Global celebrations as countries ring in New Year

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Picture; Getty
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Picture; Getty
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Spectacular fireworks have illuminated Sydney Harbour Bridge to celebrate the arrival of 2017 in Australia, as Britons count the hours until the new year also lands in the UK.

Cities in the Pacific island nations of Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati were the first to welcome the new year as the clock hit 10am on New Year’s Eve in London.

The end of 2016 was then marked in the Chatham Islands and parts of New Zealand shortly afterwards, with fireworks launched from the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower, before celebrations began in Sydney at 1pm London time.

Sydney Harbour Bridge was doused in the bright light of an estimated seven tonnes of fireworks during two displays, including an earlier show which saw the landmark glow purple in a tribute to late American superstar Prince.

British singer David Bowie was also honoured with space-themed fireworks as a nod to the late star’s hit Space Oddity.

When 2017 reaches the UK capital, thousands of police officers will provide a protective ring around the city’s set-piece fireworks display, while tactics have been adjusted following this year’s terrorist atrocities in Europe.