In 1962, Perth residents and businesses left on their lights, shone torches to the sky and lit lanterns to generate as much light as possible for US astronaut John Glenn to see during his historic first orbit of Earth.

He commented on the brightness from space and Perth became known as The City of Light.

Now, 60 years later, Perth is reclaiming the title, with the CBD’s first large drone light show set to interpret the story of Glenn’s historic near-five-hour flight, as well as display Perth’s own journey and Dreamtime elements.

City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said it was important that younger generations understand the significance of Perth’s association with light.

“Perth is synonymous with light, in so many ways, and this will be a very special family-friendly event,” Lord Mayor Zempilas said.

“The name not only evokes the courage and spirit of John Glenn but it is everything Perth is – and aspires to be.

“Light denotes action, safety, ideas – illumination of our landmarks – the whole shebang. Perth has daylight in spades, as well as Skyworks, the Christmas Lights Trail and so much more.

“We are a city synonymous with light and no city lights up like Perth,” the Lord Mayor said.

The 15-minute drone show starts at 8pm, with roving entertainment from 5pm and food trucks on site.

The City of Perth asks that anyone who feels unwell not attend the event.

Attendees are reminded to wear a mask outdoors, where physical distancing is not possible, to use hand sanitiser regularly and to check in using the ServiceWA or SafeWA app - or via manual register. COVID marshals will be on site to help.  

John Glenn died in 2016, aged 95.

John Glenn’s comment about Perth, from space, on 20 February 1962.

“Just to my right I can see a big pattern of lights, apparently right on the coast. I can see the outline of a town…” John Glenn 1921 – 2016

The City of Light Drone Show is proudly sponsored by the City of Perth, with support from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and the Australian Space Agency.

Issued by: Contact: 9461 3108