Aus Lights on the River 2024

Aus Lights on the River is a two-day program on Thursday, 25 January, and Friday, 26 January. The event will showcase Our SA Story through immersive, visually engaging light, vision, and sound installations supported with complimentary children’s activations.

The 2024 Aus Lights on the River Program will be inspired by creative visions of Belonging to Country and Connecting to Nature.

Aus Lights on the River

25 & 26 January
5.00 pm to 11.00 pm
Elder Park / Tarntanya Wama

Twilight Reflections

First Nations Ceremony

Mourning in the Morning

Smoking Ceremony

26 January
7.00 am to 8.00 am
Elder Park / Tarntanya Wama

Aus Lights for Kids

A Magical Affair for ages 4 to 8!

26 January
4.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Festival Centre Plaza
Karrawirra Parri

Respecting Country Parade


26 January
7.00 pm to 8.00 pm
Elder Park / Tarntanya Wama

Official Ceremony



26 January
8.00 pm to 9.00 pm
Elder Park / Tarntanya Wama

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Welcome message from the CEO

The Aus Lights on the River program enables us to reflect on this great land and its peoples, starting with the oldest living cultures, our First Nations, to our most recent arrivals, the refugees fleeing Afghanistan and Mymanar who call Australia home. This Australia Day is an opportunity to reflect on how we can continue to deepen our connection to nature and belonging to Country. Our increasingly fragile world reminds us of our great country’s extraordinary beauty, richness, and expansiveness and the incredible diversity of its people. We can look back at our history, acknowledge the times we are now living through, and manifest our future on the foundations of respect, inclusivity and shared values. 

Jan Chorley, CEO Australia Day Council of SA

Explore The Galleries

Mourning in the Morning​

Aus Lights on the River

Aus Lights on the River

Aus Lights on the River

Program Details

Luminous Currents

Rotunda illumination - Luminous Currents

The Rotunda becomes a Seaquarium in the round. Follow large sea mammals, fish and invertebrates as they swim around our cyclical sea, celebrating the diversity of life in our waterways and oceans. 

Blending found and salvaged media, dive photography and coastal footage. Dozens of coastal species interweave and illuminate the Rotunda, bringing us the view of underwater life through a thousand tides. 

Lantern Concept and Composition of Oceanic media by illuminart stories in light, and collaborators. Key Creatives: Luke Zero Shaw, Alice Peacock, Samantha Ray, Joshua Earl, Cindi Drennan 

Leaping Light

Festival Centre Shells - Leaping Light

Every day, thousands of animals pass by, land on or sleep in the gum trees along the rivers of Australia, and the trees cast their shade over watery pools sustaining life. This moving image sequence captures some of the creatures who live along our country’s waterways.

Will you step lightly and help to protect them and their homes?  

Creature Compositions by illuminart stories in light and collaborators 

Sparkles the Cuttlefish

Sparkles the Cuttlefish

Immerse yourself in an adventure with Sparkles the Giant Inflatable Cuttlefish and friends! Join an imaginative journey celebrating South Australia’s diverse aquatic environments. Choose your costume, explore your marine animal through movement and story, and be enchanted by underwater soundscapes. 

Enhancing the magic is a captivating underwater visual display and story crafted to inspire a sense of responsibility for our habitats. Let the tales unfold as you discover fascinating creatures such as the majestic whale and the mighty shark. 

Limited capacity – let our storytellers guide you. Children will especially enjoy an interactive experience to discover the Australian Giant Cuttlefish, found in unparalleled numbers near Whyalla, South Australia, during winter. Explore the wonders of our aquatic world and inspire a love for nature in the hearts of our youngest participants. 

Sparkles joins us as a special guest brought to you by the City of Whyalla and is a creative installation by Evelyn Roth and the Nylon Zoo team.  

Creative team: Soundscapes:  illuminart stories in light;  Evelyn Roth – Nylon Zoo 

Marine Maze

Marine Maze

Have you ever wanted to explore the underwater world like a fish or an octopus  In this unique experience, you can enjoy the colours and textures of the underwater worlds.  Explore a reef in need of your nurturing to bring it to life and discover the secret stories of biodiversity in an innovative immersive space created through creative, playful activations.  

Ocean Odyssey Dome

Ocean Odyssey Dome

Dive into the Dome and experience full immersion with VR technology and thematic after dark projections.  Join 360 videographer Carl Charter and EMS staff to embark on an undersea adventure with whale sharks, cuttlefish and other incredible oceanic creatures of all sizes that inhabit South Australia’s Great Southern Reef.  This is a perfect activity for all ages with a safe and professionally supervised experience of our unique and beautiful marine life. 

VR Experience 5.30 pm to 9.00 pm on 25th and 26th January. Dome projections after dark

Creative team: Carl Charter – Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries

Dive into Creativity

Dive into Creativity

A Hands-On Creative Making Experience for Families and Children.

Unleash Your Creativity, Connect with Nature, and Co-create a Stunning Art Installation! Immerse yourself in the enchanting realm of South Australia’s Aquatic Environments, where migratory birds soar, and sea life dances beneath the waves. Join us on a transformative journey as we celebrate the beauty of our marine life through interactive exploration, where families and children become artists on nature’s canvas. 

Creative team: Monica Prichard and Michelle Jahn – exclusive illuminations.  

Illuminated Country

Illuminated Country

Existing reflections form layers across landscapes.  We reflect on the meaning of Country and create new reflections on the river. 

On the far bank, the light spills upwards from the trunks of the trees into the foliage, casting reflections into the river as water and light combine to share stories and contemplations through time. 

The illumination that spills across the water spells out Country.  The illumination creates a space for us to reflect on our place, our Country.

