fame earlier this year after videos of his activities went viral online.

He was brought into the park’s care in late 2016 after being found by a passing motorist in the pouch of his deceased mother, who had been hit by a car.

From then, George was taken under the care of general manager Tim Faulkner who became his new “fill-in family” and provided the resources the tiny wombat needed.

Read more:A new video has been released for George’s first birthday

“We are going to miss George so much but he is now ready for release,” Mr Faulkner said.

“George has always been so adorable in the eyes of staff at The Australian Reptile Park, so it was fantastic that the rest of the world also saw him as we do.

“We are sending him to Cedar Creek Wombat Sanctuary to run free and make lots of wombat friends.”

Named “Australia’s Most Adorable Animal” in September after he won an online poll run by Experience OZ, George’s profile received a huge lift midway through the year when he was nervously held by popular American singer Katy Perry on the set of Sydney breakfast program Sunrise.

The summer holidays will be the last chance to see the cuddly creature in the Reptile Park’s wombat enclosure before he is released in mid-January.

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The cost of living is forever creeping up, and pay rises, if you’re lucky enough to get one at all, are typically underwhelming. So how can you get some extra dollars coming in the door? Perhaps a side hustle is your solution.
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What we are talking about here is something that you do outside of your normal method of earning a living, and which produces additional income.

Research undertaken by Manpower Group highlighted how the side hustle concept linked to the idea of the ‘gig economy’, finding that two out of five Australian Millennials preferred to work a number of part-time jobs, rather a single, Monday to Friday, 9-5 job. A study in the US found that 28 per cent of those aged between 18 and 26 were working on an income-generating side project – or side hustle. Of those, almost all worked in the side hustle at least once a month, and one in four said they earned more than $US500 ($646) a month.

One aspect of the side hustle concept that I really like is that it enables you to give things a try, to experiment. To test ideas and see if real people are willing to part with their hard-earned cash for your idea.

A popular entrepreneurial process is the Lean Start-Up methodology. A key concept in this process is how many cycles you can go through of putting an idea out in the world, obtaining real customer feedback, tweaking your offer based on that feedback, and going back out to market again. The more times you can run through that cycle, the greater the likelihood you will find a sustainable business that you can grow. Working through those iterations as a side hustle can be fantastic, because you’re not relying on the new venture to put food on the table or a roof over your head. You can experiment and discover, and if those experiments don’t play out as you’d hope, you can live to fight another day.

So how might you get started on your side hustle journey?

There are two mostly likely paths you could go down to find a side hustle that works for you. One is to think about your hobbies and passions. Is there scope to turn a dollar doing something in that space?

The other avenue is to consider what skills you have, and whether you can monetise those skills outside of your regular job.

So on the hobbies front, let’s say you love playing the guitar. Could you pick up some work in a cover band on the weekend? Or provide guitar lessons? Maybe you could create an online course on learning the guitar, or tuning a guitar, or whatever. Perhaps you could import guitars and sell them on eBay or Amazon.

Earning money in a space that you love and are passionate about might be fantastically liberating. Chances are you have a community already around you who share your interest that could be an incredibly useful sounding board for your plans, and perhaps even customers one day.

Then what about turning your skills into some extra cash? This is perhaps where the internet has provided the most liberation. If you have design skills, for instance, you could pick up work at 99 designs, AirTasker, Freelancer and no doubt plenty more. Of course, in the case of AirTasker and Freelancer, there are opportunities for those with plenty of other skills too – from cleaning to web site design, there will be an avenue for you turn those skills you’ve acquired into extra money in your pocket.

Perhaps your skills point to selling a particular product that you know a lot about. Market-places such as Amazon and Ebay can open up enormous opportunities. Fulfilment by Amazon is an opportunity of enormous magnitude. I know of someone who designed a bag to hold medical items for children, such as EpiPens, for instance. These bags could then be put in their school bag, or wherever they needed to go, and the parent could be confident everything that was needed was there, and there were instructions for carers, if required.

