The Queen’s Baton had a memorable tour across Australia before the baton finishes its worldwide tour in Birmingham.
The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay completed four jam-packed days in Australia [March 17 – 20] where over 50 Australian baton bearers represented their country. Ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the baton will now travel to the Americas with Belize and Guyana next on the worldwide trip.
The relay began its 294-day long journey on October 7 and is currently visiting all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories, joining cultures and communities together in the lead up to Birmingham hosting the games. The baton was part of several memories in Australia.
The activities started on March 17 in Gold Coast, the most recent Commonwealth Games host city, with a welcome ceremony performed at Kurrawa Surf Club by Yugambeh Aboriginal Dancers and Uncle John Graham, a Traditional Custodian of the region. The relay continued at previous Commonwealth Games venue, Broadbeach Lawn Bowls, where Lawn Bowl legends Kelsey Cottrell and Tony Bonnell demonstrated their skills in a game, before carrying the baton.
The first day came to a close at Parliament House in Brisbane, where Queensland Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young PSM interacted with the baton. The second day kicked off in Sydney where Commonwealth Games champions Anneliese Rubie-Renshaw, Ridge Barredo, and Sharni Williams took on the role of batonbearer at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Next, the baton was taken to visit the Carbine Club where athletes and Kurt Fearnley Scholarship holders, Alex Tuckfield, swimmer, Indiana Cooper, sprinter, and Sarah Clifton-Bligh, wheelchair racer, were chosen to carry the baton. The scholarship aims to support young para-athletes with qualifying for Birmingham 2022.
That evening, the baton was taken to a reception at Admiralty House, the Sydney official residence of General David John Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE. Australian sporting icons Ian Thorpe and Dawn Fraser attended the event. The day ended with a light projection display, by the Birmingham 2022 Business and Tourism Programme, depicting the baton’s journey, well as introducing the West Midlands at The Rocks, close to Sydney Opera House.
Activities on the third day started at Marie Dunn Netball Courts, where netball champion Paige Hadley and local players carried the baton. Longines, official partner of the Queen’s Baton Relay, hosted the baton at the Longines Golden Slipper race where it was paraded around the Winner’s circle on horseback.
The day ended at Lakeside Stadium with Melbourne Track Classic 2022, where athletes competed to earn points to meet the standards for Team Australia, to compete at Birmingham 2022. Commonwealth gold medalists Kelsey-Lee Barber, javelin athlete, and Cara Honeychurch, 10 pin bowler, competed in the event and carried the baton around the stadium.
The final day of the Australian relay started at Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, with Steve Moneghetti, legendary Australian long-distance runner, and local athletes completing a lap of the lake. The relay continued to Melbourne, visiting previous host venue Melbourne Cricket Ground.
University of Birmingham, official partner of the Queen’s Baton Relay, hosted the final event of the Australian leg of the relay at their partner institute University of Melbourne, in the Old Quad. Elena Galiabovitch, Joanna Weston, Mo Zhang, Renee Yong, Sophie Clarkson, Franka Vaughan and Chloe Culhane were University of Birmingham students now studying at the University of Melbourne who were nominated as baton bearers.
Ben Houston, president of Commonwealth Games Australia, said: “It has been an honour to host the Queen’s Baton down under. Taking the baton to some of our previous games venues has rekindled many memories and also reminded us all of the iconic moments of Games past.
“And it helps focus even more attention on Birmingham for our team as the games get closer.”
Lisa Hampton, Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “The nations and territories in Oceania have put on such incredible activities for everyone around the world to enjoy virtually and have let us learn more about their culture.
“The Australian section of the Queen’s Baton Relay has been a spectacular showcase of sport and athletes. It has been so special to see the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton visit four previous Commonwealth Games host cities and previous venues – it has really built excitement for Birmingham 2022 and its legacy.”
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: “The Australian section has been truly outstanding and it is always a pleasure to go to the country that has hosted the games on five occasions. We remain optimistic that the games will return to the country in the future.
“The baton has helped raise the excitement and anticipation levels for Birmingham 2022 across Oceania as we move ever closer to the opening ceremony on July 28.”
Source: Robson McCallister