Everything in nature is connected, the land, sea, and sky countries are all one. The river is a song of fresh water that provides a space to reflect on our place, our Country. 

What does Country mean to you? 

Cinematic Firework Display

Cinematic Firework Display

Our expansive landscape’s captivating colours, rhythms and seasons will be expressed through a piece of original synchronised music, moving images and fireworks composition created especially for Aus Lights on the River 2024. This ten minute long display expresses the diversity of nature, culture, and the impressive and inspirational visual themes of our country, places and people who call it home.  

The display brings together the talents of Howard and Sons, illuminart stories in light, composer Pete Ardron and vocalist Samantha Ray, to build a piece that expresses and reflects our precious and unique corner of Australia. 

Creative team: Luke Zero Shaw, Cindi Drennan, Pete Ardron, Samantha Ray – illuminart stories in light. Howard and Sons.  

Food Hub

Food Hub

Discover a world of diverse flavours at our licensed Food Hub area. Join us and savour the taste of international delights in a vibrant and welcoming setting. 

Acknowledgement of Sponsors:

Twilight Reflections

First Nations Ceremony

25 January

7.30 pm to 9.00 pm

Elder Park - Tarntanya Wama

Twilight Reflections: First Nations Ceremony (Cancelled due to weather)

Listen to the wisdom of Aboriginal Elders as they yarn around the campfire. Learn how local traditional owners are applying ancient knowledge to care for country in modern times and, and about South Australia’s trailblazing efforts towards a state-based First Nations Voice to Parliament. Hear non-Indigenous allies voice their support for First Nations people. And enjoy original music from the talented Ellie Lovegrove and Tony Minniecon, Eddie Peters, and Anangu rappers Dem Mob.   

As the need for truth telling ever grows, ponder what recent events mean for our national identity, where we’ve been and where we’re going – what might some next steps be? 

On the eve of the anniversary of colonisation, gather in solidarity with First Nations people as they reflect upon 65,000+ years of continuing connection to this land and assert through story and song, ‘we are still here’. 

Acknowledgement of Sponsors:

Mourning in the Morning

Smoking Ceremony

26 January

7.00 am to 8.00 am

Elder Park / Tarntanya Wama

Mourning in the Morning – Smoking Ceremony

Join revered Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna cultural leader Uncle Moogy Sumner in a cleansing Smoking Ceremony early on 26 January, marking the day 235 years ago when the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove – and the lives of the continent’s First Nations peoples changed forever.  

This profound and interactive event will also encompass cultural dance by Tal-Kin Jeri and thoughtful, uplifting performances by acclaimed First Nations musicians Katie Aspel, Vonda Last, and Rob Edwards. Hear from First Nations young people about their hopes and aspirations in the post-referendum era. Have a chance to receive a small gift that will help regenerate country and that you can nurture with love. 

Acknowledgement of Sponsors:

Aus Lights for Kids

26 January

4 pm to 6 pm

Festival Centre Plaza / Karrawirra Parri

Aus Lights for Kids - A Magical Affair for ages 4 to 8!

Aus Lights for Kids guarantees an enchanting experience for your little ones, filled with laughter, entertainment, and the magic of discovery. Prepare to immerse your little ones in a world of joy and wonder at Aus Lights for Kids, an event specially crafted for children aged 4 to 8.

Mesmerising Performances 

Watch your kids be enthralled by incredible performances featuring talents from renowned groups like Heaps Good Performers and the ever-popular Peter Combe. Every performance is tailored to captivate and entertain, from music to interactive acts. 

Australian Wildlife Encounters 

Embark on a unique adventure as your children get up close and personal with Australian native animals. Our hands-on animal handling experience, reminiscent of a petting zoo on a smaller scale, promises both education and excitement. 

Acknowledgement of Sponsors:

Respecting Country Parade

26 January

7 pm to 8 pm

Accros the Riverbank Precinct Bridge down to Elder Park / Tarntanya Wama

Respecting Country Parade

Starting at 7 pm, the Parade will begin at Adelaide Oval on War Memorial Drive before travelling over the Torrens River Footbridge into Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama. You can view the parade in designated areas or from Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama.  

The Respecting Country Parade is a vibrant celebration of more than 50 South Australian communities, highlighting the diversity and richness of our state. It is a coming together in a spirit of inclusion and respect.  

The Parade begins with South Australian Migrant and Refugee Story and Our Ancestral Story, a cultural procession full of colour, music, and dance. This is followed by South Australians at their Best, highlighting both large and small community organisations, performers, and charities that contribute to our state. Matsuri Taiko, a Japanese drumming group, will start and end the parade with their energetic performance. 

Before the Respecting Country Parade, the Australian Defence Force will conduct a ceremony at 7 pm on the Torrens Parade Ground with a 21-gun salute, national anthem, flag ceremony and an Airforce flypast. The public can view this from the perimeter of the Torrens Parade Ground in designated areas proscribed by the ADF. The significance of the 21-gun salute is that it is a gesture of friendship, respect, and trust and is always fired with an odd number of rounds because this is considered lucky.  

Parade Route Map // Respecting Country Parade Flyer

Acknowledgement of Sponsors:

Official Ceremony

Held on 26 January

In Elder Park / Tarntanya Wama

Official Ceremony

An unforgettable reflective ceremony on who we are as Australians with speeches by the Honourable Peter Malinauskas MP Premier of South Australia, the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Dr Jane Lomax-Smith AM, and three community representatives.  

Including a stellar lineup: Adelaide Youth Orchestra – conducted by Keith Crellin OAM, a recital by the Songbirds Ensemble, performances by Young Adelaide Voices and the Adelaide Choral Ambassadors conducted by the award-winning Christie Anderson, with music direction by Dr Julian Ferraretto. 

Acknowledgement of Sponsors: