Sydneysiders may have got a soaking as they turned out for Australia Day, but the wet weather didn’t seem to dampen spirits.


Thousands of people lined the harbourside to watch as the day was celebrated on the water where the annual ferry race and flotilla of flag-covered boats were the highlights.

The crowds also looked to the skies as RAAF jets and helicopters performed fly-pasts, while they joined in with a mass singalong of the national anthem.

Revellers draped themselves in large flags and wore patriotic T-shirts and baseball caps, while the wet weather meant brollies and ponchos were also in abundance.

Among those showing off their patriotic pride was Croatian-born Marie Pringle, who was dressed head to toe in blue complete with matching sparkly make up.

“I came here 44 years ago and it’s given me more opportunities than I could have ever had,” she told AAP. “Australia Day is more important to me than Christmas.

“It gave me the opportunity to have the beautiful life I’ve got here. I would never have the lifestyle that I do here.” Alan Riley, who described himself as “Sydney born and bred” was also dressed up for the occasion. “It’s all about celebrating the day,” he told AAP. “The rain doesn’t matter, we’ll soldier on.”

Mr Riley said he felt strongly about marking the day this year.

“It’s important to celebrate in light of recent events – things that have been happening in this country that just should not happen here,” he said.

“Days like today remind us of how fortunate we are to live in Australia.”

Tracy Cowie and her husband Les travelled down from Wollongong to celebrate in Sydney and got into the Aussie spirit by sitting out in the rain with a beer.

“It’s been on our bucket list,” she said of spending Australia Day in Sydney.

“We’re proud to be Aussie.

“It’s all about getting together and having fun.”

Earlier on Monday, the celebrations were kicked off with a 2.2km swim across the harbour while kids were kept entertained by a Wiggles’ performance.

But the unseasonable weather took its toll on some events, with the Big Thong Challenge at Bondi cancelled along with the scheduled fly-past of a Qantas jet over Sydney Harbour.

In true Aussie fashion, the day will be rounded off with a game of cricket with Australia playing India at the SCG.