A long exposure image of lights. They have left trails across the image.

Newscaf: Christmas lights

Newscaf: Christmas lights around Australia

Lit up from Toowoomba to Tasmania
 Beth Taylor

As part of the NFSA's Television News and Current Affairs Program (Newscaf), we take a look at Christmas lights around Australia – from Toowoomba to Tasmania. and Canberra in-between.

A snowman light.
A snowman light at a house in Toowoomba. Courtesy WIN Television. NFSA title: 749308

Miracle on Sprott Street

The tradition of candle-lit Christmas trees started in Germany in the 1700s. Queen Victoria's husband Albert brought the trend to England in 1841 and it spread throughout the US and Australia. The tradition resulted in many house fires but continued until it was transformed by the invention of the electric light globe.

In 1882 Edward Johnson, a business associate of inventor Thomas Edison, decorated a tree in his home in New York with 80 of Edison's new electric lights – and a new craze was born.

Today around Australia whole streets are lit up, with many raising money for charity. Each year lighting technology advances and enthusiasts work for months to make each year's display tops the last.

Here are three examples, starting with Sprott Street in Toowoomba, Queensland:

Neighbours engage in friendly Christmas lights competition in Toowoomba, WIN News Toowoomba, 20 December 2007. NFSA title: 749308. Courtesy WIN Television

Record breakers

Some people say less is more, but the Richards family from Canberra disagrees! Their house, adorned with a record-breaking 5,000 lights, appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013:

Canberra family makes Guinness Book of World Records with 5,000 Christmas lights, WIN News Canberra, 25 November 2013. NFSA title: 1329266. Courtesy WIN Television

And finally a story from Tasmania in 1999 about possibly the world's tallest Christmas tree – a 76 metre, 400-year-old hardwood giant:

The world’s tallest Christmas tree, WIN News Hobart, 21 December 1999. NFSA title: 432075. Courtesy WIN Television

For more seasonal fun check out the Aussie Christmas curated collection – with Melbourne's karaoke Santa, Italian and Tagalog Christmas greetings from children, and vintage Christmas shopping.


Newscaf highlights some of the significant and intriguing stories in the NFSA's television news collection that have been digitally preserved for future generations to enjoy and explore. See more Newscaf stories.