She gets these manufactured in China and ships them to the Amazon warehouse in the UK. She can then market the product throughout Europe on Amazon – more than 300 million potential customers – and anytime someone orders, Amazon takes care of the process from that point forward – picking the item, packaging it and getting it delivered. And she can manage the entire thing from her study at home in Melbourne. What an incredible age we live in!

A final point to note. It might be wise to consider whether what you are planning to do could conflict with your current employment. It may be a good idea to simply ask your employer, “do you see any problems with what I’m planning to do?” Who knows, they may even be able to flick some opportunities your way.

Paul Benson is a financial planner and creator of the podcast Financial Autonomy. [email protected]

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Sticky

Christmas Day at one family home in western Sydney this year was a flick of the wrist away from going horribly wrong, after a child found a sharp, rusty blade resembling “something from a prison”inside a bon-bon.
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The McNeilage family was sitting down to lunch at Northmead on Monday afternoon when 11-year-old Bobby alerted the adults to what he had discovered after ripping his bon-bon in half with his older brother.

Bobby McNeilage, 11, discovered the blade inside a bonbon purchased from Woolworths. Photo: Supplied

“I pulled it out and I tipped it upside down to get it out onto the table,” Bobby told Fairfax Media.”I noticed that it was a knife thing, so then I showed everybody else.”

The “knife thing” was a large, sharp, rusty blade, wrapped in tape at one end.Did it scare him? “Kinda.”

Bobby’s mother, Melissa McNeilage, said at first the family thought it was a prank. But when theyrealised the blade had come from inside the bon-bon, they were stunned.

The large rusty blade found inside the Christmas bon bon purchased from Woolworths. Photo: Amy McNeilage

“I was just shocked to think there was that in there, it’s a dangerous weapon,” she said.But the mother-of-fouradded that her biggest concern was what could have happened if the bon-bon had been pulled by a younger child, or if the blade had flown out and hit someone.

“How many times when you pull the toy open does something come flying out? If it flew out it could have been heaps worse,” she said.

“If it got into the wrong hands of a little kid, something drastic could have happened.It looked like something from a prison.”

Ms McNeilage,from Blacktown, said her sister, who was hosting Christmas this year, had purchased the “Woodland 6-pack” of bon-bons from Woolworths in Winston Hills. The product was manufactured in China.

“I don’t think [my sister] will be buying Woolworths bon-bons again after that. She felt bad that she’d put these bon-bons in front of my kids.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company and its suppliers “have a responsibility to provide high-quality products and services to our customers and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are investigating this incident as per our product safety incident protocol.”

Fairfax Media understands the individual who purchased the bon-bon has made a complaint to Woolworths and has not yetreceived a refund.

Erin Turner, director of campaigns and communications at CHOICE, said “ifyou cracked open a bon-bon and got an unwelcome surprise you have the right to a remedy, like a refund or replacement”.

But she also said it was”not good enough” that the law only requires companies to act aftersomething goes wrong.

“There isno general legal requirement for companies to make sure all products are safe before they hit the shelves,” she said.

“We’re calling on the federal government to pass a new law – a general safety provision – to stop dodgy items before they make it to Australian homes.”

“Such a provision would mean a big company like Woolworths would have to do basic checks to make sure that what they are selling won’t harm their customers.

“These laws are already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada – it makes sense for Australian consumers to have the same level of protections.”

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To say fishing has been busy over the Christmas break would be the understatement of the year, according to Brent“Hammer” Hancock from Tackle World Port Stephens.
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FISH OF THE WEEK: Todd Graham wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 119cm, 15kg jew caught off Stockton Beach this week.

The holiday masses are in full swing along Hunter waters and Brent says they’ve been enjoying the best of weather and catches.

“We’ve been run off our feet, but there’s been really good reports,” said Hammer, who reportedly fell asleep on the in-laws couch on Christmas Day.

(Experts are still trying to determine if that was because he’d been working to hard, or had eaten too much turkey.)

