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13 January 2020, 11:54 | Updated: 13 January 2020, 12:22
A mark of solidarity from Sydney’s iconic opera house to acknowledge the bravery of Australia’s firefighters as the heart-breaking bushfire crisis continues.
On Saturday evening, Sydney Opera House glowed as images of Australia’s brave bushfire firefighters were projected onto its exterior.
The colourful projections, which began at 8.30pm, paid tribute to the thousands of heroic volunteers who have been risking their lives to help tackle the country’s devastating bushfires.
It was a heart-warming gesture from the iconic music venue, with pictures that included a woman hugging a volunteer and another of a sign, saying ‘THANK YOU FIRIES’.
Since the crisis began last October, emergency crews and the Australian community have been tirelessly battling the blazes – but the bushfires are ongoing.
Over seven million hectares of land have already burned, thousands of homes have been destroyed and 27 people have lost their lives.
Although Sydney Opera House’s light show has been well received by locals, it’s a sad reminder that there is still much work to be done to defeat the fires, the smoke pollution from which is being experienced as far afield as New Zealand.
The popular classical music venue also posted an image on Twitter to share its support, sharing the caption: “Tonight, we are illuminating the Sydney Opera House sails to show our support for everyone affected by the Australian bushfires.
Tonight, we are illuminating the Sydney Opera House sails to show our support for everyone affected by the Australian bushfires. We want to send a message of hope and strength, and importantly to thank the emergency services and volunteers for their incredible efforts and courage pic.twitter.com/QGrRbRlDMh— Sydney Opera House (@SydOperaHouse) January 11, 2020
“We want to send a message of hope and strength, and importantly to thank the emergency services and volunteers for their incredible efforts and courage.”
Thousands of others have also taken to the social media platform to share their thoughts:
God bless Australia. Praying for all her residents. May rain come to put out the fires.— 🇬🇷🇺🇸Lily ☮️❤️ (@GreekGoddess66) January 11, 2020
My thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by the bushfires raging across many parts of Aus. To those fighting fires & caring for those most affected, thank you – your courage and kindness is extraordinary 💙— Alessandra (@AlessPickings) January 11, 2020
Thank you so very much @SydOperaHouse so very touching to see our Nation come together to thank these wonderful people who sacrifice to keep us safe ❤️— Gisela (@ricci_gisela) January 11, 2020
So far, millions of dollars have been raised around the world by celebrities, charities and organisations to provide aid to those affected, including food and clothing supplies.
Some of Australia’s most precious species have been threatened by the bushfires, with $1.5million raised to help injured koalas.
To raise money and commemorate all that has been lost, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will be performing in a free outdoor concert on Wednesday, 5 February (AEDT). Red Cross volunteers will be collecting donations during the event to assist their emergency teams with supporting people in evacuation and recovery centres.
The concert will be broadcast live across Australia and the rest of the world, and will include the world premiere of soprano, composer and actor Deborah Cheetham’s musical ode to her country, ‘Long time living here’. The programme will also include music from Dvořák’s Symphony, From the New World.
Sophie Galaise, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Managing Director, told ABC: “All of us at MSO are extremely saddened by what has occurred in Victoria and throughout our beautiful country.”
A bushfire appeal concert will also be taking place at City Recital Hall in Sydney, at 7pm on Thursday, 30 January (AEDT), with musicians and organisations coming together to present a programme performed by some of Australia’s leading classical musicians.