Sydney - The horrific bushfire disaster that has hit the east coast of Australia will hang over the New Year's celebrations in Sydney, but the city's iconic fireworks display is still expected to draw massive crowds.
Dozens slept overnight at the gates to the free zones around the harbour and hundreds arrived before dawn on Tuesday to grab the best spots to see the Sydney sky lit up with 100,000 fireworks.
The Rural Fire Service had to make a special exemption from fire bans for Sydney to be able to hold the midnight fireworks spectacular.
More than 280,000 people signed an online petition to cancel the display and give the money spent on it to those affected by the massive bushfires not far from the city.
The petition cites the cost of the fireworks as 5.8 million dollars (4 million US dollars), which is roughly in line with previous years.