“In the bay we’ve seenplenty of bonito and tailor turn up,especially on the incoming tide, anywhere from the Anchorage to the breakwall at Nelson Bay marina.

“Plenty of surface activity, with fish really responding to small metal lures.

“Bread and butter species like whiting and bream are about in abundance on the sandflats and along the beaches.

“We can’t keep enough tube worms in stock.

“Been a few blue swimmers about too, which has been good.”

Branching outOne of Hammer’s hitmen at Tackle World Port Stephens, Paul“Ringo” Lennon, has ventured out into the fishing charter business.

His operation is calledFish Port Stephens Estuary Charter Services and has been booked solid over the Christmas New Year period as anglers cash in on Paul’s local knowledge to track down among other species, some big kingies.

Visit梧桐夜网fishportstephensestuarycharters南京夜网for more info.

Meanwhile, Brad, from Pacific Charters, has been putting customers onto some great snapper, jew and trag around the local reefs like The V, and 21.

Big jewSpeaking of jew, a young Turk Hammer used to live next door to speared a 37kg mulloway last week on Broughton Island.

“It was a monster,” Hammer said. “He’s 19 years old now. Apparently he was diving for lobster and had the gun there when this fish turned up–got lucky I guess.”

Wide hopesOut wide there have a been a few striped and black marlin spotted and reports of a couple of big dolphin fish.

“Water has been a bit hit and miss but the good news is there is no current belting down the coast,” Hammer said.

“I’d almost call this a normal season.

“The last couple of years we’ve had that current raging south and impacting on game fishing, but this year, with no current, it’s reasonable to expect that as soon as the water temps get up, the bait will stack andit will be on.”

Beach bountyLocal beaches are firing for whiting, jew and bream.

Places like Birubi have been producing great sessions on live tube worms.

“Fish early and fish late for best holiday results,” Hammer advised.

Happy New YearThe fishing forecast for the New Year weekend is looking reasonably promising with a few showers predicted buthardly any wind.

“Mostly 10 knots all weekend,” Hammer noted.

“Saturday is shaping up well with a slight southerly change Sunday and then New Years Day looks great.”

Dad strikes backIt’s been a bumper year for the Graham family.

Nine-year-old Zander featured on this page in November, having shown up his dad Todd by catching two jew in one cast off Stocko. It led to a lament from dad along the lines of “took me 20 years to get my first jew and he gets two at once at age 9, the little bugger. LOL.”

As the Fish of the Week photo shows, the empire struck back this week, or rather big daddy Todd did, landing a 15kg bigger daddy mulloway off the beach.

“I caught this one on Tuesday night up Stockton beach. 15kg even and 119cm long (so close to 120cm though it’s not funny!),” he reported.

Holiday joyFive year old Harper Dryden landed a shovel nose shark at Nelson Bay that was nearly bigger than Dryden while fishing with grandad Paul Rowett. Young Dryden was pretty chuffed.

Lexi Bower of Bolton Point caught her first fish on the brand new fishing rod she got for Christmas –a beautiful 44cm flathead.

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To receive a plastic card (1 and 3 year fishing fees receipts only), you need to purchase or renew your fishing receipt via one of the electronic payment channels identified above. A list of all our current agents can be found on our website:https://goo.gl/HvBNyw.

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A YEAR ago, almost to the day, a friendI’ll call Beryl settled on her ambition for 2017.
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She’s a teacher. She’s not given to hyperbole or hysteria.

When people put together dinner party lists Beryl’s always there as the sensible one who won’t end up in a gutter, blotto, wailing about not being 23 anymore. She’s the one who brings the perfect salad, or the just-so trifle, and who never leaves a friend’s dinner partywithout cleaning the kitchen,taking out the garbage, and even sortingbottles and cans into the recycling bin.

Beryl’s dependable. If she says she’ll meet you at 5.30 in the morning for a run she’ll be there, always, even if her leg’s in a cast or she’s running a fever.

