As thousands of people flocked to Sydney's foreshores to celebrate Australia Day and many became new citizens, controversy surrounding the holiday has prompted ceremonies, protests and speeches across NSW.
Governor David Hurley kicked off festivities in the Harbour City with an address urging Australians to try to understand the Aboriginal view of the 230 years since the British fleet landed.
"I'm proud of my country, its people and its achievements but I also want it to be better," the former army chief said at Barangaroo.
"To be informed about this past is not a threat, to be ignorant, though, is a risk to our national wellbeing."
The governor was joined by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and about 1000 people on the harbour for the indigenous WugulOra morning ceremony.
It included dancers, a smoking ceremony, the singing of the national anthem in English and Dharawal and the raising of the Australian flag next to an indigenous flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
"Today is a wonderful day for us to celebrate everything that makes Australia and NSW great but it's also a day to acknowledge and accept this is a day that for many people represents pain and suffering and all of us have to work together towards real reconciliation," Ms Berejiklian said.
Scores of new Australian citizens were acknowledged in city and community ceremonies across the state.
Kevin Langdon and his family joined 24 others from 14 countries at the City of Sydney's ceremony.
Mr Langdon, from New Jersey, said he was drawn to Australia because of its relaxed pace.
A spectacular fireworks finale featuring a musical medley of Australian classics will light up the sky to finish celebrations in the city.
All up, about half a million people flocked to the harbour to celebrate Australia's national day under the watchful eye of police.
Uniformed and plain clothes officers patrolled on foot, while others monitored boats and other craft and conducted drug and alcohol tests on the water.
The harbour bustled with ships and ferries, including HMAS Canberra and a 21-gun salute was fired from Bradfield Park in North Sydney around midday.
In nearby Redfern, thousands marched in an "Invasion Day" rally to protest what they called an "ongoing war" against Aboriginal people.
Organiser Ken Canning said January 26 marked the day when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were invaded by the British, which was the reason for ongoing issues in communities.
Opposition leader Luke Foley said Australia must come to terms with its dispossession of indigenous people and pledged to establish a treaty process if elected in the next NSW election.