4 October 2023

NCA hopes to bring a drone show to Lake Burley Griffin next January

| Lizzie Waymouth
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lake burley griffin at night

The lake could be lit up by a drone show next year to celebrate Australia Day. Photo: IIIShutter.

Canberrans could celebrate Australia Day next year by watching a drone show over Lake Burley Griffin, according to tender documents released by the National Capital Authority (NCA).

The NCA is looking to engage a suitably qualified supplier to design and deliver a drone show over the lake as a multi-day event from 24 to 27 January, with two to three shows per night.

The project is estimated to cost $450,000.

An NCA spokesperson told Region the drone show follows the success of this year’s Lights on the Lake event, which attracted more than 40,000 people over four nights.

“We anticipate achieving similar numbers,” they said.

“Lights on the Lake was extremely successful, but we want to offer something new and different to the community.”

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Although smaller drone shows have taken place in the ACT before, like the Lucie in the Sky drone dance show staged by the Australasian Dance Collective for the Uncharted Territory festival in July, if the tender is successful, the Australia Day shows would be the first large-scale event to be held in the capital.

“Like Lights on the Lake, the proposed drone show is also a unique experience that has not been seen in Canberra before. Because of this, we expect the event to appeal to the community and encourage attendance,” the spokesperson said.

“The NCA, in conjunction with the Australia Day Council, are wanting the drone show to tell Australian stories, which could include images of things that represent being and living in Australia as this connects with the Australia Day Council theme of ‘Reflect, Respect, Celebrate’. This could include Indigenous elements. For example, Indigenous constellations,” the request for tender says.

“We want the supplier to curate an event that has broad appeal to the community, that will entice and excite visitors to come and experience the show.”

drone light show over sydney opera house

Drone shows are gaining popularity across Australia. Photo: ai_yoshi.

One of the NCA’s main objectives is to activate the National Triangle and encourage more visitors to the area through events and attractions.

According to the request for tender, the drone show would be the headline act, but there would also be a range of other entertainment and food and drink experiences on offer.

The NCA also wants the supplier to create a show that maximises the best use of the lake and allows visitors to enjoy the show from numerous different vantage points.

“By providing this variety, we aim to strike a chord with our local community while also enticing newcomers to venture out and experience the spectacle firsthand,” the NCA spokesperson said.

It hopes to attract a large and diverse local audience to the event, including people from international and Indigenous cultures.

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The event will be developed in consultation with the Ngunnawal Elders Council and will respectfully acknowledge the significance of First Nations people through its programming content. This will include a Welcome to Country ceremony.

“This is an opportunity to educate the community with Indigenous knowledge, ensuring traditions of First Nations people get shared with all Australians,” the document says.

However, it notes that the successful supplier would have a “high level of creative freedom”, though they must be willing to work collaboratively with the NCA and Ngunnawal Elders Council to meet requirements.

The supplier would be expected to begin initial engagement with the NCA and Ngunnawal Elders Council to understand the event requirements by early November and develop and present a final drone show concept by mid-December.

The tender closes on 23 October 2023.

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Andrew Tridgell6:57 am 10 Oct 23

Something most Canberrans probably don’t know is that Canberra is central to the worlds drone/UAV industry. A very large part of ArduPilot development happens here in Canberra, and ArduPilot is at the heart of thousands of companies drone software worldwide, including many of the drone light show companies. A lot of the really large drone light shows (many thousands of drones) run ArduPilot and depend on development that happens here in Canberra.
I do hope NCA chooses an ArduPilot based drone light show company. If anyone knows the right person in NCA to discuss this please let me know.

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