“A commitment’s a commitment,” she said one time when we met in a carpark at 5.30am and she was wearing an eye patch after a gardening incident too weird to go into (something about a stick, a spider web, some turps, a dark shed–in other words, very un-Beryl).

“If I say I’ll be here I’ll be here, and if I’m not, well, you know,” she said.

“What, you’ll be dead?” I said.

“Well, either that or unconscious, or something terrible,” she said.

“Good to know,” I said.

Anyway, a year ago Beryl announced that 2017 was the year she would commit to yoga. And in typical Beryl fashion that commitment came with a goal.

“My aim is to do the downward dog with my heels flat to the ground,” she said, before a demonstrationof how far she had to go. Her arms were nice and straight, her backwas flat, her backside was in line with her shoulders and her legs were not shaking, but her heels were centimetres from the ground.

“It’s hard. I’ve been trying for months but I’m asflexible as a house brick,” she said.

Now some people aim high at this time of year when they’re settling onnew year’s resolutions.

Quit smoking. Quit drinking. Quit binge-watching crap television series. Exercise at least three times a week. Spend more time with friends. Take up a hobby more serious than collecting pub coasters with the word“Beer” on them.

But Beryl, as I’ve mentioned, is one of those sensible people who goes for the vaguely achievable.

“If I can just do the downward dog without falling over or groaning I’ll be pleased, but heels flat to the ground is the goal,” she said.

It’s been a big year, 2017.

Donald Trump,Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un andRodrigo Duterte have slammed any romantic notions some of us might have had about human progress and the advance of civilisation back to earth with a thud.

There’s something about big, powerful men boasting about killing other people, or being able to kill other people without consequence, or sexually assaulting women, or laughing about the annihilation of millions, or appearing in too many photographs shirtless, that has you doubting whether we really have progressed very far from 1215, despite mobile phones andFacebook.

It’sthe year when we’vesadly achieved what politicians have always urged us to achieve after terrorist attacks–we’ve gone on with our lives.

Around the world thousands of people have died in terrorist attacks ranging from barely-reported single-person deaths following suicide attacks in countries like Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria, to the killing of more than 300 people in a mosque in November in Egypt’s worst terrorist incident, and the London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster attacks in England that left more than 30 people dead, including Australians. And life has gone on.

There have been many bright spots in 2017, even on those days where it’s felt like we’re only a Donald Trump tweet away from possible nuclear armageddon, or a Kim Jong-un ego trip from some other kind of military meltdown.

Australia has provided more proof of comedian John Oliver’s assessment that we’re not only home to Russell Crowe, but we are the Russell Crowe of countries.

How else to explain the world’s dumbest constitutional crisis?

Only in Australia could a pile of politicians solemnly swear they were Australianonly to find, one by one, that they actually weren’t.

Only in Australia could the party leader who notoriously threatened to kill a couple of fluffy dogs for being in the country illegally, end up out of parliament himself –if too briefly –because he was actually a New Zealander.

Only in Australia could pollies turn their sloppy paperwork into a political bun-fight without apologising to the millions of Australians routinely threatened with severe penalties if they stuff up on the paperwork for their welfare benefits ortax returns.

And only in Australia could normal, sensible Australians –more than 80 per cent of us –turn a potential disaster like the politically-contrived same sex marriage postal survey into a triumph for democracy, at a time when democracy itself seems under challenge in too many parts of the world.

My friend Beryl tried to do a downward dog with her heels on the ground on Thursday, to show the fruits of a year’s worth of yoga classes.

“So close,” I said, as she grunted and strained to push her heels to the ground while her legs stubbornly refused to cede another millimetre of flexibility.

She’ll keep trying.

And I’ll try to achieve my achievable goals in 2018 –planting out an area of my back garden, resuming a project of taking a substantial walk in each of this state’s national parks, and reading more.

As Beryl said when she’d grunted her way to a standing position on Thursday morning, her heels-fully-down-downward-dog still a goal, “There’s always next year.”

