The theme for the celebration this year is “INSPIRE”. It could not be more appropriate when you consider all of those who have been inspired by this, the first of all our cities. The artists, the writers, the sports greats, the entrepreneurs of all kinds and the citizens who enjoy this city as their home; whether they are newly arrived in the “great south land” or have lived here for generations.

Growing up in this city I have always been inspired by the ferry ride across Sydney Harbour; from the bays and inlets with their bush covered headlands that sweep right to Sydney Harbour’s edge and crescents of golden sand beaches, to the hub of maritime commerce at its centre. The iconic and unique Harbour Bridge and Opera House welcome us and invite us to explore our beautiful city further. To discover the vibrant cosmopolitan pulse and heart that makes Sydney one of the world’s truly great cities. It is this dynamic energy that inspired the I.O.C. to choose Sydney as the host for the 2000 Olympic Games and the whole world became aware of the wonder that is this city.

This is a city filled with stories that inspire; The ancient petroglyphs of the Gadigal people in the sandstone of the headlands. The tales of the first settlers in the wealth of Georgian and Victorian buildings. The “state of the art” architecture of the inner city that reflects the dynamic “here and now”. The story behind our first ever theatrical production “The Recruiting Officer” setting the stage for the vital performing arts of this city that now boasts of the Sydney Theatre Company, renowned internationally for its quality and dynamic innovation.

This city was also home to the greatest of our “bush balladeers”; the great Henry Lawson and his friend and rival, Banjo Paterson; author of our unofficial National Anthem “Waltzing Matilda”. The galleries and park lands that make this city so liveable and the homes, cafes, theatres, entertainment, performing arts and the bustle of people that make my “home town” so exciting and loveable.

All of this and more is what we will celebrate 2014 Sydney New Year’s Eve. Many of our outstanding performance artists and creative minds will be engaged in bringing you an unforgettable evening as we bid farewell to the Old Year and welcome the New Year [the International Year of Light] that lies ahead for us all.

I invite you to join me in Sydney for what I know is going to be the biggest and best New Year’s Eve party in Australia!

Jack Thompson, AM PhD