Happy New Year From The Huffington Post Australia

31/12/2015 8:10 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Fireworks explode over the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge during New Years Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Thousands of people crammed into Lady Macquaries Chair look-out to see the new year in and watch the annual fireworks show. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Whether you’re shocked at how fast it travelled, joyous at a year well-spent, or pleased to see the end of it, 2015 has passed us by.

All around the world the new year is being brought in with style -- whether you’re toasting to the year ahead or preparing an adventurous start to 2016.

In Sydney, more than one million people have lined the harbour foreshore to see more fireworks than ever light up the bridge -- amounting to seven tonnes, with more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects.

It's also the first time the Emerald City welcomes the New Year with a Welcome to Country from Indigenous Australians, turning the Harbour Bridge into a giant Aboriginal flag.

Not to be outdone, Melbourne is firing off ten tonnes of fireworks from 17 rooftops across the city as a Midnight Juggernauts-designed soundtrack blasts live to the crowd.

melbourne

Families are congregating at Southbank in Brisbane where free family movies are being screened, while fireworks are being set off on the River Torrens and Riverbank Bridge in Adelaide.

In the west, there's fireworks on Perth's Shelley foreshore and at Rottnest Island.

And way down south in Tassie, the New Year coincides perfectly with the Taste of Tasmania Festival -- meaning there's much on offer in the way of fine food and wine, as well as entertainment and fireworks in Hobart on the Derwent River.

All that, and they've just been treated to the Sydney to Hobart as well.

wine food night

As we look forward, many are no doubt reflecting on the year gone by too.

The year past was one filled with the tragedy and triumph of the human spirit.

The world was rocked by news that 130 had been killed in co-ordinated terrorist attacks across the city of Paris.

But what emerged from that terrible night was an emblem of the human spirit -- reflected all around the world -- of hope, solidarity, and strength in the face of darkness.

paris eiffel tower

The Syrian conflict continued to displace tens of thousands of people. But there, too, came stories of generosity and goodwill.

syrian refugee family

We saw the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement amid yet more black deaths at the hands of police.

black lives matter

At home, we exchanged Prime Ministers for the fifth time in just a little over five years.

turnbull abbott

Mick Fanning fought a shark -- and won.

mick fanning shark

And Michelle Payne became the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup, telling chauvinistic blokes to “get stuffed” in an enduring post-race interview.

michelle payne melbourne cup

Meanwhile, on a planet far, far away, there was the discovery of evidence of flowing water -- and with it, the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe.

nasa mars water

We celebrated stories of home-grown success, too.

Among them were one man’s struggle to learn to walk again, the Sydney lightsaber academy engaging special needs children, and the hip hop stars inspiring Australia’s Indigenous communities.

indigenous australian child

Here’s to the stories that inform, inspire, entertain and empower -- of which 2016 will hopefully bring many more.

From all of us at The Huffington Post Australia, have a safe, fun, happy New Year and a fantastic 2016.

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