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Christmas Day at one family home in western Sydney this year was a flick of the wrist away from going horribly wrong, after a child found a sharp, rusty blade resembling “something from a prison” inside a bon-bon.
Nanjing Night Net

The McNeilage family was sitting down to lunch at Northmead on Monday afternoon when 11-year-old Bobby alerted the adults to what he had discovered after ripping his bon-bon in half with his older brother.

“I pulled it out and I tipped it upside down to get it out onto the table,” Bobby told Fairfax Media. “I noticed that it was a knife thing, so then I showed everybody else.”

The “knife thing” was a large, sharp, rusty blade, wrapped in tape at one end. Did it scare him? “Kinda.”

Bobby’s mother, Melissa McNeilage, said at first the family thought it was a prank. But when they realised the blade had come from inside the bon-bon, they were stunned.

“I was just shocked to think there was that in there, it’s a dangerous weapon,” she said. But the mother-of-four added that her biggest concern was what could have happened if the bon-bon had been pulled by a younger child, or if the blade had flown out and hit someone.

“How many times when you pull the toy open does something come flying out? If it flew out it could have been heaps worse,” she said.

“If it got into the wrong hands of a little kid, something drastic could have happened. It looked like something from a prison.”

Ms McNeilage, from Blacktown, said her sister, who was hosting Christmas this year, had purchased the “Woodland 6-pack” of bon-bons from Woolworths in Winston Hills. The product was manufactured in China.

“I don’t think [my sister] will be buying Woolworths bon-bons again after that. She felt bad that she’d put these bon-bons in front of my kids.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company and its suppliers “have a responsibility to provide high-quality products and services to our customers and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are investigating this incident as per our product safety incident protocol.”

“The customer has been contacted and has been provided with a refund in the form of a gift card that has been issued out to her.”

Erin Turner, director of campaigns and communications at CHOICE, said “if you cracked open a bon-bon and got an unwelcome surprise you have the right to a remedy, like a refund or replacement”.

But she also said it was “not good enough” that the law only requires companies to act after something goes wrong.

“There is no general legal requirement for companies to make sure all products are safe before they hit the shelves,” she said.

“We’re calling on the federal government to pass a new law – a general safety provision – to stop dodgy items before they make it to Australian homes.”

“Such a provision would mean a big company like Woolworths would have to do basic checks to make sure that what they are selling won’t harm their customers.

“These laws are already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada – it makes sense for Australian consumers to have the same level of protections.”

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Jarryd Hayne quietly slipped back into Sydney on Thursday morning, a week after travelling to Israel for the second time in a month.
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The 29-year-old had previously been to Jerusalem and to the Jordan River before returning to Sydney for his daughter’s birthday – but jetted out of Sydney again just before Christmas, and landed in Tel Aviv a week ago.

But just as he ignored questions from a reporter in Israel last week, Hayne remained silent as he made his way quickly through Kingsford-Smith Airport and into a waiting car.

Hayne will be grilled by the NRL’s integrity unit over an alleged 2015 rape, when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League. Police in the US refused to press charges because there was insufficient evidence, but the plaintiff, known only as ‘Ms V’, is pursuing a civil suit against the former running back.

A usually prolific social media user, Hayne has not posted on his Twitter or Instagram accounts since the case came to light on December 20, and has not used his Facebook account since November, when it was announced he was leaving the Gold Coast Titans to return to the Parramatta Eels.

The only statement on the case has come through his legal representative, Ramy Qutami from Madison Marcus Law Firm, who said the two-time Dally M winner “unequivocally and vehemently” denied the claims.

“Mr Hayne and his management are aware of recent media speculation in relation to a civil complaint filed in the United States of America making certain allegations in relation to an event which allegedly occurred in 2015 whilst playing for the San Francisco 49ers,” Mr Qutami said.

“Mr Hayne has not been served with any proceedings or formal complaint relating to the incident.

“Mr Hayne previously addressed a complaint made to the District Attorney’s office in the County of Santa Clara, California in 2016 and the District Attorney did not proceed any further with the matter due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations. Mr Hayne provided all reasonable assistance to the District Attorney with that investigation.

