Christmas goodbyes ... the original Wiggles. Photo: Mick Tsikas
The ghosts of Wiggles past and present were hovering as three founding members handed fresh red, purple and yellow skivvies to their replacements at Carols in The Domain, then prepared for two final concerts at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Sunday.
''It's a very emotional time, the end of an era, for the original Wiggles,'' said Yellow Wiggle Greg Page backstage, who, having retired in 2006 to battle orthostatic intolerance, returned for a final lap of honour this year. ''But it's also a joyous occasion because the Wiggles are continuing on with Anthony Field sticking around - and it's great to see that what we created together 21 years ago can continue.''
Field, who will continue to perform with three new Wiggles - Emma Watkins, Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce - denied the band's financial fortunes had motivated the changes.
Parent group The Wiggles Holdings Pty Ltd posted a net loss of $2.5 million last year on revenue of $21.4 million. BRW estimates the band earned $17.16 million this year.
''Its never been about making money,'' said Field. ''If it can continue and it's profitable, great: but it's about entertaining children.''
Field admitted the swift removal of Sam Moran this year ''could have been handled better from us, of course''.
Page, Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt will continue writing songs for the Wiggles ''and there may be cameo appearances'', Fatt said.
Up to 50,000 people converged on the 30th anniversary carols. Jessica Mauboy sang Silent Night, while John Waters channelled John Lennon with Happy Xmas (War Is Over).
Among the audience were six friends who regathered at the Carols after spending the year in different countries.
''I live in Dubai. We don't have these kind of Christmas celebrations there,'' said Tiarna Pascale, who brought along a stuffed Santa wearing Ray Ban sunglasses. ''I get to hang out with my best friends of 22 years and soak up the atmosphere.''