“Mr Hayne unequivocally and vehemently denies the allegations which are the subject of the civil complaint. Mr Hayne will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter.”

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BLAZE: A fire rips through the industrial arts block at Hunter Sports High School at Gateshead on Wednesday night. Police are investigating the cause of the inferno. Picture: Michael Bell/Merewether fire stationPOLICE have not ruled out suspicious circumstances as the cause for a fire that destroyed a block of classrooms at Hunter Sports High School on Wednesday night.
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More than 50 firefighters raced to the Gateshead school shortly after 11pm.

But the single-storey building was already well-alight when firefighters arrived, sending a thick plume of smoke overLake Macquarie.

There were existing plans for the building to be demolished as part of the school’s $45 million redevelopment, but the damage bill was still estimated to be half a million dollars.

Firefighters brought the fire under control in about two hours after some initial difficulty in sourcing a water supply.

PrincipalRachel Byrne saidthe fire wiped out five industrial arts classrooms and a storeroom, which were still in use.

She said the building also housed expensive industrial arts equipment.

The school made contact with the Department of Education on Thursday and confirmed industrial arts classes would take place in demountable buildings in the new year, which were being arranged to replace the fire-ravaged building.

The new industrial arts block is expected to open late next year.

Firefighters were still on the scene on Thursday to guard against potential spot fires.

And security guards attached to the construction site remained on site.

Police said the cause for the fire was still undetermined, not yet rulingout suspicious circumstances, if only because the investigation had thus far failed to show otherwise.Authorities appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“Our investigation is still ongoing and we are chasing any information from the public as to how it occurred,” Lake Macquarie police Inspector SteveGallagher said.

“We would encourage anyone who can assist to come forward.”

The fire comes amid a substantial state government investment to rebuild the school.

At a site tour of the construction site in November, Education Minister Rob Stokes hailed the redevelopment as one of the biggest school upgrades in the state.

Mr Stokes said the reconstructionwas“a case study in complexity” and challenging for planners.

“Trying to keep a school operating in situ at the same time as building around it and all of the work place health and safety issues that need to be managed, it’s a case study in complexity and … an incredible logistical challenge,” he said.

The school moved to reassure parents classes would resume as normal at the end ofholidays.

Anyone with information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Fireworks crackdown ahead of New Year’s Eve CRACKDOWN: The 150kgs of fireworks seized in Sydney earlier this week. Picture: Supplied.
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TweetFacebookHunter fireworks’ enthusiasts are being advised of the dangers and illegality of the unapproved use of pyrotechnics on New Year’s Eve.

SafeWork NSW are encouranging people to stick to attending compliant and official displays, of which 211 have been approved across the state.

A fine of up to $27,500 and 12 months jail awaits anyone caught selling, purchasing or letting off fireworks without a licence.

Authorities seized close to 150kgs of fireworks from a property in Sydney’s north in recent days and initial inquries suggested they were going to be sold or used illegally.

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said the products are now being held while investigations continue.

“However, it serves as a timely warning for anyone using fireworks; these items are not toys,” Mr Kean said.

“In the wrong hands they can be very dangerous and capable of causing horrific injuries, including burns, loss of limbs, or even death.”

Last New Year’s Eve, a 52-year-old man tradgically lost his life after being hit in the head by an illegal firework on the state’s Central Coast.

Read more:Tributes flow for Barry ‘Baz’ Walsh, killed in New Year’s Eve fireworks accident

“That’s why fireworks should only be set off by trained and licensed individuals who know how to manage the risks and ensure everyone’s safety,” Mr Kean said.

“We want New Year’s Eve to be memorable for all the right reasons, not because a loved one was maimed through the illegal use of fireworks.

“My message is simple: if you’re thinking about buying or selling illegal fireworks this summer, you will be caught and you will face significant penalties.”

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Every year, locals and visitors flock to Sydney’s Harbour to celebrate the new year by watching one of the world’s most iconic fireworks displays.
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This year’s spectacle of colour and sound is dedicated to celebrating marriage equality, in light of Australia’s recent Yes vote outcome and the 40th anniversary of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2018.

Pet Shop Boys’ song ‘Go West’ will play as rainbow fireworks tumble from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Regardless of where you are in the city, here is where you can send off 2017 with a bang this new year’s eve: The City

Harbourside City Parks: Lay a picnic blanket at Embarkation Park, Potts Point (opens 6am), Pyrmont Bay Park, Pyrmont (opens 1:30pm), or Dawes Point (Tar-Ra) Park, The Rocks (opens 12:30pm) and watch the fireworks light up the sky at 9pm and midnight. While Observatory Hill Park may not boast waterside views, it offers good view of the western side of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and opens early at Noon. But if you were planning on toasting to 2017 with a glass of bubbly you may need to reconsider as alcohol is strictly prohibited at these locations. While BYO isn’t allowed at Pirrama Park, Pyrmont, drinks are available for purchase; plus, for Sydneysiders with accessibility needs, the park offers a designated accessible viewing area.

Inner-City vantage points: For those who can endure standing amongst the NYE crowds for several hours, claiming a spot at a harbourside vantage points provides the chance to witness the night’s most iconic event up close. The Sydney Opera House offers a popular vantage point with an accessible viewing area, but anyone hoping to make it in better get there early – gates open at 7:30am, and the venue reached capacity around lunchtime last year. East Circular Quay, West Circular Quay, Mrs Macquaries Point, The Rocks, and Campbells Cove all boast viewing areas and open at 9am, 12pm, 10am, Noon and 9:30am respectively. Families can enjoy some added festivities at Darling Harbour: from 7pm, patrons will enjoy a light show and party vibes, before watching the official fireworks. Much like at the parks, though, BYO alcohol is not allowed at any of these City of Sydney registered locations. Drinks will be available to purchase on site.

Pirrama Park: Not much for queuing? You can enjoy a guaranteed spot and two course meal from Jimmy Liks Catering – one of the instigators of Sydney’s modern Asian dining revolution – at Pirrama Park with this limited ticketed event. Join long-table dining or flop into a deckchair and enjoy the music and fireworks sound track from KISS 106.FM radio. Tickets are $176 (GST incl) for adults or $154 (GST incl) for kids, and include a glass of sparkling wine or soft drink. A cash bar means the drinks can keep flowing throughout the night.

The Royal Botanic Gardens: Ever wanted to soak up the Harbourside views at Sydney’s idyllic botanic gardens after closing hours? Well, you’ll have to act quickly because a few other thousand Sydneysiders do too apparently. Tickets have already sold out for three of the Royal Botanic Gardens’ NYE parties, but you can still step right up for Harbour Hoopla – an all-ages vintage circus-themed event. Along with partial views of Sydney Harbour, party-goers will enjoy a personal picnic box, live DJ and dance floor, performances and access to a cash bar. Tickets start at $325, making Harbour Hoopla one of the city’s pricier NYE options. The North

Aside from being home to a handful of very much-loved NYE viewing points, including Manns Point, Blues Point Reserve, Mary Booth Reserve (with a designated viewing area), North Head, Bradfield Park, and Cremorne Point, Sydney’s North Shore will also host some of the night’s hottest events, including several local beachfront fireworks displays.

Pittwater, Dee Why, and Manly Cove:Those who don’t feel like travelling to the city can still kick off their year with a bang. Northern Beaches Council, in partnership with local businesses, is hosting its own free fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight at Pittwater, Dee Why Beach, and Manly Cove. Alcohol is prohibited in these areas every night, and NYE is no different. Those planning on attending should be mindful of road closures and clearways surrounding each location.

Bradleys Head provides a great view of the fireworks. Photo: Janie Barrett

Bradleys Head: Starting at $17.43 a ticket, NYE celebrators can secure a spot atop Bradley’s Head in Sydney Harbour National Park – Athol Lawn. While the park’s tree canopy blocks some Harbour views from Athol Lawn, you can avoid the stress of finding and claiming your spot in one of the city’s open venues. Marketed as an “ideal family viewing area for the Sydney New Year’s Eve Fireworks”, alcohol and glass is strictly prohibited at Athol Lawn for the night and bags will be searched upon entry. Interested parties should get in quick – two other ticketed events at Bradley’s Head have already sold out. The East

Darling Point: Locals can head to McKell Park, Yarranabbe Park or Rushcutters Bay Park east of Sydney city to secure a spot overlooking the bay from noon. While the former two boast Harbour Bridge views, visitors to Rushcutters Bay Park will only be able to catch the fireworks once they hit the night sky due to limited city views. Alcohol prohibited.

Double Bay & Point Piper: Free entry starts at noon and 2pm for those hoping to nab a spot at Duff Reserve and Murray Rose Pool & Blackburn Gardens, respectively. The latter only offers glimpses of the harbour, but you can get a clear view of the bridge from Duff Reserve. Alcohol prohibited.

Rose Bay & Watsons Bay: Visitors can catch decent views of the Harbour Bridge from Rose Bay Foreshore, Dumaresq Reserve, and Robertson Park. Tickets are also still available for the Waverley Council’s family-friendly part at Dudley Page Reserve, Dover Heights. With tickets starting at $18.35, kids can take to the jumping castle, have their face painted, run around the playground, and dance as a DJ spins tracks. There will also be a licensed bar for parents and food stalls to suit everyone’s taste buds if you don’t feel like packing your own picnic.

Coogee: For anyone who thinks staying up until midnight is overrated, enjoy the 9pm family-friendly Coogee Sparkles NYE fireworks. Hosted by the Randwick City Council, members of the local community and visitors are invited to grab their picnic baskets, make a day of swimming in the waves, and gather along the beachfront to watch a 20 minute fireworks display. Pets, smoking and alcohol is banned on Coogee Beach, so leave the dog and stubby holder at home. The West

Balmain East:The popular inner-west suburb is going to get a lot more popular come NYE, with Simmons Point, Lookes Avenue Reserve, Thornton Park and Illoura Reserve offering close-up views of the Harbour Bridge. Elkington Park sits to the far left of the inner-west harbour area, but offers views to the western side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Alcohol prohibited.

Birchgrove: Birchgrove has plenty of vantage points from which to enjoy Sydney’s world-famous light display: visitors have a direct view of the western side of the Harbour Bridge from Mort Bay Park, Birchgrove Park and Yurulbin Park. You’ll have to plan ahead if you want to get a spot at one of these locations; each one opens at 8am is is expected to reach capacity before nightfall.

Parramatta: Paramatta’s skyline will sparkle with light and colour on NYE 2017 as the suburb hosts one of Sydney’s largest NYE celebrations within the World Heritage-listed Parramatta Park. Join in as singers Frank Bennett, Grant Galea and Catherine Hunter belt out the classic with a big brass band, before watching fireworks erupt from three firing locations at 9pm.

Liverpool: Liverpool Council is hosting Light up the Lake at Chipping Norton. Free shuttle buses will run from Liverpool and Warwick Farm stations. The event is alcohol free and will include fireworks, live music, $2 rides and food trucks. The South

Brighton Le Sands: Stretch out along the beachfront running from Kyeemagh to Ramsgate, before watching fireworks light up the sky courtesy of the Bayside Council. For the best view, head to Lady Robinsons Beach to watch the 9pm lightshow. Drivers: be aware that there will be significant road closures and clearways in the surrounding area so parking may be difficult.

Miranda: Sydney South-siders who book a table at on the Westfield Miranda’s Kingsway or Rooftop restaurants for NYE will be privy to their own private 9pm fireworks display. Have your face painted, indulge in gelato cones, and enjoy balloon benders, light displays, live music, fire dancer, dancers and glow in the dark fairy floss.

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